Jonny Greenwood

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Jonny Greenwood
Greenwood in 2022
Greenwood in 2022
Background information
Birth nameJonathan Richard Guy Greenwood
Born (1971-11-05) 5 November 1971 (age 52)
Oxford, England
Genres
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Instrument(s)
Years active1985–present
Labels
Member of
Websitewww.radiohead.com

Jonathan Richard Guy Greenwood (born 5 November 1971) is an English musician. He is the lead guitarist and keyboardist of the rock band Radiohead, and has composed numerous film scores. He has been named one of the greatest guitarists by numerous publications, including Rolling Stone.

Along with his elder brother Colin, Greenwood attended Abingdon School in Abingdon near Oxford, where he formed Radiohead. He abandoned a degree in music when the band signed to Parlophone. Their debut single, "Creep" (1992), was distinguished by Greenwood's aggressive guitar work. Radiohead have since achieved critical acclaim and sold more than 30 million albums. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Radiohead in 2019.

Greenwood is a multi-instrumentalist and a prominent player of the ondes Martenot, an early electronic instrument. He uses electronic techniques such as programming, sampling and looping, and writes music software used by Radiohead. He described his role as an arranger, helping transform Thom Yorke's demos into finished songs. Radiohead albums feature Greenwood's string and brass arrangements, and he has composed for orchestras including the London Contemporary Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Greenwood's first solo work, the soundtrack for the film Bodysong, was released in 2003. In 2007, he scored There Will Be Blood, the first of several collaborations with the director Paul Thomas Anderson. In 2018, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his score for Anderson's Phantom Thread. He was nominated again for his score for The Power of the Dog (2021), directed by Jane Campion. Greenwood also scored the Lynne Ramsay films We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) and You Were Never Really Here (2017). He has collaborated several times with the Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur, including on the 2015 album Junun. In 2021, Greenwood debuted a new band, the Smile, with Yorke and the drummer Tom Skinner.

Early life[edit]

Jonny Greenwood was born on 5 November 1971 in Oxford, England.[1] His brother, the Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood, is two years older. Their father served in the British Army as a bomb disposal expert.[2][3] The Greenwood family has historical ties to the Communist Party of Great Britain and the socialist Fabian Society.[4]

When he was a child, Greenwood's family would listen to a small number of cassettes in their car, including Mozart's horn concertos, the musicals Flower Drum Song and My Fair Lady, and cover versions of Simon and Garfunkel songs. When the cassettes were not playing, Greenwood would listen to the noise of the engine and try to recall every detail of the music.[5] He credited his older siblings with exposing him to rock bands such as the Beat and New Order.[6] The first gig Greenwood attended was the Fall on their 1988 Frenz Experiment tour, which he found "overwhelming".[6]

The Greenwood brothers attended the independent boys' school Abingdon. The Abingdon director of music, Michael Stinton, recalled Jonny as a "charming student" and "committed musician" who would spend as much time in the music department as possible.[7] Greenwood's first instrument was a recorder given to him at age four or five. He played baroque music in recorder groups as a teenager,[6] and continued to play into adulthood.[8] He played the viola in the Thames Vale youth orchestra, which he described as a formative experience: "I'd been in school orchestras and never seen the point. But in Thames Vale I was suddenly with all these 18-year-olds who could actually play in tune. I remember thinking: 'Ah, that's what an orchestra is supposed to sound like!'"[9] Greenwood also spent time programming, experimenting with BASIC and simple machine code to make computer games.[10] According to Greenwood, "The closer I got to the bare bones of the computer, the more exciting I found it."[11]

On a Friday[edit]

At Abingdon, the Greenwood brothers formed a band, On a Friday, with the singer Thom Yorke, the guitarist Ed O'Brien and the drummer Philip Selway.[12] Jonny, the youngest, was two school years below Yorke and Colin and the last to join.[13] He was previously in another band, Illiterate Hands, with Matt Hawksworth, Simon Newton, Ben Kendrick, Nigel Powell and Yorke's brother, Andy.[14][15]

Greenwood initially played harmonica and keyboards for On a Friday.[13] As they had fired their previous keyboardist for playing too loudly, Greenwood spent his first months playing with his keyboard turned off. No one in the band realised, and Yorke told him he added an "interesting texture".[16] According to Greenwood, "I'd go home in the evening and work out how to actually play chords, and cautiously, over the next few months, I would start turning this keyboard up."[16] He eventually became the lead guitarist.[13]

Although the other members of On a Friday had left Abingdon by 1987 to attend university, they continued to rehearse on weekends and holidays.[17] Greenwood studied music at A Level, including chorale harmonisation.[9]

Career[edit]

1991–1992: Pablo Honey[edit]

In 1991, the members of On a Friday regrouped in Oxford, sharing a house on the corner of Magdalen Road and Ridgefield Road.[18] Greenwood enrolled at Oxford Brookes University to study psychology and music. He left after his first term after On a Friday signed a record contract deal with EMI.[19] They changed their name to Radiohead and released their first album, Pablo Honey, in 1993.[20]

Radiohead found early success with their debut single, "Creep".[20] According to Rolling Stone, "It was Greenwood's gnashing noise blasts that marked Radiohead as more than just another mopey band ... An early indicator of his crucial role in pushing his band forward."[21] Greenwood also played harmonica on Blind Mr. Jones's 1992 single "Crazy Jazz".[22]

1995–1999: The Bends and OK Computer[edit]

Radiohead's second album, The Bends (1995), brought them significant critical attention.[23] Greenwood said it had been a "turning point" for Radiohead: "It started appearing in people's [best of] polls for the end of the year. That's when it started to feel like we made the right choice about being a band."[24] On tour, Greenwood damaged his hearing and wore protective ear shields for some performances.[25]

Radiohead's third album, OK Computer (1997), achieved acclaim,[26][27] showcasing Greenwood's lead guitar work on songs such as "Paranoid Android".[28] For "Climbing up the Walls", Greenwood wrote a part for 16 stringed instruments playing quarter tones apart, inspired by the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.[29]

For the soundtrack of the 1998 film Velvet Goldmine, Greenwood, Yorke Andy Mackay of Roxy Music and Bernard Butler of Suede formed a band, the Venus in Furs, and covered three Roxy Music songs.[30] Greenwood played harmonica on "Platform Blues" and "Billie" on Pavement's final album, Terror Twilight (1999).[31]

2000–2003: Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief[edit]

Radiohead's albums Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001) marked a dramatic change in sound, incorporating influences from electronica, classical music, jazz and krautrock.[32] Greenwood employed a modular synthesiser to build the drum machine rhythm of "Idioteque",[33][34] and played ondes Martenot, an early electronic instrument similar to a theremin, on several tracks.[35]

For "How to Disappear Completely", Greenwood composed a string section by multitracking his ondes Martenot playing.[33] According to Radiohead's producer, Nigel Godrich, when the string players saw Greenwood's score "they all just sort of burst into giggles, because they couldn't do what he'd written, because it was impossible—or impossible for them, anyway".[36] The orchestra leader, John Lubbock, encouraged the musicians to experiment and work with Greenwood's "naive" ideas.[37] Greenwood also arranged strings for the Amnesiac songs "Pyramid Song" and "Dollars and Cents".[38][39]

Greenwood played guitar on Bryan Ferry's 2002 album Frantic.[40] For Radiohead's sixth album, Hail to the Thief (2003), Greenwood began using the music programming language Max to sample and manipulate the band's playing.[41] After having used effects pedals heavily on previous albums, he challenged himself to create interesting guitar parts without effects.[42]

2003–2006: Bodysong and first orchestral work[edit]

Greenwood performing with Radiohead in 2006

In 2003, Greenwood released his first solo work, the soundtrack for the documentary film Bodysong. It incorporates guitar, jazz, and classical music.[36] In 2004, Greenwood and Yorke contributed to the Band Aid 20 single "Do They Know It's Christmas?", produced by Godrich.[43]

Greenwood's first work for orchestra, Smear, was premiered by the London Sinfonietta in March 2004.[citation needed] In 2005, Greenwood curated a concert as part of the Ether festival in London at with the London Sinfonietta. It featured a new version of Smear, the new work Piano for Children, and performances of pieces by classical modernist composers.[44] With the orchestra, Greenwood also performed two Radiohead songs with Yorke: "Where Bluebirds Fly" and "Weird Fishes / Arpeggi".[45][46]

In May 2004, Greenwood was appointed composer-in-residence to the BBC Concert Orchestra.[47] Radiohead's co-manager, Bryce Edge, said Greenwood would use the residency to learn how orchestras work.[47] For the BBC, Greenwood wrote "Popcorn Superhet Receiver" (2005), inspired by radio static and the elaborate, dissonant tone clusters of Penderecki's Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima (1960). Greenwood wrote the piece by recording individual tones on viola, then manipulating and overdubbing them in Pro Tools.[36] "Popcorn Supherhet Receiver" earned Greenwood the prize of Composer of the Year from the classic station BBC Radio 3.[48]

For the 2005 film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Greenwood appeared as part of the wizard rock band Weird Sisters with the Radiohead drummer Philip Selway, Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey of Pulp, Steven Claydon of Add N to (X), and Jason Buckle of All Seeing I.[49]

2007–2010: There Will Be Blood and In Rainbows[edit]

Greenwood composed the score for the 2007 film There Will Be Blood by the director Paul Thomas Anderson. The soundtrack won an award at the Critics' Choice Awards and the Best Film Score trophy in the Evening Standard British Film Awards for 2007.[50] As it contains excerpts from "Popcorn Superhet Receiver", it was ineligible for an Academy Award.[51][52] Rolling Stone named There Will Be Blood the best film of the decade and described the score as "a sonic explosion that reinvented what film music could be".[53] In 2016, the film composer Hans Zimmer said the score was the one that had most "stood out to him" in the past decade, describing it as "recklessly, crazily beautiful".[54]

Greenwood curated a compilation album of reggae tracks, Jonny Greenwood Is the Controller, released by Trojan Records in March 2007.[55] It features mostly 70s roots and dub tracks from artists including Lee "Scratch" Perry, Joe Gibbs and Linval Thompson. The title references Thompson's track "Dread Are the Controller".[56]

Radiohead released their seventh album, In Rainbows, in October 2007, in a landmark use of the pay-what-you-want model for music sales. Greenwood said Radiohead were responding to the culture of downloading free music, which he likened to the legend of King Canute: "You can't pretend the flood isn't happening."[57] Greenwood wrote the title music for Adam Buxton's 2008 sketch show Meebox,[58] and contributed to the 2009 album Basof Mitraglim Le'Hakol by the Israeli rock musician Dudu Tasaa.[59]

2010–2013: Norwegian Wood and The King of Limbs[edit]

In February 2010, Greenwood debuted a new composition, "Doghouse", at the BBC's Maida Vale Studios. He wrote it in hotels and dressing rooms while on tour with Radiohead.[60] He expanded "Doghouse" into the score for the Japanese film Norwegian Wood, released later that year.[60] Greenwood played guitar on Bryan Ferry's 2010 album Olympia.[61]

Radiohead's recorded their eighth album, The King of Limbs (2011), using sampler software written by Greenwood.[10][62] By 2011, Radiohead had sold more than 30 million albums.[63] That year, Greenwood scored We Need to Talk About Kevin, directed by Lynne Ramsay,[64] using instruments including a wire-strung harp.[46] With Yorke, he also collaborated with the rapper MF Doom on the track "Retarded Fren".[65]

In 2012, Greenwood composed the score for Anderson's film The Master.[66] That March, Greenwood and the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, one of Greenwood's greatest influences, released an album comprising Penderecki's 1960s compositions Polymorphia and Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, Greenwood's "Popcorn Superhet Receiver", and a new work by Greenwood, "48 Responses to Polymorphia".[67]

In the same year, Greenwood accepted a three-month residency with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in Sydney and composed a new piece, "Water".[68] Greenwood, Yorke, and other artists contributed music to The UK Gold, a 2013 documentary about tax avoidance in the UK. The soundtrack was released free in February 2015 through the online audio platform SoundCloud.[69]

2014–2016: Inherent Vice, Junun and A Moon Shaped Pool[edit]

Greenwood performing with the London Contemporary Orchestra in Geneva, 2015

Greenwood composed the soundtrack for the Anderson film Inherent Vice (2014). It features a new version of an unreleased Radiohead song, "Spooks", performed by Greenwood and two members of Supergrass.[70]

In 2014, Greenwood performed with the London Contemporary Orchestra, performing selections from his soundtracks alongside new compositions.[71] In the same year, Greenwood performed with the Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur and his band. Greenwood described Tzur's music as "quite celebratory, more like gospel music than anything—except that it's all done to a backing of Indian harmoniums and percussion". He said he would play a "supportive" rather than "solistic" role.[72]

In 2015, Greenwood, Tzur and Godrich recorded an album, Junun, with Indian musicians at Mehrangarh Fort in Rajasthan, India.[73] Greenwood insisted they hire only musicians from Rajasthan and only use string instruments native to the region.[74] Ben Tzur wrote the songs, with Greenwood contributing guitar, bass, keyboards, ondes Martenot and programming.[74] Whereas western music is based on harmonies and chord progressions, Greenwood wanted to use chords sparingly, and instead write using North Indian ragas.[74] Greenwood and Godrich said they wanted to avoid the "obsession" with high fidelity in recording world music, and instead hoped to capture the "dirt" and "roughness" of music in India.[74] The recording is the subject of a 2015 documentary, Junun, by Paul Thomas Anderson.[75]

Greenwood contributed string orchestration to Frank Ocean's 2016 albums Endless[76] and Blonde.[77] Radiohead's ninth album, A Moon Shaped Pool, was released in May 2016,[78] featuring strings and choral vocals arranged by Greenwood and performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra.[79] With Ben Tzur and the Indian ensemble, Greenwood supported Radiohead's 2018 Moon Shaped Pool tour under the name Junun.[80]

2017–2020: Phantom Thread and The Power of the Dog[edit]

Greenwood performing at the BBC Proms in London, 2019

Greenwood wrote the score for Anderson's 2017 film Phantom Thread. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score[81] and earned Greenwood his sixth Ivor Novello award.[82] In the same year, he reunited with Ramsay to score her film You Were Never Really Here.[83] At the 2019 BBC Proms in London, Greenwood debuted his composition "Horror Vacui" for solo violin and 68 string instruments.[84]

Radiohead were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2019.[85] Greenwood did not attend the event. In the year before Radiohead became eligible for nomination, he told Rolling Stone: "I don't care. Maybe it's a cultural thing that I really don't understand ... It's quite a self-regarding profession anyway. And anything that heightens that just makes me feel even more uncomfortable."[86]

In September 2019, Greenwood launched a record label, Octatonic Records, to release contemporary classical music by soloists and small groups he had met as a film composer.[87] In 2021, he expressed uncertainty about releasing further Octatonic records, as the two records they had released "seemed to not really connect with anybody".[88]

For the soundtrack for The Power of the Dog (2021), Greenwood played the cello in the style of a banjo and recorded a piece for player piano controlled with the software Max.[89] The soundtrack earned Greenwood his second nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Score.[90] For his soundtrack to Spencer (2021), Greenwood combined Baroque and jazz music, juxtaposing the "rigid" and "colourful" styles.[89] He also contributed cues to Anderson's 2021 film Licorice Pizza.[91]

2021–present: the Smile and Jarak Qaribak[edit]

Greenwood (left) performing with the Smile in January 2022

In 2021, Greenwood debuted a new band, the Smile, with Yorke and the jazz drummer Tom Skinner.[92] Greenwood said the project was a way for him and Yorke to work together during the COVID-19 lockdowns.[88] Pitchfork attributed the Smile to Greenwood's frustration with Radiohead's slow working pace and his desire to release records that are "90 percent as good [that] come out twice as often".[93] The Smile made their surprise debut in a performance streamed by Glastonbury Festival on 22 May, with Greenwood playing guitar and bass.[94]

The Guardian critic Alexis Petridis said the Smile "sound like a simultaneously more skeletal and knottier version of Radiohead", exploring more progressive rock influences with unusual time signatures, complex riffs and "hard-driving" motorik psychedelia.[95] In May 2022, the Smile released their debut album, A Light for Attracting Attention, and began an international tour.[96] They released their second album, Wall of Eyes, in January 2024, and began a European tour in March.[97]

Greenwood and Yorke contributed music to the sixth series of the television drama Peaky Blinders, broadcast in 2022.[98] On 9 June 2023, Greenwood and the Israeli musician Dudu Tassa released Jarak Qaribak, an album of Middle Eastern love songs.[99] It was produced by Greenwood and Tasaa and mixed by Godrich, and features several Middle Eastern musicians. Greenwood said he and Tasaa had "tried to imagine what Kraftwerk would have done if they'd been in Cairo in the 1970s".[100] He denied any intent to make a political point with the album, and said: "I do understand that as soon as you do anything in that part of the world it becomes political ... possibly especially if it's artistic."[100] Greenwood composed and conducted strings for the Pretenders song "I Think About You Daily", released in June 2023.[101]

Musicianship[edit]

Guitar[edit]

Greenwood playing bowed guitar

Greenwood is Radiohead's lead guitarist.[102] He is known for his aggressive playing style.[13] Guitar.com wrote that Greenwood's playing on Radiohead's debut, Pablo Honey, was an "exhilarating melange of tremolo-picked soundscapes, chunky octaves, screaming high-register runs and killswitch antics".[103] In the 1990s, Greenwood developed repetitive stress injury, necessitating a brace on his right arm, which he likened to "taping up your fingers before a boxing match".[13]

Greenwood said he dislikes the reputation of guitars as something to be "admired or worshipped", and instead sees them as a tool like a typewriter or a vacuum cleaner.[46][104] He said he hated guitar solos: "There's nothing worse than hearing someone cautiously going up and down the scales of their guitar. You can hear them thinking about what the next note should be, and then out it comes. It's more interesting to write something that doesn't outstay its welcome."[105]

For most Radiohead songs, Greenwood has long used a Fender Telecaster Plus, a model of Telecaster that uses Lace Sensor pickups. According to Far Out, Greenwood used the Telecaster's "power and instability" to produce a "punchy" sound that helped set Radiohead apart in the 1990s.[106] On softer tracks, such as "Subterranean Homesick Alien" and "Let Down" from OK Computer and "You And Whose Army?" from Amnesiac, Greenwood plays a Fender Starcaster.[106] He sometimes plays with a violin bow.[107][108] Greenwood plays a Gibson Les Paul for solo performances and his work with the Smile. For bass, he plays a Fender Precision Bass, using an aggressive picking style.[108]

Greenwood often uses effect pedals,[21] such as the Marshall ShredMaster distortion pedal used on many 1990s Radiohead songs.[109] For the "My Iron Lung" riff, he uses a DigiTech Whammy pedal to pitch-shift his guitar by one octave, creating a "glitchy, lo-fi" sound.[110] On "Identikit" and several Smile songs, Greenwood uses a delay effect to create "angular" synchronised repeats.[108] His main amplifiers are a Vox AC30 and a Fender 85.[106]

In 2010, NME named Greenwood one of the greatest living guitarists.[111] He was voted the seventh-greatest guitarist of all time in a 2010 poll of more than 30,000 BBC 6 Music listeners.[112] In 2008, Guitar World named Greenwood's guitar solo in "Paranoid Android" the 34th-greatest.[28] In 2010, the Rolling Stone journalist David Fricke named Greenwood the 48th-greatest guitarist,[113] and in 2012 Spin ranked him the 29th.[114] In its 2023 list of the greatest guitarists, Rolling Stone ranked Greenwood and O'Brien joint 43rd, writing: "Even as he blossomed into a noted neo-classical composer, Greenwood always made sure to throw in at least one brain-scrambling banger of a guitar part per album."[115]

Ondes Martenot[edit]

Greenwood performing on an ondes Martenot in 2010

Greenwood is a prominent player of the ondes Martenot, an early electronic instrument played by moving a ring along a wire, creating sounds similar to a theremin.[35] He first used it on Radiohead's 2000 album Kid A, and it appears in Radiohead songs including "The National Anthem", "How to Disappear Completely" and "Where I End and You Begin".[116]

Greenwood became interested in the ondes Martenot at the age of 15 after hearing Olivier Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony.[2] He said he was partly attracted to the instrument as he cannot sing: "I've always wanted to be able to play an instrument that was like singing, and there's nothing closer."[117] As production of the ondes Martenot ceased in 1988, Greenwood had a replica created to take on tour with Radiohead in 2001 for fear of damaging his original model.[35]

Other instruments[edit]

Greenwood plays instruments including piano, synthesiser, viola, glockenspiel, harmonica, recorder, organ, banjo[104] and harp.[108] He said he enjoyed "struggling with instruments I can't really play", and that he enjoyed playing glockenspiel with Radiohead as much as he did guitar.[46]

Greenwood created the rhythm for "Idioteque" (from Kid A) with a modular synthesiser[34] and sampled the song's four-chord synthesiser phrase from "mild und leise", a computer music piece by Paul Lansky.[118][33] He uses a Kaoss Pad to manipulate Yorke's vocals during performances of the Kid A song "Everything in its Right Place".[119] In 2014, Greenwood wrote of his fascination with Indian instruments, particularly the tanpura, which he felt created uniquely complex "walls" of sounds.[72]

Greenwood uses a "home-made sound machine" comprising small hammers striking objects including yoghurt cartons, tubs, bells, and tambourines.[120] He has used found sounds, using a television and a transistor radio on "Climbing Up the Walls" (from OK Computer) and "The National Anthem" (from Kid A).[104]

Software[edit]

At the suggestion of Radiohead's producer, Nigel Godrich, Greenwood began using the music programming language Max.[121] He found it liberating to abandon existing notions of audio effects and create his own from scratch, thinking "in terms of sound and maths".[11] Examples of Greenwood's use of Max include the processed piano on the Moon Shaped Pool track "Glass Eyes"[122] and his signature "stutter" guitar effect used on tracks such as the 2003 single "Go to Sleep".[123][124] He used Max to write sampling software used to create Radiohead's eighth album, The King of Limbs.[10]

Songwriting[edit]

"People from my background are made to feel that it's wrong to have opinions about classical music ... So I found it quite healthy, particularly at school, to think about classical composers and rock bands in the same way. The reason I loved Messiaen, for instance, was that he was still alive and writing. To me that was as exciting as a great old rock band still being around. Same with Penderecki. His strange orchestral music was quite dark, but it felt similar to the strange electronic music coming out of Manchester."

—Greenwood on his love of classical and rock music (2010)[9]

Greenwood's major writing contributions to Radiohead include "Just" (which Yorke described as "a competition by me and Jonny to get as many chords as possible into a song"); "My Iron Lung", co-written with Yorke,[125] from The Bends (1995); "The Tourist" and the "rain down" bridge of "Paranoid Android" from OK Computer (1997);[13] the vocal melody of "Kid A" from Kid A (2000);[32] and the guitar melody of "A Wolf At The Door" from Hail To The Thief (2003), whose "sweet" quality inspired Yorke to sing the song's "angry" lyrics.[126]

The New York Times described Greenwood as "the guy who can take an abstract Thom Yorke notion and master the tools required to execute it in the real world".[36] In 2016, Greenwood described his role in Radiohead as an arranger, and said: "It's not really about can I do my guitar part now, it's more ... What will serve this song best? How do we not mess up this really good song? ... How do we make it better than [Thom] just playing it by himself, which is already usually quite great."[8]

For his film soundtracks, Greenwood attempts to keep the instrumentation contemporary to the period of the story. For example, he recorded the Norwegian Wood soundtrack using a 1960s Japanese nylon-strung guitar with home recording equipment from the period, attempting to create a recording that one of the characters might have made.[46] Many of Greenwood's compositions are microtonal.[46] He often uses modes of limited transposition, particularly the octatonic scale, saying: "I like to know what I can't do and then work inside that."[89]

Influences[edit]

Greenwood admires the alternative rock bands Pavement, the Pixies and Sonic Youth.[119] Greenwood said the guitarist that had most influenced him was John McGeoch of Magazine, whose songwriting "informs so much of what [Radiohead] do".[127] He declined an offer to fill in for McGeoch, who died in 2004, during Magazine's 2009 reunion tour. According to the Radiohead collaborator Adam Buxton, Jonny was "overwhelmed" and too shy to accept the role.[128] He cited the jazz musician Alice Coltrane as an influence.[119]

Greenwood first heard Olivier Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony at the age of 15 and became "round-the-bend-obsessed with it".[2] Messiaen was Greenwood's "first connection" to classical music, and remains an influence; he said: "He was still alive when I was 15, and for whatever reason I felt I could equate him with my other favourite bands—there was no big posthumous reputation to put me off. So I'm still very fond of writing things in the same modes of limited transposition that he used."[46]

Greenwood is an admirer of the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, and cited a concert of Penderecki's music in the early 90s as a "conversion experience".[36][129] He is also a fan of the composers György Ligeti, Henri Dutilleux and Steve Reich.[44][130] He has performed Reich's 1987 guitar composition Electric Counterpoint and recorded a version for Reich's 2014 album Radio Rewrite.[130]

Greenwood was exposed to Middle Eastern music through his wife's family. He said he particularly admired the textures and complexity of the rhythms in songs such as those by Abdel Halim Hafez, and had tried to emulate this with his music. He also said he enjoyed the rhythmic ambiguity, when it is difficult to tell where the first beat in a bar is.[131]

Personal life[edit]

Greenwood is married to the Israeli visual artist Sharona Katan, whom he met in 1993 when Radiohead performed in Israel.[132] Her work (credited as Shin Katan) appears on the covers of Junun and several of Greenwood's soundtracks.[133] Katan said she considers their family Jewish: "Our kids are raised as Jews, we have a mezuzah in our house, we sometimes have Shabbos dinners, we celebrate Jewish holidays. The kids don't eat pork. It's important to me to keep this stuff."[132]

In February 2021, Greenwood appeared on the BBC Radio 4 program Saturday Live, where his selected "Inheritance Tracks" were "Sweetheart Contract" by Magazine and "Brotherhood of Man" by Oscar Peterson and Clark Terry.[134] Greenwood is red-green colour blind.[135] Since 2015, Greenwood has lived on a farm in Marche, Italy. In April 2023, he began selling his own olive oil from Radiohead's online shop.[136]

Discography[edit]

Collaborative albums[edit]

List of collaborative albums, with selected chart positions
Title Details Charts
UK
Sales

[137]
UK
Indie

[138]
SCO
[139]
US
Curr.

[140]
US
Heat

[141]
US
World

[142]
Threnody For The Victims Of Hiroshima / Popcorn Superhet Receiver / Polymorphia / 48 Responses To Polymorphia (performed by Aukso Orchestra; conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki and Marek Moś [pl])
  • Released: 13 March 2012
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Formats: CD, download
Junun (with Shye Ben Tzur and the Rajasthan Express)
  • Released: 20 November 2015
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Formats: LP, CD, cassette, download
6 3
Jarak Qaribak (with Dudu Tassa)
  • Released: 9 June 2023
  • Label: World Circuit
  • Formats: LP, CD, download
34 13 70 68

Soundtracks[edit]

Title Details Charts
US
OST

[143]
US
Heat

[141]
US
Vinyl

[144]
Bodysong
There Will Be Blood
  • Released: 17 December 2007
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Formats: LP, CD, download
20 21
Norwegian Wood
  • Released: 10 December 2010
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Formats: CD, download
The Master
  • Released: 10 September 2012
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Formats: LP, CD, download
21 28
Inherent Vice
  • Released: 15 December 2014
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Formats: LP, CD, download
Phantom Thread
  • Released: 12 January 2018
  • Label: Nonesuch, WEA[146]
  • Formats: LP, CD, download
You Were Never Really Here
Spencer
  • Released: 12 November 2021
  • Label: Mercury KX[88]
  • Formats: LP, CD, download
The Power of the Dog
  • Released: 17 November 2021
  • Label: Lakeshore, Invada
  • Formats: LP, CD, download

Compilations[edit]

Title Charts
US
Reggae

[147]
Jonny Greenwood Is the Controller (with Various Artists) 5

EPs[edit]

Title Charts
US
Classical

[148]
Octatonic Volume 2: Industry Water (with Michael Gordon)
  • Released: 24 September 2019
  • Label: Octatonic Records
  • Formats: Vinyl,[149] download
10

Appearances[edit]

Concert works[edit]

  • 2004 – smear for two ondes Martenots and chamber ensemble of nine players[151]
  • 2004 – Piano for Children for piano and orchestra[44] (withdrawn)
  • 2005 – Popcorn Superhet Receiver for string orchestra[5]
  • 2007 – There Will Be Blood live film version[152]
  • 2010 – Doghouse for string trio and orchestra[153]
  • 2011 – Suite from 'Noruwei no Mori' (Norwegian Wood) for orchestra[154]
  • 2011 – 48 Responses to Polymorphia for 48 solo strings, all doubling optional pacay bean shakers[155]
  • 2012 – Suite from 'There Will Be Blood' for string orchestra[156]
  • 2014 – Setting Up Arrows for string ensemble of 7 players[157]
  • 2014 – Water for two flutes, upright piano, chamber organ, two tanpura & string orchestra[158]
  • 2015 – 88 (No 1) for solo piano
  • 2018 – Three Miniatures from 'Water' for violin, piano, 2 tampuras, and cello/bass drone[159]
  • 2019 – Horror vacui for solo violin and 68 strings[84]
  • 2024 – 268 Years of Reverb for organ[160]

Awards and nominations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

Citations[edit]

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External links[edit]