Take Cover! Radiohead Vs. The Smiths

When is a cover song better than the original? Only you can decide. This week Radiohead takes on the Smiths’ “The Headmaster Ritual.” MAGNET’s Edward Fairchild pulls the pin. Take cover!

For the original recording of “The Headmaster Ritual,” Johnny Marr used a Rickenbacker that belonged to Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music; the guitar was alleged to have at one point been owned by the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn. Marr told Guitar Player magazine that when he wrote the song, he “fancied the idea of a strange Joni Mitchell tuning, and the actual progression is like what she would have done had she been an MC5 fan or a punk rocker.” In 2007, Radiohead did a webcast of several songs from its rehearsal space, one of which was its take on the classic track from 1985’s Meat Is Murder.

The Cover:

The Original:

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