Radiohead: "Karma Police"

Dive into a piano solo arrangement by Jennifer Eklund of Radiohead's "Karma Police," a moody alternative rock classic from the 1990s.

Radiohead: "Karma Police"

About Radiohead:

Radiohead is an English rock band formed in 1985 in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. The band consists of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments), Colin Greenwood (bass), Ed O’Brien (guitar, backing vocals), and Philip Selway (drums, percussion).

Radiohead’s early sound was influenced by alternative rock and Britpop, but they later ventured into experimental and electronic music, becoming known for their innovative approach to songwriting and production. They gained widespread acclaim with their third album, “OK Computer” (1997), which is often hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time. The album showcased Radiohead’s complex musical arrangements, introspective lyrics, and exploration of themes such as modern alienation and technological dystopia.

Subsequent albums saw Radiohead experimenting with different genres and sonic landscapes. “Kid A” (2000) and “Amnesiac” (2001) marked a significant departure from their earlier guitar-driven sound, incorporating elements of electronic music, jazz, and ambient music. Despite this experimentation, both albums received critical acclaim and commercial success.

Radiohead continued to push boundaries with albums like “Hail to the Thief” (2003), “In Rainbows” (2007), and “A Moon Shaped Pool” (2016), blending rock, electronic, and orchestral elements to create a unique and evolving sound. They are also known for their innovative distribution methods, such as releasing “In Rainbows” as a pay-what-you-want download.

Throughout their career, Radiohead has received numerous awards and accolades, including multiple Grammy Awards and nominations. They are widely regarded as one of the most influential and pioneering bands of their generation, known for their artistic integrity, musical innovation, and thought-provoking lyrics.

About “Karma Police”:

“Karma Police” is a song by Radiohead, released in 1997 as the second single from their album “OK Computer.” It reached number one in Iceland and number eight on the UK Singles Chart, while peaking at number 14 on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart. The song features a haunting melody and introspective lyrics, exploring themes of vulnerability and the desire for emotional protection.

Directed by Jonathan Glazer, the music video depicts Thom Yorke in the back of a car pursuing a man along a dark road. The video won MTV’s Director of the Year award in 1997.

Musically, “Karma Police” is characterized by its 4/4 time signature, acoustic guitar, and piano-driven arrangement. The song progresses from a mid-tempo verse-chorus structure to a more atmospheric and melodic section towards the end. The closing refrain, “Phew, for a minute there I lost myself,” adds to the song’s emotional impact.

The lyrics of “Karma Police” touch upon stress, insecurity, and dissatisfaction with authority figures, particularly in corporate settings. Yorke has described the song as humorous and not entirely serious, using everyday phrases to convey deeper meanings. Rolling Stone ranked “Karma Police” at number 279 on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

“Karma Police” Intermediate Piano Solo

Key features of the intermediate version:

  • Appropriate for intermediates and late intermediates
  • 5 total pages
  • Run time is approximately 4:00

🧐 Sheet music sneak peek:

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Jennifer Eklund
Written by Jennifer Eklund
Jennifer Eklund holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music from California State University, Long Beach. She is an avid arranger, composer, and author of the Piano Pronto® method books series as well as a wide variety of supplemental songbooks. She is also a Signature Artist with with a large catalog of popular music titles for musicians of all levels.


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