It’s not a secret anymore that the lyrics of Harrowdown Hill are about the death of Dr David Kelly. The Daily Record published some more quotes from Thom on the track, which will be out on single this Monday.
Dr Kelly had alleged the intelligence community’s claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes had been fabricated after political pressure. He was then named by the MoD as the leak over a dodgy dossier on Iraq and Thom admits he decided to write the track from his album The Eraser as a response to the whisteblower’s mysterious death.
Thom explained: “He was the chief expert on chemical weapons who went into Iraq, twice, the whistleblower. He’s believed to have committed suicide, but the circumstances surrounding it were certainly painful and horrible, and there was an inquiry where they wanted to get to the bottom of it.
“Yet it being an inquiry in Britain, all those who were found responsible were not held responsible and remained blameless. The song was my response to it. I have never been so upset and angry with my country. I was upset with the Ministry of Defence in how they dealt with this man, and I think they should all rot.”
Harrowdown Hill is where Kelly’s body was found. Thom: “I think it was a mistake to call it Harrowdown Hill. I didn’t think anyone would know that,” Thom admitted. “You write something and then go, ‘Oh God, oh no.’ You can’t go back then. It’s all there.
But I guess it’s my job to do that and apologise if anyone was hurt by it, but to also stand by it because that was my response to that situation which I found deeply dishonest.”
Thom admits he would stop short of describing Kelly as a hero. “I wouldn’t say that,” he admitted. “I have no idea of the actual circumstances surrounding what did or did not go on. That’s the trouble with it. I wouldn’t say that he was anti-war, but he was questioning how things were being spun.
“It’s one of those really odd things where I wrote half the lyrics before considering what I was writing about. It happened over a long period of time. By osmosis, these things were going on and they ended up in the tune. It was something that was extremely emotional at the time, and it couldn’t help b being in the tune. But I didn’t even realise the initial lyrics were about this until I looked at it further down the line.”
Radiohead news on this day..
- Radiohead live in Vancouver [live report] – 2008
- Radiohead live at V Festival – Chelmsford – 2006
- New pictures posted on Radiohead.com – 2005
- DJ Shadow remixes ‘The Gloaming’ – 2004
- GO TO SLEEP RELEASE DATES – 2003
- NICE DREAM IN CAMDEN – 2003
- Early Radiohead (On A Friday) Demos online! – 2002