The best—and the weirdest—cover versions of Radiohead's 'Creep'

Radiohead's 'Creep' has been covered dozens of times in a range of musical styles.

Radiohead's "Creep" has had an interesting journey during its 30-year lifespan. The song wasn't a big hit when it was first released in 1992, only reaching No. 78 on the U.K. Singles Chart. The BBC actually banned it for a while, basically because it was too emo for the early '90s. (We were all about the angst in the early '90s. Actual sadness and loneliness, not so much. It also had the f-word in it.) But after it became a hit in Israel, its popularity spread, and when it was reissued in the U.K. in 1993, it reached No. 7.

Die-hard fans of Radiohead don't like the song much because they don't think it reflects the band's true sound. The band itself has some mixed feelings about playing it and in their song "My Iron Lung" even expressed resentment of the way "Creep" had pigeonholed them. But its popularity has stuck and crossed generations, spawning multiple cover versions from a wide variety of artists.

Personally, I'm a fan of the song and always have been. "Creep" came out the year I graduated from high school and makes my Gen X heart go pitter-patter. It's also just a good song—different, yet entirely recognizable. The simple, two-beat guitar riffs just before the chorus are tidbits of genius. The lyrics explore feelings rarely expressed out loud. It has amazing contrast between the lilting verses and the grungy chorus. Here's the original if you need a refresher:

Radiohead - Creep www.youtube.com

It's also a song that covers actually do justice to, for the most part. Here is a handful of what I think are the best versions—and definitely one of the weirdest.


Let's start with the weird. The YouTube channel "There I Ruined It" shared a honky-tonk version of "Creep" that's every bit as WTF as it sounds. But the video is meticulously edited to make it look like both Radiohead and some honky-tonk stars are actually singing it, so even though the song is a bit of an assault on the ears (unless you love honky-tonk, in which case more power to you), the video is worth watching purely for the wow factor.

Honky-tonk "Creep" from There I Ruined It

Amazing, right? I mean, I kind of hate it—sorry honky-tonk fans—but I'm also genuinely impressed. The matchup of the backup vocals with the video clips is perfection.

If you need to wash that out of your ears, more pleasant-to-listen-to versions are plentiful. Halle Bailey (of Chloe x Halle twin fame) recently shared a stripped-down cover version on TikTok with just her voice and an electric guitar and it's lovely.

Generation TikTok "Creep" from Halle Bailey

@hallebailey

my version of creepppp this song was in my head all day i had to sing it to get it out ! 🥰🤣

Halle Bailey is only 21, but she's not even the youngest performer to make "Creep" her own. In 2019, sisters Mimi and Josefin, ages 15 and 13, sang the song for their blind audition on Germany's "The Voice Kids." The audience and judges were so impressed with their performance, they sang an encore. The harmonies are what make this rendition particularly fun to listen to.

The Voice Audition "Creep" from Mimi & Josefin

Some of the best covers are the simple acoustic versions with just a singer and a guitar, like this one from Daniela Andrade.

Mellow acoustic "Creep" from Daniela Andrade

Ever heard an entire choir sing "Creep"? Check this out:

Creepy "Creep" from the Scala & Kolacny Brothers Choir

Scala & Kolacny Brothers is a Belgian girls' choir and their version is more haunting than anything else. It's the creepiest of the Creeps for sure, but very cool.

My personal favorite is the Vintage Postmodern Jukebox cover featuring Haley Reinhart. The big band sound is so unexpected for the song, the vocals are stellar, and it's just hands-down the best version I've come across.

Vintage big band "Creep" from Postmodern Jukebox

Sorry diehard Radiohead fans, but "Creep" isn't going anywhere anytime soon. People young and old love it and if musicians keep making it their own, it's probably going to outlast us all.

(Final note: It seems remiss not to include the 2021 remix of "Creep" released by Thom Yorke of Radiohead himself. It's not on my list of favorites, but it's interesting to see how he's interpreting the song three decades later.)

Thom Yorke feat. Radiohead - Creep (Very 2021 Rmx)

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.