Pablo Honey was released on this day (February 22) in 1993.
It's difficult to believe that it's been 26 years since Radiohead dropped their debut studio album, but Pablo Honey was the start of something great - even if it made people sceptical at first.
Produced by Sean Slade (Hole, Pixies, Weezer) and his frequent production partner Paul Q. Kolderie, the album was released on Parlophone and Capitol Records with the title coming from a Jerky Boys prank call skit. Unlike their later work, it had a grungey, lo-fi quality to it that didn't necessarily sit well with early critics.
Radiohead - Pablo Honey
Strangely, Radiohead inverted the problem of "second album syndrome" after 1995's follow-up The Bends received much more acclaim than Pablo Honey. While their debut remains an important part of their back-catalogue, it wasn't until their later albums when they really started to grow into their unique sound.
Pablo Honey gave birth to three singles, though it was only Creep that saw any kind of success. It was allegedly written by Thom Yorke in the late 80s and it remains their best-selling single to this day. They originally referred to it as their "Scott Walker song" after the famous baritone musician, and it has been claimed that when they performed it at an early studio session, Jonny Greenwood's guitar crunches in the chorus were an attempt at sabotaging the track because he hated it.
If that's true, he certainly wasn't the only one. The single didn't do especially well upon its limited release initially, and it even ended up being banned on Radio 1 because it was "too depressing". No-one expected it to achieve quite the popularity that it would eventually befall.
So while Pablo Honey was met with lukewarm critique upon its release, retrospection has, of course, changed people's minds. It's an underrated gem in Radiohead's back-catalogue, though has been named as one of the greatest albums of all time by several publications. Nonetheless, the band themselves have since confessed that it's certainly not their favourite release, the succes of Creep aside.