Go to Sleep

Something for the rag and bone man
“Over my dead body”
Something big is gonna happen
“Over my dead body”

Someone’s son or someone’s daughter
“Over my dead body”
This is how I end up getting sucked in
“Over my dead body”

I’m gonna go to sleep
Let this wash all over me

We don’t wanna wake monster taking over
“Tiptoe round tie him down”
We don’t want the loonies taking over
“Tiptoe round tie them down”

May pretty horses
Come to you
As you sleep
I’m gonna go to sleep
Let this wash
All over me



Released: June 2003
Found on: Hail to the Thief

Go to Sleep” premiered on July 23, 2002 in Lisbon, Portugal. The song starts in 10/4 (4/4 + 6/4) with an acoustic guitar riff written by Ed O’Brien but played by Thom Yorke. After 11 bars of guitar and vocals, the rest of the band comes in. In the second half of the song the time signature remains in 4/4 and the guitars change to a different riff; the song fades out with a guitar solo played by Jonny Greenwood.

The guitar-work at the end of this track was achieved by Jonny Greenwood playing a sequence of random notes on his guitar that were being processed through a digital patch for software called Max/MSP, which is musical software frequently used by electronica or experimental artists.

Some believe that even though this is a random process, what you hear on record sounds slightly more structured and therefore may have been edited in the production process. However, Greenwood has played this song live using the same patch on many occasions, most notably on Later…With Jools Holland, where the patch seemed to generate a more frantic and random rendition of the solo.

A similar solo to that heard in live versions of “Go to Sleep” was played by Adrian Belew on the 1980 Talking Heads song “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On),” though it was generated through different technology. Radiohead have cited the album Remain in Light on which the song appears as a major inspiration on their work in general.

Directed by Alex Rutterford, the CGI-animated video shows a full-blossom red rose swaying in the wind, and proceeds to show Yorke sitting on a park bench singing the song while around him men and women in business suits walk by rapidly. In the middle of the video, the buildings, in classical architecture style, spontaneously crumble into pieces and moments later reassemble themselves, only to have become modern in style. The shot returns to the rose shown in the beginning, which is now closed in a bud.