Legal name: Thomas Edward Yorke, Thomas Yorke
Thomas Edward "Thom" Yorke (born 7 October 1968) is an English musician best known as the singer and principal songwriter of the alternative rock band Radiohead. As a multi-instrumentalist, Yorke mainly plays guitar and piano, but also plays instruments including keyboards, bass, and drums, and works extensively with synthesisers, sequencers and programming. He is known for his falsetto vocals; in 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the 66th greatest singer of all time.
Yorke was born in 1968 in Northamptonshire. His family moved often before settling in Oxfordshire, where Yorke attended Abingdon School and founded Radiohead with his schoolmates. After he graduated from the University of Exeter, Radiohead signed to Parlophone; their early hit "Creep" made Yorke a celebrity, and Radiohead have gone on to achieve critical acclaim and sales of over 30 million albums. Their fourth album Kid A (2000) saw Yorke and the band move into electronic music, often manipulating his vocals.
In 2006, Yorke released his debut solo album, The Eraser, comprising mainly electronic music. In 2009, to perform The Eraser live, he formed Atoms for Peace with musicians including Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich; in 2013, the band released their first album, Amok. In 2014, Yorke released his second solo album, Tomorrow's Modern Boxes. He has collaborated with artists including DJ Shadow, Björk, Flying Lotus and PJ Harvey, and has composed soundtracks for documentaries and theatre. With artist Stanley Donwood, he creates artwork for Radiohead's albums.
Yorke has been critical of the music industry, particularly of major labels and streaming services such as Spotify, which he believes cannot support new music. With Radiohead and his solo work he has pioneered alternative music release platforms such as pay-what-you-want and BitTorrent. He is an activist on behalf of human rights, environmental, and anti-war causes, and his lyrics sometimes address political themes.