Thomas Edward Yorke (born 7 October 1968) is an English musician and composer best known as the singer and principal songwriter of the alternative rock band Radiohead. A multi-instrumentalist, Yorke mainly plays guitar and piano 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 formed 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 a new band, Atoms for Peace, with musicians including Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich; they released an album, Amok, in 2013. In 2014, Yorke released his second solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. He has collaborated with artists including Björk, Flying Lotus and PJ Harvey, and has composed soundtracks for film and theatre. With artist Stanley Donwood, he creates artwork for Radiohead 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 incorporate political themes.