Is This the Intersection on the Cover of Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’?
For 20 years, people have looked at the cover of Radiohead's OK Computer and wondered about the location of the washed-out intersection depicted. Now, a fan believes he has found the spot in Hartford, Conn.
Spin found a thread on a Reddit Radiohead forum where a user with the screenname "Jordan117" enlisted the help of people who frequent the forums at AARoads.com, which Jordan describes as a "haven for 'roadgeeks' who love discussing interstates, construction, road trips, etc." Six hours later someone came back with the answer that the spot was where I-84 meets I-91 at the Connecticut River, with the photograph looking towards the east.
The sleuth, who goes by "Mapmikey," said that he figured it out by looking at the big green sign (BGS) that's still somewhat visible after the effects were added. "The middle BGS [Big Green Sign] has a two word control city with just a single letter as the first word," he wrote. "The BGS on the right has a two word city but two actual words. I figured that it was east of the Mississippi because of the (IMO) tight footprint of the interchange. So what interstate junctions in the east might fit the that BGS criteria? E Hartford and New Haven."
Jordan117 then did more research into Radiohead's performance history and found that they had played Hartford on Aug. 20, 1996, shortly before they resumed work on the record. He concluded that they likely stayed at the Hilton Hartford, which would have given them the proper view of the two highways meeting. In addition, he used Google Earth to get an approximation of the shot and overlaid the cover to create an animated GIF.
Consequence of Sound found a 2013 NME interview with Radiohead artist Stanley Donwood, who said that they were looking for a “bleached bone” color scheme. “We did OK Computer on a computer with a tablet and a light pen," he added. "We had this rule when we couldn’t erase anything.”
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