Radiohead chords and tabs

Hey Radiohead lovers, welcome to the new edition of our Song Explained series. In this blog post we’ll talk about the famous song “Creep” by… yup, Radiohead. We divided this article into three levels: beginners, intermediate, and pro guitarists. For each level you’ll find chord diagrams, instruction videos, and lyrics. Our Pro level even has tablature, so check it out!

Estimated reading time: 15 minutes

Check out the chords and video of Radiohead’s ‘Creep‘.

Main takeaway

Before we dive into the details of “Creep”, we’ll start off with the song structure. This way you’ll have a clear vision of the path that awaits you. Once we’ve covered all the basics, like the main chord progression, we’ll split this article up into three parts: Beginner, Intermediate, and Pro. So what’s the difference between these chapters?

For starters, the Beginner part will focus on easy to play chord diagrams, so you don’t get discouraged when some chords seem too difficult. Keep in mind that there are always more roads leading to Rome. In the Intermediate part you won’t find simplified chords, but we have some smart tricks to make jamming to “Creep” a lot more fun. 

So if you are a beginner, but want to know more, feel free to continue with the Intermediate part. When it comes to the Pro chapter, there’s a catch – we don’t introduce new stuff about the song. We just zoom in on the intro with notes and tabs, and provide you with some handy tips on how to learn this part quickly and efficiently.

This blog post continues with some music theory which explains how Radiohead’s “Creep” can pull off looping only four chords and still sound like a very diverse and enriched composition. And of course, Songs Explained wouldn’t be Songs Explained if we didn’t wrap this article up with some trivia cherries on top. Enjoy!

Song structure

This song is a great example of what you can do by looping just four chords over and over again. And yes, it does sound fresh and interesting due to the variety of dynamic shades, lyrics and melodic lines in the vocal part, as well as in the rich instrumentation.

The structure of “Creep” is like this:

Figure 1. Song structure of ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Main chord progression

The parts of the song – Intro, Verse, Chorus and Bridge – consist of the same chord loop. The only difference is the amount of times that the loop repeats itself. The short Outro consists of only the G chord. Check out the figure below for the chord progression we’re talking about.

Radiohead chords
Figure 2. Chord progression for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

These four chords allow you to play the whole song from the beginning till the end. So now that you know the basics of “Creep”, it’s time to dive deeper into the song. So, choose your level and read further! Curious to read the whole article? Be our guest, and enjoy.

Beginner level

In this part you’ll find:
– Chord diagrams for beginners
– Video tutorial
– Chord progression
– Chords & Lyrics

Chord diagrams for beginners

Hey guitar explorers! Welcome to the beginner level part of this Song Explained series. Here we’ll show you the basic shapes for the four chords, which you need to know to play Radiohead’s “Creep”. You’ll improve your open chord skills by learning how to play the G, B and C chords. And while you’re at it, we’ll teach you a simple shape for the Cm chord. Let’s get started, shall we?

In the figure below you’ll find the chord shapes we just mentioned.

Radiohead tabs
Figure 3. Beginner level chord diagrams for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Chord progression for beginners

This is where you can find the charts for all parts of the song, together with the explanation video. We’ll show you an example of how you can play certain parts of the song on your instrument. So, let’s go! 

Let’s take a closer look at the chord progression. As we explained before, the song has different parts, but the chord progression stays the same. The only thing that is different is the amount of times you repeat the chord loop. Let’s take a closer look, part by part.

Chord progression for the Intro

Figure 4. Beginner level chord progression for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Our explanation video can help you to play this song! In the video for the Intro we play each chord on the first beat of each bar. 

Instruction Video 1. Intro ‘Creep’ for Beginner level.

Chord progression for the Verse

Figure 5. Beginner level chords for Verse of ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

For the Verse part, we again play each chord on the first beat of each bar. 

Instruction Video 2. Beginner level Verse for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Chord progression for the Chorus

Radiohead chords
Figure 6. Beginner level chords for Chorus of ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

In the video for the Chorus part, we play each chord twice per bar: on the first beat and on the third beat.

Instruction Video 3. Beginner level Chorus for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Chord progression for the Bridge

Figure 7. Beginner level chords for Bridge of ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

For the Bridge, we play each chord on every four beats of the bar: on the first, second, third and fourth beats. Meaning, the chords match with the metronome clicks.

Instruction Video 4. Beginner level Bridge for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Chord progression for the Outro

Radiohead chords
Figure 8. Beginner level chords for Outro of ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

In the video for the Outro we play the G chord on the first beat of every bar.

Instruction Video 5. Beginner level Outro for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Chords & lyrics

Now it’s time to channel all your knowledge and play the whole song. Here’s the chart for you. Keep in mind that the Verse and Chorus are repeated twice (you can see repetition signs there): Verse 1 – Chorus 1 – Verse 2 – Chorus 2. That’s why you see two lines of lyrics – the upper line for Chorus 1 and Verse 1; the lower line for Chorus 2 and Verse 2.

You can also see the repetition sign for the Bridge along with two lines of lyrics. So the eight bars of the Bridge are repeated twice. In general, the repetition sign is very handy in order to save a lot of space in the charts.

Radiohead chords and lyrics

Figure 9. Beginner level chords and lyrics for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Intermediate

In this part you’ll find:
– Chord diagrams for Intermediate players
– Chord progression for Intermediate guitarists
– Video tutorial
– Chords & Lyrics

Chord diagrams for Intermediate players

Well hello guitar beasts! You’ve arrived at the Intermediate level for how to play Radiohead’s “Creep”. In this part, we’ll show you how to improve your open chord skills by playing the G, B and C chords in a pattern. To top things off, we’ll introduce a play-friendly shape for the Cm chord. In the figure below, you can see all the chord shapes we just mentioned.

Chords Radiohead
Figure 10. Intermediate level chord diagrams for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Chord progression for Intermediate guitarists

Here you can find the charts for all parts of the song together with the explanation video, where we show you an example of how to play certain parts of the song on your instrument. So, here we go!

Chord progression for the Intro

Chords Radiohead
Figure 11. Intermediate level Intro chord progression for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

In the video for the Intro, we play each chord on the first beat of each bar. 

Instruction Video 6. Intermediate level Intro for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Chord progression for the Verse

Radiohead chords and tabs
Figure 12. Intermediate level Verse chord progression for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

For the Verse, we also play each chord on the first beat of each bar. 

Instruction Video 7. Intermediate level Verse for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Chord progression for the Chorus

Radiohead chords
Figure 13. Intermediate level Chorus chord progression for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

For the Chorus, we play each chord on the first and fourth beat of each bar. In the last bar we play only on the first beat. 

Instruction Video 8. Intermediate level Chorus for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Chord progression for the Bridge

Chords and tabs Radiohead
Figure 14. Intermediate level Bridge chord progression for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

And for the Bridge, we play each chord in the eight notes pulse. So, on each beat we play two chords.

Instruction Video 9. Intermediate level Bridge for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Chord progression for the Outro

Radiohead chords
Figure 15. Intermediate level Outro chord progression for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

And finally, for the Outro we play the G chord on the first beat of every bar.

Instruction Video 10. Intermediate level Outro for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Chords & lyrics

Now it’s time to channel all your knowledge and play the whole song. Here’s the chart for you. Keep in mind that the Verse and Chorus are repeated twice (you can see repetition signs there): Verse 1 – Chorus 1 – Verse 2 – Chorus 2. That’s why you see two lines of lyrics – the upper line for Chorus 1 and Verse 1; the lower line for Chorus 2 and Verse 2.

You can also see the repetition sign for the Bridge along with two lines of lyrics. So the eight bars of the Bridge are repeated twice.

In general, the repetition sign is very handy in order to save a lot of space in the charts.

Radiohead chords and lyrics
Figure 16. Chords and lyrics for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead, Intermediate level.

Pro level

In this part you’ll find:
– Note charts and tabs for the intro of “Creep”
– Video tutorial
– Tips and tricks on how to practice efficiently

Notes and tabs for the intro of “Creep”

Hello, hello guitar nerds! Yeah, if you’re a pro player, you’re definitely a nerd just like us. No one spends that much time playing guitar without becoming one. It’s an honor, and that’s why we’ve prepared something just for you. Or maybe you’ve just practiced everything from the Beginner and Intermediate levels and are still hungry to learn more? That’s even better! Let’s dig in.

The guitar intro for this song sounds super cool, how about we teach you how to play it? This intro is very significant and recognizable. It has interesting elements of an arpeggio, which can help you to improve your picking and fingering techniques. Let’s get started! We’ve prepared some note charts for you, but if you can’t read notes, no worries, there’s also tablature.

Radiohead tablature
Figure 17. Guitar tabs Intro for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

This is what it looks like when played on your guitar.

Instruction Video 11. Pro level Intro for ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.

Tips and tricks on how to practice efficiently

First, practice it slowly. Play two bars of each chord separately. For instance, play only the 1st and the 2nd bar of the G chord, then move to the 3rd and 4th bar of the B chord. Then try to connect these chords together by playing the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th bars in a row. Do it as slowly as you feel comfortable with, gradually raising the speed to the original tempo. 

Music theory

As you’ve already learned, “Creep” has four chords. These chords create a loop, which is repeated over and over again during the whole song. And it doesn’t sound monotonous at all, which is even cooler. Every time the loop resets, it creates a new movement. Let’s take a look at why these chords work so well together. 

Warning: the explanation below is very technical and full of music theoretical jargon. If you don’t understand something just click on the hyperlinks that will guide you to our music dictionary.

The chord progression:

Radiohead chords

G – is the I (tonic) chord of the song. Check out our music dictionary to get a better understanding of what a tonic is, and what it does within a chord progression.

C – is the IV chord.

The B is the chord of the III degree of G major. Usually on the III degree of major scales we have a minor chord. However, in this particular song we have a B major chord, which can be considered as a secondary dominant – the dominant chord moving to an Em chord (VI degree of G). But this secondary dominant (B) doesn’t resolve to Em, it moves to a C chord. You don’t have to be schooled in music theory to feel the difference when you hear this. Emotionally you are longing for the Em, but you get the C chord instead.

At the end of the chord progression, the C (IV chord of the G major) turns into a C minor chord, which is resolved back to the G chord.  This cadence of IV – IV minor – I chord is known as a minor plagal cadence. And as you have noticed already, it sounds amazing.

Trivia about ‘Creep’ by Radiohead

Alrighty then, it’s time for some Radiohead trivia. This is the part where you learn some fun facts that you can use later on during awkward family dinners, or watercooler chitchat. You can start the conversation with: “That song “Creep” by Radiohead, do you know it? Yes? Oh man, I love that track! Did you know that…”

It turns out that Radiohead didn’t come up with the chord progression that we just thoroughly discussed by themselves. Frontman Thom Yorke was inspired by the 1972 song “The Air That I Breathe” by the Hollies – Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood. York even changed the vocals a bit so that the melody line would have a hint of the Hammond and Hazlewood song. What do you think happened next?

Yup, Radiohead got sued by the duo. Instead of giving up the song in total, the band proposed adding Hammond and Hazlewood as co-writers so that they could share the success of “Creep”. The artists agreed, since Radiohead had been honest about their “inspiration”. So when you look up the song, you’ll find their names there as well. 

We hope you enjoyed this guitar-focused explanation of “Creep” by Radiohead. If you’re a ukulele player, or a pianist, don’t worry. We are working on the “Creep” Songs Explained for these instruments as well. Happy jamming!