It was the third album by the Oxfordshire-based group, following ‘Pablo Honey’ and ‘The Bends’, but it was the one that took them into the stratosphere, selling more than four million copies worldwide.
With tracks including ‘Paranoid Android’, ‘Karma Police’, ‘Lucky’ and ‘No Surprises’, Radiohead sealed their status as a band able to ignore all commercial imperatives and yet take their audience with them on a melancholic, atmospheric road that they made their own.
With its themes of over-consumerism and social alienation balanced by the sweetest of melodies, the album has remained beloved. In the 20 years since, it has been consistently included in the lists of best albums of all time.
If you need further convincing that it was a seismic cultural event, here are some of the other music moments that stood out in that remarkable year...
1. Oasis released their 3rd studio album, ‘Be Here Now’, which sold nearly 700,000 copies in its first three days, becoming the fastest-selling album in UK history.
2. The second best-selling album of the year was ‘Urban Hymns’ by the Verve, who still made pots of money from ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’, even after giving some to Mick and Keith, after a legal tussle.
3. The Spice Girls scored three number one singles, with ‘Mama’, ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ and ‘Spice Up Your Life’.
4. Puff Daddy paid musical tribute to his rapper friend The Notorious B.I.G. with the million-selling ‘I’ll Be Missing You’.
5. Brits discovered Gwen Stefani, the stunning frontwoman of No Doubt, who scored a number one with ‘Don’t Speak’.
6. Celine Dion provided an eternal soundtrack for weddings, funerals and other weepy gatherings with her Titanic soundtrack ‘My Heart Will Go On’ and bagged an Oscar.
7. Aqua released ‘Barbie’ Girl’, another million-seller.
8. The Children in Need single was the assembled A-list roll call for a rendition of Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’.
9. The Teletubbies had a number one record, with ‘Teletubbies say Eh-oh!’
10. The biggest seller of the year was Elton John’s ‘Candle in the Wind 1997’, his adapted tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, killed in a car accident in August, which he performed at her funeral. It went on to sell 37million copies worldwide, the highest-selling single record which it continues to hold to this day.