By: Staff –
Radiohead fans have always wondered where the highway on the cover of OK Computer was supposed to be, but figured the image was too fuzzy to identify — it may have even been a drawing for all we know. However, after Radiohead released concept art from the OK Computer era that showed more details from the underlying photo — fans saw an opportunity.
It doesn’t show that much more, but you can tell that the area is urban, hilly, and probably American going by the signage and right-driving traffic. Unfortunately you can’t quite read the lettering, but hopefully it was enough for an expert to make use of. With a quick trip to the forums at AARoads.com, a haven for “roadgeeks” who love discussing interstates, construction, road trips, etc, Radiohead fans had their answer, courtesy of user Mapmikey: the eastbound junction of I-84 (a.k.a. the Yankee Expressway) with I-91 in Hartford, Connecticut, just before it crosses the Connecticut River.
Took about 10 minutes. The middle BGS [Big Green Sign] has a two word control city with just a single letter as the first word. 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.
I’m pretty decent at puzzles and also have a fair amount of experience taking older road photos and figuring out where they were…
Looking at the area in Google Earth, it looks like the photo was taken from out the window of the nearby Hilton. And looking at the band’s gigography, fans can even pinpoint the date: August 20th, 1996, one of the last gigs before Radiohead went back to the UK to record OK Computer.
Twenty-year-old mystery: solved. Now to figure out where that Kid A mountain range is…