17 Crazy Facts About Jonny Greenwood: His First Instrument, Childhood, and More

jonny greenwood playing guitar on stage with the band radiohead
Image from Shutterstock.

Last updated on August 7th, 2023 at 07:48 am

Jonny Greenwood is a talented musician on multiple levels, but most know him for his time as lead guitarist and keyboardist for Radiohead. For some, that might be where their knowledge of talented artists stops.

If you love Radiohead, you’ve come to the right place. Get ready as we jump into 17 Jonny Greenwood facts you probably don’t know.

1. He Went to Oxford Brookes University

image of a college graduate from the back
Image by Charles Deloye on Unsplash

First on our list of Jonny Greenwood facts is that he attended Oxford Brookes University to study psychology and music to prepare for the future. However, he left the school after his first term because Radiohead signed a six-album deal. 

2. He Joined Radiohead at 14

3 radiohead CDs stacked on top of each other
Image from Shutterstock.

Although it might seem improbable, the talented Greenwood joined Radiohead at 14. He started out playing the harmonica for the group, then eventually gained more freedom and played the guitar and keyboard while arranging and adding other wild sounds to the music.

Related: 18 Best Sibling Bands

3. He Composes Movie Scores

an action device on a movie set
Image by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Jonny Greenwood shifted from Radiohead once he reached middle age and has been scoring iconic movies for many years. Some of his most iconic scores were for films like The Power Of The Dog, Spencer, Phantom Thread, and You Were Never Really Here.

4. He Plays Multiple Instruments

jonny greenwood playing guitar on stage
Image from Shutterstock.

Jonny Greenwood is most well-known for playing the piano and guitar, but he has more than these two under his belt. Greenwood also plays the synthesizer, viola, glockenspiel, banjo, harp, recorder, and harmonica, just to name a few.

5. His Father Was A Bomb Disposal Expert

a bomb disposal expert checking on a package in turkey
Image from Shutterstock.

Jonny Greenwood has lived as a musician, but his father comes from a different background. The man served as a bomb disposal expert for the British army – a terrifying and tedious endeavor. 

6. His First Instrument Was the Recorder

an individual playing a plastic recorder
Image from Shutterstock.

Next on our list of Jonny Greenwood facts is that his first instrument was the recorder, a far cry from some of the advanced tools he uses today. He reportedly fell in love with this instrument, leading him to pursue baroque music in teenage recorder gatherings.

7. His Childhood was Spent Coding

colorful coding on a black computer screen
Image from Shutterstock.

Jonny Greenwood was a very artistic and talented kid, spending much of his time coding and learning computer systems. That ability followed him throughout his life, allowing him to create various applications to improve his ability to make music.

8. He’s Fascinated with Indian Instruments

image of a man holding a tampurna
Image of a man holding a Tampurna. Image from Shutterstock.

Jonny Greenwood is fascinated with Indian instruments and the rock and roll scene in the country. He’s been known to try a few unique options, such as the Tanpura, on his albums for intricate sounds.

Related: The 15 Best Indian Singers of All Time

9. He’s Used a “Homemade Sound Machine”

a homemade sound machine with different dials and buttons
Image by Diane Picchiottino on Unsplash

One of Greenwood’s favorite creations is a homemade sound machine, where he turned everyday objects into various sounds.

10. He Enjoys Found Sounds

a woman with her hand to her ear with lines representing visual sounds
Image from Shutterstock.

Greenwood also enjoys found sounds, which means he utilizes noises he finds in everyday life. He takes items he enjoys listening to and finds a way to incorporate them into his work.

11. John McGeoch is His Inspiration

the band radiohead performing on stage
Image from Shutterstock.

There are many influential guitarists in Greenwood’s life, but it’s reported that none have had quite the same impact as John McGeoch. McGeoch’s musical creations got Greenwood into the industry and pushed him forward as a professional musician. 

12. He Has a Wife and Three Children

a man and wife putting their hands over each others to display their wedding rings
Image by Drew Coffman on Unsplash

Next on our list of Jonny Greenwood facts is that he has a wife, Sharona Katan, whom he married in 1995. They’re still together today and have three children – their sons, Tamir and Zohar Greenwood, and their daughter, Omri Greenwood.

13. He Lives On a Farm In Italy

image of a farm with green grass and horses at sunset
Image from Shutterstock.

In 2015, Jonny Greenwood and his family moved to a farm in Marche, Italy. He’s spent time working on personal projects between his moments as a musician and composer.

14. He Sells Olive Oil

olives on a branch on an olive tree in the setting sun
Image by Lucio Patone on Unsplash

On his La Marche farm, Jonny Greenwood sells olive oil through his olive groves around his home.

15. He Played in Youth Orchestras as a Child

an orchestra on stage performing in front of a crowd
Image by Manuel Nageli on Unsplash

As a kid, Jonny Greenwood played in several youth orchestras, such as the Thames Vale youth orchestra.  

16. He is Colorblind

jonny greenwood playing guitar on stage with the band radiohead
Image from Shutterstock.

Jonny Greenwood has red-green colorblindness, like many male artists and performers. Although it doesn’t impact him much, there are some instances with clothes where Greenwood may struggle to see.

17. He’s Close with Paul Thomas Anderson

director paul thomas anderson on the red carpet
Image from Shutterstock.

Last on our list of Jonny Greenwood facts is that he is very close friends with director Paul Thomas Anderson. The two have an ideal working relationship, partnering on several movies as director and composer. 

You May Also Enjoy:

Written by Hope Davis

Long-time music lover Hope became a full-time writer in 2020 after being laid off from her regular job due to COVID-19. She now spends her time traveling the world to see her favorite bands while writing about them!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





best video game songs image of a xbox controller and extra large screen set up

The 17 Best Video Game Songs, Ranked

rod stewart on stage in a silver suit holding a microphone

16 Crazy Facts About Rod Stewart: His Job as a Grave Digger, His Arrest, and More