One of the best things about Phish as a band is that they have no shortage of original material. And yet, despite having their well-crafted catalogs full of songs, covers also have a significant presence in Phish’s live performances. That means there are plenty of cover songs to choose from when it comes time for you to put together your next party playlist! So we decided to compile an extensive list of what we believe are the ten best Phish cover songs ever recorded and performed by them.
10. Rock and Roll
Phish has covered The Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll,” written by Lou Reed in 1965. It is an iconic song for the band to cover because of its history with them and its sound. The Velvet Underground cover that Phish played at the Farm Aid Concert in 1994 is one of my favorite versions. You can hear them coming together as a band and playing with some serious intention, which I always love about this song. The guitar solo from Trey Anastasio also kills it.
9. Cities (Talking Heads)
According to ultimateclassicrock, this is a cover of Talking Head’s “Cities.” The band first took on the song back in 1989 and has continued to play it 89 times over the years, with the most recent performance taking place at their show in Atlanta, Georgia, during their 2012 Summer Tour. Phish tends to make these covers instrumental versions that they play, and they put their twist on the song. It’s a song that is perfect for any of your parties or even just to enjoy while you’re alone in front of your stereo!
8. Golden Age (TV on the Radio)
Phish played TV on the Radio’s “Golden Age” for the first time at their show in Manchester, England, in September of 2011. It was a new song to cover, and it wasn’t until they performed it live that Phish realized that they liked “Golden Age” just as much as we did — maybe even more. The first time this song was covered by Phish, it took place at their show in Manchester, England, and they played a new one for the fans to enjoy. The band likes “Golden Age” just as much as we do, so when you’re looking for some relaxing tunes from your favorite rockers with jamming potential, be sure to check out Phish’s live version of this song from their show in Manchester.
7. 2001 (Strauss, As Interpreted By Deodato)
Phish played a cover of the song “2001,” which was originally written by Richard Strauss in 1911 and popularized as an orchestral piece by Brazilian keyboardist Eumir Deodato in 1973. It has been performed live 88 times by Phish, and it took place on December 31st at their show in Miami, Florida.
6. Sneaking Sally through the Alley (Lee Dorsey)
Phish has covered Lee Dorsey’s “Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley,” written by him in 1967. It is one of their first covers, and it comes from their 1989 album “Junta.” The song has been played a total of 86 times live by Phish since then.
5. My Soul (Clifton Chenier)
Phish has covered Clifton Chenier’s “My Soul,” which was written by him in 1968. It is a song that would often be played live during their improvisational set, and it remains one of the band’s favorite covers to date.
4. Roses Are Free
Phish’s most recent cover can be found on their newest album— “Big Boat” (2016). They have been known to work on the Ween song “Roses Are Free,” which was released in 1994 as a hidden track. It is one of Phish’s oldest songs that has ever been covered, and it has been played a total of 85 times.
3. Ya Mar (Cyril Ferguson)
Phish has covered The Police’s “Ya Mar,” written by the band’s lead singer/bassist Sting. This song is one of Phish’s first covers, and it comes from their debut album “Junta” (1989). It has been played a total of 84 times since then as well. This track also features some impressive improvised guitar riffs by Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon. The band was playing in Manchester for this show, so they debuted a new cover.
2. Loving Cup (Rolling Stones)
According to rollingstone.com, “Loving Cup” is a Rolling Stones song that Phish used to cover often. It’s one of the most well-known songs in their catalog, and it’s also a fantastic tribute to a band they admire. The song, which tells the story about how love is the true meaning of life, is a perfect fit for Phish’s sound and has been performed live in its entirety only twice. And if you think that’s all there is to “Loving Cup,” listen to this! Before Phish releasing their studio version on Junta in 1989, they had released a demo called “Loving Cup (Version)” on a cassette called the “White Tape.” The first time this song was covered by Phish took place at their Great American Music Hall show in San Francisco. Loving cup is one of many covers with an intricate guitar solo by Trey Anastasio, and it isn’t hard to see why it has been a favorite for years.
1. Funky B (Son Seals)
Phish covered Son Seals’ “Funky Bitch,” which he recorded for his 1978 album of the same name. Phish has played the song a total of 87 times, and it was last performed live on March 29th, 2015, at their show in Brooklyn, New York. This song is just one more example that proves that, despite being a jam band with their sound, Phish is all about paying tribute to the music that has come before them.
The band has covered many songs from other artist and their music as well. The covers allow them to explore each other’s’ music and create something new with it. Phish’s cover songs have been performed live since they first started performing back in the 1980s. They’ve covered songs from Led Zeppelin, Jay-Z, Talking Heads, and more. When you’re looking for some relaxing tunes from your favorite rockers with jamming potential, be sure to check out Phish’s live version of this song from their show in Manchester.