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Crowdsourced Ranking of The Best and Worst Phish Songs

Everybody knows that Phish likes to jam. In fact, Phish is probably the only band whose fans go to a show hoping that the band plays as few songs as possible. Despite this, Phish still has an incredibly diverse catalogue spanning well over 200 songs with something that appeals to everyone. The eclectic song list ranges from 15 minute compositions to 3 minute pop songs, from bluegrass to blues and from weird to… weirder.

With such a broad catalogue and passionate fan base, I set out to discover which songs Phish fans loved and hated the most. Instead of asking Phish fans to rate each song individually, I created an online ranking system where fans simply picked their preference between two random phish songs enough times for the computer to generate a crowdsourced ranking. After 1000s of Phish fans voted on over 130,000 song matchups, I now have the definitive ranking list of every single Phish song by the Phish community.

The top 25 best Phish songs are:

  1. You Enjoy Myself (1986)
  2. Tweezer (1990)
  3. Reba (1989)
  4. Fluffhead (1984)
  5. Run Like An Antelope (1985)
  6. Mike’s Song (1985)
  7. Harry Hood (1985)
  8. Ghost (1997)
  9. Bathtub Gin (1989)
  10. Weekapaug Groove (1988)
  11. The Lizards (1988)
  12. Divided Sky (1987)
  13. Split Open and Melt (1989)
  14. Down With Disease (1993)
  15. Punch You In The Eye (1989)
  16. David Bowie (1986)
  17. Slave To The Traffic Light (1984)
  18. The Curtain With (1987)
  19. Chalkdust Torture (1991)
  20. Carini (1997)
  21. Sand (1999)
  22. Maze (1992)
  23. Tube (1990)
  24. Wolfman’s Brother (1994)
  25. Stash (1990)

None of this is entirely surprising as all of these songs are all quintessential Phish songs with a tendency to launch into huge jams. What I do find interesting is that with the exception of Ghost, the entire top ten was written while Phish was still playing in small bars. While most of the songs in the top 25 are complex composed pieces, Tweezer and Carini are simple songs loved not for their quality, but for their ability to springboard into unique and blistering jams.

What is surprising to me about the ranking is how little Phish fans care about any of the band’s latest songs. The highest ranking song from 3.0 is Steam, coming in at 89th place. This is closely followed by Martian Monster and Fuego at 94th and 97th place. The highest ranking of the ‘poppy” Phish songs are Waste (112), Bug (116), Dirt (121), If I could (124) and Bouncing Around The Room (129).

The lowest ranked song that has been played more than once is Summer of ’89 at 226th place. The lowest ranked Phish song currently in the rotation is The Line at 216th place and the lowest ranked Phish staple is Sparkle at 142nd place.

Here are all 228 Phish songs ranked from best to worst:

http://www.allourideas.org/rankingphish/results?all=true