What is Phish's big hit single?
If all you listen to is commercial radio, you've never heard a Phish song. The band's enduring cult status begins with its jam-band musical style, ideal for live performances. A three-minute pop song can transform into a free-form exploration of a never-ending groove, or it can go down a rabbit hole of complex, proggy instrumentation. The lyrics can be nonsense, fraught with puns, or a burst of earnest words about hippie peace and love. There are no rules at a Phish show.
Most of Phish's songs, in recorded form, are a typical four minutes. They have a melody, they have a chorus, just like any other rock song. On stage, any one of these tunes can get cracked open and transformed into an 18-minute composition. That can mean stretching out a long guitar solo, a quiet build that inspires a call and response from the audience ("wooo!"), creating entire new themes on the fly (that are never heard from again), or hitting an apogee and triumphantly returning to the original melody. It isn't that different from what classic jazz artists started doing in the bebop years, but with a unique mix of deep rhythmic funk and a swirl of psychedelic ax-manship. And it doesn't let up.