Best of The B List: Nine Phish Song Title Swaps

[Originally Published: October 6, 2011]

On Saturday night at Higher Ground [2013 ed. note – this took place on October 1, 2011], Trey Anastasio and his solo band debuted a song written by Trey and Tom Marshall for which there’s been some confusion about the song title. At first, it was thought that the name of the song was Winter Queen before’s official recording labeled the track as Glacier. Yesterday, Glacier was renamed Winterqueen on bringing us back towards where we started [2013 ed. note – Surprisingly, Winterqueen/Glacier has yet to be performed a second time]

The reason we mentioned that anecdote is that sometimes Phish or Trey debuts a song with one name only to change the title later to something else. For this week’s B List, we look at nine cases where that happened. Keep in mind, we shied away from cases where wholesale changes were made to the song that led to the name change, such as Black Eyed Katy becoming Moma Dance and Taste becoming Fog That Surrounds (before becoming Taste again). With that in mind, let’s look at ten song title changes in Phish history (with lots of help from Song Histories)…

1. Knife -> My Friend, My Friend
2. In an Intensive Care Unit -> NICU

The first two entries on our list were debuted at the Portsmouth Music Hall at Phish’s first show of 1992 on March 6. At that performance, Phish debuted six (if you include the “fast” Rift) songs, some of which would go on to be released as part of the Rift LP one year later. Trey Anastasio mentioned the titles of most of the debuts that night and referred to what we now know as My Friend, My Friend and NICU as Knife and In an Intensive Care Unit respectively.

3. Windham Hell -> Faht

The Jon Fishman original Faht, which appeared on the album Picture of Nectar, was first known as Windham Hell. This sound effect-laden track had its title changed without Fish’s knowledge when the album came out.

The song history, written by Ellis Godard and Mark Toscano, explains…

Arguably a parody of new age music, Jon labeled the tune “Windham Hell,” alluding to new age distributor Windham Hill Records. Fish was on vacation as the Nectar liner notes were being scripted, and the other band members elected to resolve potential conflict (legal or otherwise) with Windham Hill by changing the song’s title. What to change it to? Well, in the November 1991 Phish Update newsletter, “Fish’s Forum” included a misspelling, whereby the intended mock-Southern phrase “raht tuh the front door” lost its reputed meaning when “raht” became “faht.” Fish was annoyed with this gaffe, and his band mates, ever trying to get Fish’s goat, decided to change “Windham Hell’s” title to “Faht,” claiming that Elektra had misspelled the title he had chosen.

4. Microdot -> Mike’s Song

Most tunes written at the beginning of Phish’s career were penned by Anastasio, so when bassist Mike Gordon brought a song to the band they simply called it “Mike Wrote That” or “Microdot.” Trey announced this original title from stage on October 17, 1985 and at some point shortly after that the title morphed to Mike’s Song. The rest, as they say, is history.

5. Minestrone -> Purple Hugh -> Minestrone -> Inlaw Josie Wales

And now the most interesting story on this list. Back at Trey Anastasio’s tour opener of his first solo tour in 1999, Big Red unveiled a new instrumental during his acoustic set. Trey mentioned he didn’t have a title and said he’d go with whatever name was assigned by the person who first posted that night’s setlist on the internet. Jesse Jarnow called in the first setlist that was posted on

“In the first set there was an untitled instrumental. Trey said that whomever posted the setlist first got to name it. In deference to aLi’s [McDowell] misreading of the word “instrumental” on my setlist, we hereby request that the tune be named “Minestrone“.”

The next night Trey dedicated the song to Jesse and Ali but told the crowd that he decided on the title Purple Hugh instead. A few shows later, Big Red told an Asheville crowd that he felt bad about not living up to his promise and wanted the name returned to Minestrone. Eventually, at a 2000 Carnegie Hall show, Anastasio renamed the song as The Inlaw Josie Wales and that title has stuck ever since.

6. Hall In Solace -> Paul and Silas

We couldn’t resist mentioning the tale behind Phish’s cover of the traditional song Paul and Silas on this list. When Phish first started covering the bluegrass song in 1990, they sung the tune as “Hall In Solace” having mistakenly thought that was the actual name of it. It took until 1992 for someone to correct the newbish band and they have been singing “Paul and Silas” ever since.

7. Dog Gone Dog -> Dog Log

This soundcheck favorite, and in-show rarity, was originally titled Dog Gone Dog on The White Tape. The name quickly shifted to Dog Log and its appeared on all official releases since The White Tape as such.

8. Bake and Boil -> Mountains In The Mist

Another tune debuted at Trey Anastasio’s tour opener of his first solo tour in 1999, Trey mentioned this song was called Bake and Boil that evening, but decided to change the name to Mountains In The Mist by the next show.

9. Trust Fund Baby -> Prep School Hippie

Known to be played only five times in concert between September 27, 1985 and December 6, 1986, Trey told a Burlington radio audience that this timely piece was called Trust Fund Baby. That name didn’t stick as the band’s notes moving forward (as per call it Prep School Hippie. Regardless, this is one we don’t expect to see hit a Phish stage anytime soon.

Those are the nine songs whose titles have changed while the tune itself has stayed the same that we’ve come up with. Got any more?

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21 Responses

  1. I love this B-List: good stuff!

    Should’ve rounded it off to Ten and included Shafty/Olivia’s Pool/ Oblivious Fool

    Love the Minestrone story and completely forgot about the Microdot anecdote, love this kind of stuff.

  2. Parker,

    As I mentioned, I was aiming for cases where the only thing that changed was the title – not the music – so that put Shafty out as well as a number of other possible entries. I spent a few hours researching and these nine were all I could come up with.

  3. I took a pic of Trey’s pedal layout at Higher Ground last saturday night, inadvertantly getting a pic of the setlist on his teleprompter. I rotated the pic to make out the songs a bit better, and you can clearly see “Winter Queen” was listed on the setlist. I was surprised when livephish called it Glacier, Winter Queen works better!

    check the last song on the right side of this setlist pic

  4. How can you forget “Roget”? Not to be confused with “Guy Forget” or “Roggae”, “Roget” was the original name of “Frankie Says” on early setlists from 4.2.98.

  5. To continue the trend of pointing out songs that were re-worked and renamed…

    Andre the Giant (Trey Song) –> Summer of ’89

  6. I was in school with Jesse at Oberlin when this all occured. What a trip it was to all of the sudden be a part of this….

  7. I’m pretty sure that Frankie Says had an alternate name at first, like “Roget AKA Relax”? And I think Roggae was originally called something else.

  8. Great read, thanks Scotty!

    Do you know which “Ali” that was that was with Jesse during the naming of Minestrone/Inlaw Josie??

  9. People, the article is about songs that got re-named that WEREN’T reworked. Reading comprehension’d. Cool article. didn’t know that about mikes song

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