a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics Jamming Chart


Music/Lyrics: Anastasio, Marshall

Vocals: Trey (lead), Mike, Page (backing)

Albums: Rift, At the Roxy, Live Phish 01, Live Phish 17, Live Phish 18, Chicago '94, Amsterdam

Debut: 1990-05-24

Historian: Chris Bertolet (bertoletdown)

Last Update: 2016-03-08

Yet another one of Rift’s bitter musings on romance and commitment, “Horn” is the sad confession of a human doormat. Its weary narrator addresses the woman who’s turned his life inside out, smearing his good name, and strewing his earthly belongings to the winds. He knows she’s poison, but he can’t cut the strings. Such is love. He promises to pick her up at eight, as usual. “Listen for my horn.”

"Horn" – 2/16/03, Las Vegas, NV

While Trey pointed to “Horn” after its 5/24/90 debut as the kind of simple tune he’d been struggling to write, it’s hardly simplistic. His melancholy solo winds and curls through numerous, unusual harmonic changes before returning to the riff that begins the song, and in a wicked bit of musical legerdemain, the coda is actually a half step lower than the intro (E-flat vs. E). Some fans speculate that the two blaring chords in this book-ending phrase are meant to represent the car horn of title.

As “Horn” is devoid of improvisational space, it usually serves as a mood piece between first set jams. While versions are more or less interchangeable, be sure to visit the studio version from Rift, the 5/7/94 Bomb Factory version (LivePhish 18), or other classic shows in which it appears, such as 12/14/95 (LivePhish 01), 7/1/97 (Amsterdam box set), or more recently, 8/15/15 Merriweather.

"Horn" – 1/2/16, New York, NY. Video by LazyLightning55a.

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