a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History

Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress

Vocals: Trey/Jeff Holdsworth

Original Artist: The Hollies

Original Album: Distant Light (1971)

Debut: 1983-12-02

Historian: Phil Nazzaro

"Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” was always considered by fans to be the first song Phish ever played before a live audience. But tapes of the ill-fated 12/2/83 Blackwood Convention show were also few, far between, of horrible quality, and unknown completeness. It seems ironic that such an All-American band like Phish would began their career with a British song. Yet, The Hollies had a long history of imitating songs from the States (see their all-Dylan album). And “Long Cool Woman” especially mirrors Americana with lyrical phrases like “Working for the F.B.I.” and “Bootlegging boozer.”

Exactly (well, almost) 15 years later, the band honored their own 15th anniversary (albeit on the wrong day) by playing “Long Cool Woman” on 10/30/98 in Las Vegas. Then at the 12/1/03 show in Albany, (this time a day before their 20th anniversary), Phish again chose to revive the song, this time during a surprise reunion with Jeff Holdsworth reprising his role as a vocalist and guitar player. Maybe at the 30-year mark the band will finally get the date right?

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