a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History

Rock A William

Music: Phish

Lyrics: Fishman

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

Debut: 1997-02-13

Historian: Charles Franz

"Rock A William" features the inimitable Jon Fishman on guitar and lead vocals, Mike on piano, Trey on drums, and Page on bass. Sadly, it has made just five appearances, all in 1997.

“Rock A William” is a dark but comic song, purportedly based on a true story of a “very strange man” the band met in Colorado in 1987 while spending the night in a purple house and partaking of Bloody Marys and turkey ham.“ A loner just like Malachi from Children of the Corn,” William lives in a cabin in the hills and has purportedly hit a bear on the nose with a hammer. He appears at the purple house with the hammer in hand, where his sister is upstairs with Timber Ho. William grabs Timber Ho by the hair while his sister screams, but the others present – remembering the bear – fear to intervene. “We didn’t want to die!” The song ends inconclusively, with the hammer “held high,” before it dissolves into Fishman’s inspired guitar renderings and Mike’s piano outro. Check the 2/26/97 Stuttgart outing for a particularly good version.

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Recommended Versions: 1997-02-26

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CreatureoftheNight Reply
CreatureoftheNight They knew that he was different from the moment he was born
A loner just like Malaki from Children of the Corn
He always wore a hat and he always wore it right
And as he grew he became a creature of the night

He spent his nights alone on a cabin on a hill
Some folks don't believe it but I know he's up there still
I heard he whipped a bear, with a hammer on the nose
and you can hear them singing, everywhere he goes

oooooooooo Rock A William x4

The house was big and purple, we stayed there for the night
Bobby Whiteshoe showed up, his shoes were big and white
Uncle Donnie ate split peas uncooked straight from the can
Charline mixed bloody marys and we talked about the maaannn

We should've know when we saw Baby Huey on the pole
And heard that William's sister was upstairs with Timber Ho!
We though that it was funny as we ate the turkey ham
'til we saw Rock a William had his hammer in his hand

oooooooooo Rock A William x4

William walked into the room and grabbed him by the hair
We almost ran to help him 'til we thought about the bear
We heared her sister screaming as he raised his hammer high
When they asked us we blamed Whiteshoes cause we didn't wanna diiiieeee!

oooooooooo Rock A William

He raised his hammer high
We didn't want to die!

Score: 0
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