Phish.net > Lyrics Index

Want to name a pet something besides Tela? Can't recall which song mentions Aquitana or Elihu? Remember which nine Phish songs mention birds? Now, and once again, you can. Originally published in the second edition of The Phish Companion, extended with input from forum regulars in an earlier (c.2012-2015) version, and now thoroughly rebuilt from the ground up, the Lyrics Index is back!

This is a selective topical index of the lyrics to 253 Phish originals1 – 26,835 words2, indexed in 2,390 references3 (1,214 entered so far - 1,176 OTW!), organized in 51 topical categories4, some more selective than othes5. The included references follow this logic:

  • A single index entry typically refers to multiple forms of the root, such as
    • "party" for "partying" and "parties", or
    • "circle" for "circled" and "circular."

  • Some specific instances of a word are indexed in more than one place, such as
  • Different instances of the same word may be indexed differently based on contextual meaning, such as
  • Summarily, for example, "fly" covers "flying" and "flew", but not "flyers" (Tools) or "flies" (Animals) - and the "to" in "to fly" is not indexed at all, while "flying mockingbird" is indexed three different ways. (Can you find them all?)

The index excludes lyrics based on this set of logic:

  1. Songs: We acknowledge 1024 song titles at Phish.net, of which 48 are aliases. Of the 976 unique songs, 626 (64%) are covers. (The index excludes songs performed only by side projects, though does include, for example, Army of One, written for and first performed by Vida Blue but later performed by Phish.) Of the 338 unique originals, 71 (20%) are instrumental, 12 (3%) have lyrics by someone else (such as the Disney samples, or Jon Popper on "Don't Get My Wrong"), and 13 (4%) are excluded for other reasons, leaving 253 songs indexed here.
     
  2. Words: In those 253 songs, there are 38,980 total words, 4,773 unique words, and 3,713 roots after pluralization and verb tenses are removed. That includes some version of many words that would be neither interesting nor practical to index, including 20 pronouns (appearing 4,461 times), 17 conjunctions (1,858 times), 11 prepositions (833 times), 8 definite or indefinite articles (3,730 times), 9 forms of "to be" (1,210 times), 16 words (such as Rouge in Baton Rouge) treated in compound with another (53 total), and 21 words (such as 'to' in an infinitive) skipped for other miscellaneous reasons (1,629 total). Those 102 words appear a combined 12,145 times in some form (not including indexed instances, such as of "about" and "with"; see above), 31% of the full 38,980 words of original lyrics.
     
  3. References: Removing those 102 words from the 3,713 roots leaves 3,611 identified references, of which 1,996 appear in only one song, 550 appear in two, and 1,065 appear in three or more. Of those, 1,221 fall below a specified threshold, leaving 2,390 indexed references to, including duplicate references, 40,218 total entries.
     
  4. Categories range from tshirt-friendly basics to arcane grammatical hair-splitting:
  5. Some categories are exhaustive - such as Animals, Colors, Names, Numbers, and Proper Places - including all potential entries even if only in one song. Some are selective based on frequency - such as Miscellaneous Verbs, indexed only if they appear in at least five songs. The list of categories itself is also not exhaustive (we could, for example, add a category for Education?) - and for some entries in some categories (such as Groups and Amounts, or Mind and Logic), we're definitely splitting hairs.

Only a fraction of Phish lyrics have been officially published, and there are variations in the performance, interpretation, and transcription of others. We thus welcome your feedback, and look forward to future updates.

Section Count
Amounts 28
Animals 83
Body 16
Buildings 6
Characters 80
Clothes 2
Colors 21
Combat 1
Containers 21
Directions 35
Dishes 13
Drugs 11
Emotions 12
Events 35
Exclamations 25
Family 20
Food 108
Foreign 11
Furniture 1
Geometry 4
Groups 1
Illness 41
Literature 3
Logic 15
Made-up 24
Materials 6
Mind 8
Misc-adjectives 10
Misc-nouns 1
Misc-verbs 28
Music 53
Names 145
Nature 14
Numbers 43
Places 10
Proper-places 36
Religion 31
Size 22
Sounds 11
Time 38
Tools 1
Toys 10
Travel 26
Vehicle-parts 13
Vehicles 28
Vision 14
Water 49
Wealth 8


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