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Billy Breathes

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Audio CD, October 15, 1996
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Free 3:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Character Zero 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Waste 4:49$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Taste 4:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Cars Trucks Buses 2:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Talk 3:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Theme From The Bottom 6:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Train Song 2:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Bliss 2:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Billy Breathes 5:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Swept Away 1:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Steep 1:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Prince Caspian 5:19$0.99  Buy MP3 

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When the four members of Phish talk about getting back together after spending almost five years apart, the same words keep coming up—“gratitude,” “appreciation,” “inspiring.” There’s an almost tangible sense of relief that surrounds this reunion of one of the most popular touring bands in history, and that same feeling of fulfillment comes ... Read more in Amazon's Phish Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 15, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra
  • ASIN: B000002HNP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,274 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description


You're either a believer or you're not when it comes to this hugely popular live band. Well, the lines get blurred here, just as they did a quarter century ago on the Grateful Dead's American Beauty. As he did with the Dave Matthews Band, producer Steve Lillywhite puts a crisp stamp on 13 likable, easy-going songs and instrumentals. --Jeff Bateman

Customer Reviews

There is a lot of good guitar and piano work, creative song developments, and some very catchy chorus.
Big Erik
It's the type of CD that you can listen to on a long road trip and at the same time, it's the type of CD you can listen to when you just want to hear some great music.
It's just different from what most people were expecting (and thumbs up to the band for not being complacent...change is good!)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By David W. Madeira on June 18, 2004
Format: Audio CD
With the end of the last of the great live rock bands coming near, and taking the studio albums that have spanned Phish's entire career into account, this album remains the band's best by far. From a standpoint that considers composition, performance, production, and general album aesthetic flow, this record is simply unparalleled.
Those who would ignorantly dismiss Phish as a stereotypical "jam band" would do well to educate themselves with a thorough listen to "Billy Breathes." I'm not saying Phish isn't a jam band--indeed, they are THE jam band--but Phish completely transcends the negative stereotype of the genre, especially in "Billy Breathes." From the beginning to the end, this record shows the band's wide range of abilities: from full out rocking solos to perfectly-articulated, through-composed, rhythmically and melodically sound compositions. It is this balance of so many areas that makes Phish as great as they are.
The album opens with two songs that are now staple goods in live Phish shows, two of the band's many signature rock anthems, "Free" and "Character Zero." These songs draw you in and show the band's ability to rock, and "Waste," a semi-charged anthem carries the flow of the album from the rock into the rolling melodic style of the rest of the album.
"Taste" is one of the greatest and most underappreciated songs in Phish's repertoire, probably because of the difficulty it presents in a live atmosphere. This studio cut, however, is nothing less than phenomenal. The song opens with the guitar and piano in a fast 6/8 feel juxtaposed over a duple-meter 2/4 feel by Fishman on the cowbell.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "jovaldo" on April 4, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Kudos to Phish for once again stepping out, doing what they want to do, making the album they want to make (and isn't that the reason we all love them so much!)
I saw my first Phish show many, many years ago in front of less than 1,000 people (evidence that I'm not a newbie...and why do some Phish fans get snobby about new fans?) So I remember the club days, the wild experimental days...and I can honestly say, I don't think this album is out of line. Phish is all about changing, evolving, testing the limits (and their own limits), etc. This is a change for them...a test of sorts.
If you look at wonderful past albums like "Junta," "Rift," "Lawnboy," "Picture of Nectar" we see the band trying to "re-create" jams in the studio, which somewhat worked. Here though, the band has crafted true songs, that in some ways are actually more open to being experimented with.
Sure, songs like "Talk," "Train Song," & "Waste" will be performed live pretty much like they are on album, but songs like "Taste," "Free," "Theme From the Bottom," & "Character Zero" have opened up into monstrous live jams that can be extremely unpredictable (see the version of "Taste" on "Slip, Stitch & Pass" or find a tape of the 35-40 minute version "Free" performed a few years ago.)
The band is to be praised not only for the fact that they tried something new (a cohesive set of songs that wouldn't be "live" studio takes), but because they tried it & it worked! (And no "Hoist" doesn't qualify for the above had some great songs, but wasn't at all cohesive.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Leigh Fitzpatrick on February 20, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Some guy below said that people who gave this album 5 stars had probably never seen them live. Give me a break! "Billy Breathes" has been a fixture in my cd rotation since I first bought it. I finally saw the band in 1999 and, if anything, I listened to this cd even more. When I heard 'Prince Caspian' live the show could have ended right there (though I'm glad it didn't). The studio version captures the spirit of the live version, though it is shorter. Is there a better song out there? The whole cd is fun and gentle and dreamy.

People say that you should let this cd be your entre to Phish. Others say try something else. I say that everyone responds to the songs and albums in different ways and that you should sample a bit of everything. For me, this cd was a great introduction to the band. I listen to it constantly and never get bored. That's as much praise as I can give a cd!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David M. Juhl on July 16, 2004
Format: Audio CD
In the Fall of 1998 a Seminary classmate was playing a CD in his car. I loved the music. I asked what the CD was. He said "Billy Breathes" by Phish.
Phish? I hated "Hoist" when I heard it 4 years earlier. How can this be?
So I asked to borrow his copy of "Billy". The rest is history.
From start to finish this is their best record and in my top 10 all time favorite albums.
"Free" conjures memories of leaving a place I'd lived for a year that I didn't care for.
"Planes, Trucks, Buses" sounds like a Volkswagen commercial from the late 1990's.
"Theme from the Bottom" is pure majesty.
The absolute highlight of the record is what I call the "Billy Breathes Suite". The last 15 minutes of this album MUST be taken as a whole...much like the 2nd side of "Abbey Road" by The Beatles. Though it's several songs that crossfade I see it as one whole work. The title track is perhaps the best thing the group has ever done. "Prince Caspian" is the perfect way to end the record.
Someone once wrote that "Billy Breathes" is actually a concept record. I'd somewhat agree. I can't listen to just one song from it because I'd miss part of the whole. This album makes you think. And it makes you rock. It's deep, wide, and deliriously enjoyable.
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