Our Top 10 Fishbone Songs introduces us to a rock band whose style of music portrays a blend of a sense of humor, hyperactivity, and self-conscious diversity. Formed in Los Angeles in 1979, Fishbone has been an influential rock band known for fusing punk, metal, ska, funk, soul, and reggae music to make unique music. Brothers Phillip and John Fisher, drummer and bassist respectively, brought in guitarist Kendall Jones, keyboardist Christopher Dowd, and vocalists Angelo Moore and Walter A. Kibby II to form Fishbone. Thanks to sublime performances of their unique blend of music styles, the band saw its popularity grow to influence the trajectory of alternative rock. Fishbone performed in clubs where Columbia Records would later spot them in 1983. What would follow was the release of a single hit, “Party at Ground Zero,” which was closely followed by an eponymous EP.
Fishbone’s music career would bear international recognition later in 1988 after releasing their ska and funk album Truth and Soul. The success was majorly attributed to uncompromising social commentary on important social matters. Years that followed, Fishbone made a string of successful releases touring different arenas with the band Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band would later team up all its members, current and former, to make a documentary Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, back in 2010, which won multiple awards for Best Documentary. Despite the few lineup changes, the band has maintained its musical style and impression on the rock industry even years after their prime. Here are the top 10 Fishbone songs that have made the band one of the most distinctive alternative rock musicians from the late 80s.
#10 – Bonin’ in the Boneyard
Ushering us in the top 10 Fishbone songs, the ballad “Bonin’ in the Boneyard” from the band’s 1988 album Truth and Soul. “Bonin’ in the Boneyard” is about love and how euphoria can make you do things you could not imagine doing. Fishbone’s vocalist Angelo Moore would later in an interview describe the song as a ballad created out of the nasty things that people wish to do because of love, one of them being high school students chasing intimacy. Notably, Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were friends to Fishbone band members, capitalized on the greatness of “Bonin’ in the Boneyard” by using a snippet of the song for their hit “Good Time Boys.”
#9 – Swim
While “Swim” did not become one of the best Fishbone songs in America, the band received greatly by the United Kingdom fans. As a result, this heavy metal style ballad peaked at number 54 on the UK Singles Chart. Its music video features Fishbone band members performing in swimming gear in front of their fans frolicking in a pool. In addition, “Swim” is included as a soundtrack in the film Last Action Hero.
#8 – Unyielding Condition
Number 8 in our top 10 Fishbone songs is “Unyielding Condition” from the band’s 1983 album Give a Monkey a Brain, and He’ll Swear He’s the Centre of the Universe. The song blends some reggae and pop vibes to bring a truly unique tune that serves the vocalist Angelo Moore right. “Unyielding Condition” is a compilation of great instrumentals and sublime lyrics, all presented in an awe-inspiring comedy-like performance.
#7 – Fight the Youth
Written by the Fisher brothers and Kendall Jones, “Fight the Youth” is among the songs that made Fishbone’s 1991 album The Reality of My Surroundings quite a massive hit. The song’s opening chords serve your rock moods right just before the melody sets in. “Fight the Youth” is a song about stolen faith and tragic glory. Its delivery tries to balance hard-edged funk and hard rock vibes with a soft tune to serve the Angelo Moore vocals right.
#6 – When Problems Arise
“When Problems Arise” is among the few songs that have proved resilient to time and change still accorded as one of the great releases of Fishbone. Featured on the band’s album In Your Face, “When Problems Arise” is a groove-conscious ballad that possesses unmatched lyrical and melodic depth. Moreover, the song sent a notification to the funk-rock and ska-punk music lovers that Fishbone was here to impress and nothing less!
#5 – Party at Ground Zero
Performed and featured on the film The Tripper and Camp Nowhere, respectively, “Party at Ground Zero” is yet another hit worth mentioning in our top 10 Fishbone songs. The song’s title possesses some reference to a surface above or below a nuclear explosion site owing to the phrase ‘Ground Zero.’ When all of you wish to party on the beaches, and best nightclubs, rock and roll for Fishbone has to happen anywhere without worrying, even at places some would term depressing.
#4 – Servitude
We all have something that we worship, be it a being or a material thing. “Servitude” serves the theme of worship right, having it shun light upon a guy who allows himself to be pushed around by people he serves. In addition, the song questions the morals people uphold, especially those in the army. One of the most relatable lines in the song is ‘Will you die or continue to kill?’
#3 – Sunless Saturday
Featured on the band’s album The Reality of My Surroundings, “Sunless Saturday” is a powerful ballad that describes a planet filled with pestilence. The song serves as a perfect awareness hit to the reawakening of society’s consciousness. This is captured in the line that says that the sun will return when everyone visualizes the truth. Thanks to the thrashing guitar riffs and bass lines that the song possesses quite an infectious beat.
#2 – Ma and Pa
“Ma and Pa” was the highlight of the band’s 1988 album Truth and Soul and by far one of the most popular songs by Fishbone. The song was written by the band’s frontman Angelo Moore as inspired by his parent, who was going through a divorce. While the song might have quite a sad subject, the band didn’t lower their bar performing the song in their trademark party vibe.
#1 – Everyday Sunshine
The crème de la crème of Fishbone’s career is the hit “Everyday Sunshine” from the band’s 1991 album The Reality of My Surroundings. “Everyday Sunshine” is an uplifting song that envisages a world where beauty towers over greed and oppression that people have moved on from. Its ultra-merry beat helps call for a better place for human beings where we can all be happy without any worries. “Everyday Sunshine” happens to be the title of Fishbone’s iconic documentary.
Top 10 Fishbone Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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