Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants

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Dial-A-Song: 20 Years of They Might Be Giants tmbg compilation cover
Dial-A-Song: 20 Years of They Might Be Giants
Collection by They Might Be Giants
First released September 17, 2002
Release details / collectors: Show | Hide
Tracks 52
Label Rhino <78139> Length 2:20:01
Back cover artwork

Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants is a 2002 two-disc compilation by They Might Be Giants, collecting songs from across the band's history. The compilation was released by Rhino, a division of Warner Music Group, with photography by Jeremy Wolff.


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From Rhino:

Dial-A-Song is the first and only collection to span They Might Be Giants' entire career. Compiled by the band's John Flansburgh, this two-disc anthology gathers 52 tracks from albums, EPs, singles, and soundtracks — including hits like 'Birdhouse In Your Soul' and 'Boss Of Me' (from TV's Malcolm In The Middle) — plus four previously unreleased tracks.

Millions have been introduced to the clever, eccentric pop of They Might Be Giants with 'Boss Of Me,' the band's theme song for the hit TV series Malcolm In The Middle. They Might Be Giants' colorful history actually stretches back more than two decades. Childhood friends John Flansburgh (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and John Linnell (vocals, accordion, sax, keyboards) , came up through the early-'80s New York performance scene, and founded Dial-A-Song, a novel means of exposing their original material (folks can call a number and hear songs played on an answering machine).

The Giants' eponymous 1986 debut and its follow-up, Lincoln, were both major hits on college radio and MTV, where their videos for 'Don't Let's Start' and 'Ana Ng' aired frequently. Their breakthrough album, Flood, went platinum with the international hits 'Birdhouse In Your Soul' and 'Istanbul (Not Constantinople)' In the mid-90s TMBG expanded to a full band and continued to record and tour extensively. The band released the critically acclaimed children's album No! earlier this year.

Flansburgh remarked about the compilation's title in a April 2002 newsletter, stating that virtually all of the songs featured began on the Dial-A-Song service, though actual Dial-A-Song recordings would not be featured. He teased the possibility of an actual Dial-A-Song compilation to be released on Idlewild Recordings but warned, "THAT set would have a much smaller audience, perhaps just y'all and us, and while it is being discussed as a specialty release for Idlewild, like our Battle of the bands project, breath-holding is not encouraged." Such a release never came to fruition.

Track listing[edit]

Disc one[edit]

# Title Length  Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 Birdhouse In Your Soul 3:20


2 Ana Ng 3:23


3 Don't Let's Start (Single Mix) 2:35


4 Boss Of Me 2:56


5 Older 1:56


6 Istanbul (Not Constantinople) 2:38


7 Doctor Worm 3:01


8 The Guitar 3:49


9 Dr. Evil 1:50


10 New York City 3:02


11 Particle Man 1:59


12 Cyclops Rock 2:42 
13 Minimum Wage 0:47


14 Man, It's So Loud In Here 3:59


15 We're The Replacements 1:50


16 Why Does The Sun Shine? (Live) 2:16


17 Your Racist Friend 2:54


18 Bangs 3:09


19 Snail Shell 3:20


20 Twisting 1:56


21 Another First Kiss 3:06


22 They'll Need A Crane 2:33


23 The Statue Got Me High 3:06


24 (She Was A) Hotel Detective (Single Mix) 2:20


25 Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head 2:12


26 I Palindrome I 2:22


Disc two[edit]

# Title Length  Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 She's An Angel 2:37


2 How Can I Sing Like A Girl? 4:32


3 James K. Polk 3:05


4 Meet James Ensor 1:33


5 Mammal 2:14


6 Pet Name 4:04


7 No! 1:30


8 I Can Hear You 1:57


9 Spider 0:50


10 I Should Be Allowed To Think 3:09


11 Fingertips 4:34


12 She's Actual Size (New Live Version) 7:18


13 Spy (Original Version) 2:30


14 Stormy Pinkness (Live In Berlin 1989) 2:21


15 Exquisite Dead Guy 2:02


16 Robot Parade (Adult Version) 1:05


17 Boat Of Car 1:15


18 S-E-X-X-Y 3:51


19 Number Three 1:27


20 The End Of The Tour 3:18


21 They Might Be Giants 2:45


22 Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had A Deal 3:48


23 Nightgown Of The Sullen Moon 1:59


24 Snowball In Hell 2:31


25 Purple Toupee 2:40


26 Cowtown 2:21



  • Dial-A-Song commercial: Watch it on Youtube.png
  • The press pack for Dial-A-Song came with:
    • a press release sheet, detailing why the compilation is great
    • a one-sheet black and white print of John & John's Forest and Skyscraper publicity photos
    • a sheet explaining how people take things from cars in New York City
  • This album was given a "classic" 5 out of 5 rating by Rolling Stone.
  • The booklet incorrectly claims that the version of "Spy" is a "New Live Version", though it is actually the 1993 version from Why Does The Sun Shine?.
  • The finger on the album cover is John Flansburgh's.[1]