Sublime – Badfish


Badfish” is a song by American ska-punk band Sublime, released as part of their 1992 debut album, 40oz. to Freedom. The single was released in 1993, and again in 1997. The song was written by Bradley Nowell and originally recorded in 1989, reportedly influenced by The Ziggens song “All the fun that we missed” and Nowell’s love of reggae. First released on the band’s 1991 demo tape, Jah Won’t Pay the Bills, “Badfish” appeared again on most of the band’s compilation albums. An extended play (EP) was released in 1995 named after the track.

The song resonated with the band’s hometown of Long Beach, California (LBC), with familiar lyrics about the struggle of being in the working class, and utilizing local landmarks in the audio and video recordings. The track serves as an after-the-fact reminder of Nowell’s struggle with heroin, and was reportedly informed by the slang term “Badfish” and his struggle to resist trying the drug.

MTV and radio stations refused to play the song prior to Nowell’s tragic overdose in 1996, but “Badfish” later became one of the band’s most popular songs, and is one of the few beloved by Sublime’s critics.

tribute bandBadfish, is named after the song.