The Biggest One

From This Might Be A Wiki

song name The Biggest One
artist They Might Be Giants
releases (She Was A) Hotel Detective (EP), Don't Let's Start (Album), Miscellaneous T, Then: The Earlier Years
year 1988
first played December 31, 1989 (1 known performances)
run time 1:22
sung by John Flansburgh


  • "An unlikely song of self-pity" -- from the Then: The Earlier Years liner notes.
  • John Flansburgh discussed the coffee shop mentioned in this song (located at 441 Metropolitan Ave[1]) in a 2006 interview with Edible Brookyln[2]:
When I moved here twenty-two years ago the only restaurants were breakfast places for guys loading trucks at the beef slaughterhouses on North 6th and the few remaining heavy industries. My favorite was a truck stop called Doc’s Sugar Bowl, which was only open 4 am to 10 am. I don’t think there was a way to get a cup of coffee in the neighborhood after 10 am on this side of the BQE.
  • Flansburgh discussed the recording techniques used on this song on a 2023 Tumblr post:
That track was one of the first tracks we finished at Dubway with Al Houghton, and it was a big transitional moment in terms of how we tracked stuff. We did some limited “self-sampling” on Al’s very new Akai sampler—including sampling the marching band bass drum that I used in the show (that was also later on "Whistling In The Dark") and I SUSPECT there is an accordion sample as a chord pad, as well as a live accordion doing the lines there. I do have a track sheet somewhere, but listening those are my best guesses. The very real sounding drumsticks are actually programmed. The guitar is real but seems gated which makes it sound kind of impossible. It’s a very curious set of sounds!

Song Themes

Coffee, Drinks, Numbers, References To Other Songs Or Musicians, The Senses, Size, Temperature, Water


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The Biggest One is currently ranked #655 out of 910. (48 wikians have given it an average rating of 7.63)