The Smiths A-Z: "Hand in Glove"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member












Our next track in the Smiths A-Z project is this song, released as the band's debut single in May 1983 and reaching #124 on the UK singles chart. "Hand in Glove" was also included on The Smiths and Hatful of Hollow (released the following year), as well as being released as a single by Sandie Shaw in 1984 (that version reaching #27 on the UK singles chart).

The song was played live by the Smiths 170 times, and has been played by Morrissey 31 times - mostly in 2004 and 2014.

What do we think?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Never got the love for this song - for me it's one of their worst. Bland music with no real guitar hook to speak of, and the unconventially happy lyrics (at least until the last couple of lines) do nothing for me. It's not awful, just a thoughroughly average 5 out of 10. Charitabily, it's their first single, and everything after this was an improvement, lyrically, musically, and in terms of production.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
Never got the love for this song - for me it's one of their worst. Bland music with no real guitar hook to speak of, and the unconventially happy lyrics (at least until the last couple of lines) do nothing for me. It's not awful, just a thoughroughly average 5 out of 10. Charitabily, it's their first single, and everything after this was an improvement, lyrically, musically, and in terms of production.

I know what you mean, this would never be in my Smiths top 50 or anything. I love it because it was their first single but musically and lyrically it's nowhere near their best, in my view.
 

Watson

Well-Known Member
I know what you mean, this would never be in my Smiths top 50 or anything. I love it because it was their first single but musically and lyrically it's nowhere near their best, in my view.
I like the energy and the rawness (especially the TT version) but yes, it is possibly the worst single (rivalling Shakespeare's Sister). I can't put my finger on why it has never got under my skin like so many of the other songs...bizarrely, it wouldn't be out of place on YaretheQ...it has the same dirgey, wall of sound feel. It will always hold a place in my heart, just not on the iPod very often.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
It's a cracking song and one of the highlights from the first album. Morrissey's lyrics are very strong considering it was the debut single.

The Troy Tate version is rather ropey but with a proper mix it might not be so bad.

The Sandie Shaw single arrangement feels a little awkward to me and I prefer the two b-sides.


Just to show other viewpoints and not because they should be considered in any way definitive...

In the poll on this board this song ranked 18th from 73 of the group's songs.
In the poll on the Hoffman board this song ranked 8th from 73 of the group's songs.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
Johnny's recollection of the song's beginnings:

"That song came about when I was round my parents' house one Sunday evening. I started playing this riff on a crappy guitar I kept there. Angie - who's now my wife - was with me and she kept saying, 'That's really good!' I was panicking because I had nothing to record it on, so we decided to drive to Morrissey's, because he had a tape recorder. I sat in the back of the car playing the riff over and over so I wouldn't forget it. On the way, as is her want, Angie kept saying, 'Make it sound more like Iggy'. I was just hoping Morrissey would be in. Well, I knew he would be, he was always in. When we got there he was a bit taken aback, it hadn't been arranged and it was a Sunday night-unheard of! He let me in and I played the riff and he said, 'That's very good'. About five days later we were rehearsing and Morrissey wanted to play the song. When we heard the vocals to that we were all like, wow... From then on it was always going to be the first single."
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
I have huge affection for HIG because it's basically The Smiths manifesto and the sentiment behind it is so positive, hopeful and ambitious.

Bands are never this 'hungry' again once they've made it. This song started everything... here began all my dreams, etc. A song that has always been important to M for that reason. Very nice touch to add the photo of the sleeve onto the 'letter' as well - we have something they'll never have.
 
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Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
Buffy Sainte-Marie meeting Shelagh Delaney and possibly S.Shaw - helping form a song allegedly written in 2 hours can't be bad as an opening single.
Using the alleged cover star George O’Mara was a bold choice - there was nothing really comparable at the time by other bands that I recall.
All the hallmarks were already there for the shape of things to come re: design, packaging, artist involvement and here 'Steven' gets forcibly consigned to history via consistent credits after this release.
They definitely had a plan.
Kiss my shades indeed.
FWD.
 

Ketamine Sun

WATCH IT SUCKA! ; )
Buffy Sainte-Marie meeting Shelagh Delaney and possibly S.Shaw -

‘Your body like a searchlight
My poverty revealed
I would like to try your charity
Until you cry, "now you must try my greed" And everything depends upon How near you sleep to me’

-Take this longing, Leonard Cohen


‘Your body like a searchlight
In the prison of my need
Oh I would share your loneliness
And I demand your greed
And everything depends upon
How near you sleep to me’

-The Bells, Buffy Saint-Marie



helping form a song allegedly written in 2 hours can't be bad as an opening single.
Using the alleged cover star George O’Mara was a bold choice - there was nothing really comparable at the time by other bands that I recall.
All the hallmarks were already there for the shape of things to come re: design, packaging, artist involvement and here 'Steven' gets forcibly consigned to history via consistent credits after this release.
They definitely had a plan.
Kiss my shades indeed.
FWD.
 

Carlislebaz

Cock of the north
The pain and hurt in Moz vocals on this song is undeniably true.
Most people can relate to this song as we have all gone through it.

The haunting music adds the high
Drama as well.
The funny thing with this song is that it doesn’t make me sad at all.
 

SuedeMoz

Well-Known Member
An important song for The Smiths no doubt with very moving lyrics from Morrissey, but clearly a first single from which they would grow immensely. Perhaps not surprisingly it's the song they played most live. Appreciate this one for its significance more than I actually like it as a song, if that makes sense.
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
didn’t Angie write the music for this one ?


For the good life is out there somewhere So stay on my arm, you little charmer’
Wasn’t that the sentence that inspired some (idiots) to accuse the Smiths of singing about pedophelia?
The Smiths throwing down the gauntlet, and setting the standard
for what a pop song could be, should be! and no one’s come close.
Purely original, fuucking genius!
And wait, what? There’s still more to come?! You can’t be serious!



KISS MY SHADES


:cool:
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
No it is not like any other love, this one is different because it is us

It is definitely a fantastic statement to have in your first single.
Love Johnny’s harmonica at the end too.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Wasn’t that the sentence that inspired some (idiots) to accuse the Smiths of singing about pedophelia?
No, different song. That was "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle".
 

Ketamine Sun

WATCH IT SUCKA! ; )
Very true. I checked Goddard‘s Songs that saved your life, and it was the sleeve that caused a fuss.

Andy Rourke’s parents weren’t best pleased. The bassist said: “He said to me, ‘That’s a bloke’s bum’ and I said, ‘yeah’ but when he asked me why I just didn’t have an answer for him.”


:lbf:
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
Andy Rourke’s parents weren’t best pleased. The bassist said: “He said to me, ‘That’s a bloke’s bum’ and I said, ‘yeah’ but when he asked me why I just didn’t have an answer for him.”


:lbf:
This story just makes me wonder how Morrissey’s mother or father felt about their son’s sleeve art.
 
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