"Hand In Glove"|
The song was written in January 1983. It was professionally recorded for the first time on 27 February 1983 at Strawberry Studios in Stockport. This recording was presented to Rough Trade's Geoff Travis and ended up being released as the band's debut single.
It was recorded again in July/August 1983 at London's Elephant Studios with producer Troy Tate in the sessions for the band's debut album, and once more when those sessions were shelved and John Porter took over and had most of that material re-recorded. These recordings remain unreleased as the band finally opted to include on their debut album a remixed version of the original single version.
Sandie Shaw's version of the song (in collaboration with the Smiths) was recorded in February 1984 at Matrix Studios in London, with producer John Porter.
The song has been performed live 177 times by the Smiths, perhaps up to 207 times when taking into account the number of unknown setlists from the early Smiths days. This makes it the most played song by the band. It was done 42 times in 1983 (perhaps even up to 64 times) before the release of the debut album. The reason why the song has been done so many times for only 45 concerts is that the band's debut single was often done twice in those early days, once in the set and again as the encore. This happened again in 1984 following the release of the debut album, but in a significantly smaller measure, and the song was done 67 times (perhaps even up to 73 times) for 65 concerts given that year. It was on the setlist almost every night on the 1985 Meat Is Murder tour, for a total of 47 performances (including the handful of 'loose' dates in early 1986). After the release of the Queen Is Dead album in the middle of 1986, it was performed another 21 times (perhaps even 23 times) before the end of the year, which means almost every night on the North American leg and the first British leg of the Queen Is Dead tour, but not on the second UK leg.
It has been performed live a further 31 times by Morrissey after the Smiths. It was on the setlist on the nine final dates of the 2002 tour with no name, and done five more times over the first few weeks of the 2004 You Are The Quarry tour. After a break of 10 years, it returned to the set on the 2014 tour when it was done 15 times out of 17 dates in the USA and twice more in Europe.
There are no officially released live recordings of this song from the Morrissey years, but bootleg recordings are circulated.
"This is to me the most special song that we've ever done. It was our first single, and of course for that reason it has great romantic value for me. But I think that it was a very special record, certainly in this country. To me, it still sounds like a record that really had to be made. I'm really so pleased that all the emotion and all the urgency comes right through. I've still not given up hope with it. I still hope that it will go further, and become somewhat of an anthem, at least in this country. Everywhere in fact."
"The only tragedy for The Smiths has been that 'Hand In Glove' didn't gain the attention it deserved. I won't rest until that song is in the heart of everything. It's been given another lifespan because it's been re-recorded for the L.P. But it should have been a massive hit. It was so URGENT - to me, it was a complete cry in every direction. It really was a landmark. There is every grain of emotion that has to be injected into all the songs and it worked perfectly with 'Hand In Glove'. It was as if these four people had to play that song - it was so essential. Those words had to be sung."
"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. (...) I was just hoping Morrissey would be in. (...) 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."
"Even I assumed that [Hand In Glove] was about [himself and Morrissey] when we did it, purely because we were the only people hanging out with each other at the time."
"For me it has to be 'Hand In Glove', the first single. Mainly because of the circumstances in which it was recorded. The remix on the first album I'm not quite too sure about but the actual single was such a joyous occasion for everybody that it still means more to me - and other members of the Smiths - than anything else we've done."
"I remember Johnny glowing with pride saying 'This is it! Just listen to this.' I was helplessly won over."
"I was at my parents’ house one Sunday evening, and my little brother had a guitar knocking about. I started to play some chords and quickly came up with this riff. I got very excited about it as I knew it was good. But I didn’t have anything to record it on, so my girlfriend Angie – who’s now my wife – ran around to her house and snuck her dad’s car out. I got in the car with my guitar, playing the riff over and over again so I wouldn’t forget it! We drove to Morrissey’s. I got there, and I’m holding this guitar outside his door in the rain, unannounced. “Oh, hello,” he says, “what have you got there?” I said: “A new song.” “Well, you’d better come in then.” So in I went, and Morrissey pulled out this tape recorder, and we recorded the music. Then I went home. He called me the next day and said, “That new song’s called Hand In Glove.” We would rehearse five nights a week in our manager’s clothing warehouse. The minute we started to play the new song, I knew we’d gone to a new place, because of the melody and the riff, and also because the words and music were an exuberant celebration of both our lives. Friendship [...] was what had changed in his and my life. We had met each other, were working together, and we were in love with each other, in the best possible way. And Hand In Glove came out of that. The words sound like the music, and the music sounds like the words – it’s a beautiful thing. [...] Hand In Glove was our anthem."