Hands All Over
Song Of The Month, October 1996

The third installation in the Song Of The Month series is "Hands All Over," the second track on Soundgarden's 1989 LP, Louder Than Love. Enjoy...

The Song
"Hands All Over" first appeared on the promo-only prerelease picture disc version of Louder Than Love on July 12, 1989. It was of course part of the regular release of the record as well, on September 5 of the same year. It was subsequently re-released several times as a single during 1989 and 1990, including a 7" picture disc in Australia and a 10" with a fold-out cover in the UK (the four group photos at the top of this page behind the words "Hands All Over" are taken from the 10" cover).

The song is a collaborative effort between singer and guitarist; Chris Cornell takes the credit for the lyrics, while Kim Thayil takes the credit for the music, much like it's Louder Than Love counterpart, "Get On The Snake." "Hands All Over" is the longest song on the album, clocking in at exactly 6 minutes.

In the May 1994 issue of Guitar School, Thayil says, "What I liked about the song was that it was just one simple riff -- one note, one chord -- but with a lot of dynamics. In some ways it's simple and basic; in other ways, it's very sophisticated in how it was layered. We don't really have many songs that are like 'Hands All Over.'" The song caused instant controversy because of the line "you're gonna kill your mother," which has been explained by the band as being about Mother Earth.

There was a video made for "Hands All Over," one of only two that came out of the Louder Than Love era (the other was for "Loud Love"). Both can be found on the Louder Than Live home video, though according to Thayil, "The video for that song was one of the lamest ever made. It really sucked." You can decide for yourself by downloading the video clip by clicking on the little video icon below. The images to the left of this text are all taken from the video; clicking on each one will retrieve a larger version.

[VIDEO] "Hands All Over" [MPG: 320x240, 64s, 6.15MB]

If you'd like to hear a clip of the studio version of "Hands All Over," one is provided below, but it wouldn't be a Song Of The Month if it weren't worth your money to go and buy the whole thing on CD.

AUDIO "Hands All Over" [MP3]

And we aim to please (sort of), so below are three full-length performance clips of "Hands All Over." Please note: these are no substitute for seeing Soundgarden live, though the song seems to no longer be part of the band's set lists, so bootlegs may be your only chance to hear them do it. I hope to add RealAudio 3.0 versions of these clips by early next week to save download time, as the files are quite large. For now, they're all AUs (8 bit, mono, 22kHz). The Boston performance is from This Is Boston, Not Seattle and the Deinze performance is from Violently Happy.

AUDIO Boston, MA, January 1990 [AU: 6m42s, 8.86MB]
AUDIO Deinze, Belgium, 1994 [AU: 6m22s, 8.43MB]
AUDIO Barrie, Ontario, 6 August 1994 [AU: 5m34s, 7.36MB]


Hands all over the Eastern border
You know what? I think we're falling
From composure
Hands all over Western culture
Ruffling feathers and turning eagles into vultures

Got my arms around baby brother
Put your hands away
You're gonna kill your mother, kill your mother
And I love her

Hands all over the coastal waters
The crew men thank her
Then lay down their oily blanket
Hands all over the inland forest
In a striking motion trees fall down
Like dying soldiers

Hands all over the peasant's daughter
She's our bride
She'll never make it out alive
Hands all over the words I utter
Change them into what you want to
Like balls of clay
Put your hands away
You're gonna kill your mother
And I love her

Authorized Releases

  • Louder Than Love, A&M, 09/05/89

  • "Hands All Over"/"Come Together" promo 12"/CD, A&M, 11/21/89

  • "Hands All Over" Australian picture 7"/US promo cassette, A&M, 1990

  • "Hands All Over"/"Big Bottom" (live) Australian 7", A&M, 1990

  • "Hands All Over"/"Come Together"/"Heretic"/"Big Dumb Sex" UK gatefold 10"/CD, A&M, 1990

  • This Is Not The Age Of Aquarius promo CD, A&M, 1990

  • Loudest Love Japanese CD, A&M, October 1990

  • Foreshocks promo CD, A&M, 06/28/94

  • Soundgarden On Tour promo CD, A&M, 1995

Unauthorized Releases
There are just too many to list, so head on over to Steve Russell Jr.'s superb Soundgarden bootleg discography (with the new and improved list of cassette boots) and take a look.

Couldn't have done this month's Song Of The Month without the help of Geoff Kleemola (video clip and captures), Ilfryn Carstairs, Justin Nicholls, Steve Russell Jr., and Deb Servey.