“Hand in Glove” by The Smiths

“Hand in Glove” reads sorta like a touching love song, until you get to the end. For example, the titular metaphor, which the vocalist uses to describe his relationship with the addressee, is one pointing to the two parties involved being extremely close to one another, like a “hand in glove”.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The Smiths's Hand in Glove at Lyrics.org.
“Hand in glove
The sun shines out of our behinds
No, it’s not like any other love
This one is different, because it’s us
Hand in glove
We can go wherever we please
And everything depends upon
How near you stand to me”

It’s not until you get midway through the third verse, which is the final passage of the song, that we’re made privy to their being trouble in paradise, in a manner of speaking. That is to say that despite the vocalist being thoroughly smitten and everything appearing all gravy in this relationship from a commitment standpoint, he still seems convinced that his significant other will leave him. 

As implied, this is in part due to Morrissey perceiving her as a “little charmer”. But more blatantly illustrated is the vocalist concluding that he’s cursed with bad luck, such that the addressee will inevitably bounce. In other words, he feels as if he is not entitled to such a strong love.

The Smiths talk about “Hand in Glove”

According to Morrissey himself (in an interview with Star Hits magazine), “Hand in Glove” is a song that has a theme of “complete loneliness”.

In a 2013 interview that Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr had with NME, he said of the song as one that deals “love and friendship”. Marr also once told biographer Simon Goddard that he felt the lyrics of “Hand in Glove” were about the strong friendship that he and Smiths singer Morrissey shared.

According to Morrissey, the second verse of the song, where he sings that despite being “hidden by rags”, he and his friend or lover had something the others “would never have”, is about his life. The singer said the line was about how he felt when he didn’t have money to buy good clothes and had “to dress in rags” and yet never felt “mentally impoverished”.

Favorite Line From “Hand in Glove”

Here is my favorite line from the song: “If they dare touch a hair on your head I’ll fight to the last breath”.

When was “Hand in Glove” released?

The Smiths officially released this song on May 13th, 1983. It holds the distinction of being the very first single that The Smiths released.


Morrissey wrote “Hand in Glove” alongside Johnny Marr. The pair wrote the song in January of 1983.

According to Morrissey, upon receiving the music of “Hand in Glove” from Marr, he wrote the lyrics in just two hours despite knowing that the song was going to be the first recorded work of The Smiths.

The song’s production was handled by The Smiths themselves.

The cost of producing “Hand in Glove” was £250. The recording was funded by the band’s manager Joe Moss.

The song’s title was gotten from the 1962 novel Hand in Glove by the famous New Zealand crime writer Ngaio Marsh.

More Interesting Facts!

The song performed very well on the UK Indie Chart, where it peaked at the 3rd position.

The famous harmonica on the song was played by Johnny Marr.

The cover of the song, which features a nude photograph of the backside of George O’Mara caused public outrage – something Morrissey was hoping to achieve with the controversial cover. According to The Smiths’ bassist Rourke, his parents were shocked when they saw the cover, and when his father asked him why they decided to feature a “bloke’s bum” on the cover of the single, he was speechless.

Despite being unable to make it into the UK Singles Chart, “Hand in Glove” went on to become one of The Smiths’ most successful songs ever recorded. The song was responsible for propelling The Smiths into the limelight.

The Smiths never made a music video for the song.

The famous line “I’ll probably never see you again” from the song was taken from the famous play A Taste of Honey by British dramatist and screenwriter Shelagh Delaney, whom Morrissey admired so much. He went on to write the song “Sheila Take a Bow” about her.

The line from the song in which Morrissey sings “everything depends upon how near you stand next to me“, was taken from singer Leonard Cohen’s 1974 song titled “Take This Longing”.

Sandie Shaw enters the Picture!

In April 1984, singer Sandie Shaw recorded a cover version of “Hand in Glove”. Shaw’s version made it into the UK Singles Chart, reaching the 27th position.

Few weeks after Shaw’s version of the song was released, Smiths members Mike Joyce, Andy Rourke and Johnny Marr performed the song with Shaw on Top of the Pops. Morrissey did not join them but danced with some other dancers in the background.

During the said performance, none of the members of the band with the exception of Sandie wore shoes. This was a reference to Sandie’s trademark way of performing songs live barefooted.

5 Responses

  1. thomas says:

    this song is about a gay relationship you guys are wrong

  2. jas says:

    gay gay homosexual gay !

  1. June 25, 2017

    […] Hand in Glove […]

  2. July 8, 2017

    […] personal experience of not having clothes to wear. He talked about this same subject in the single Hand in Glove, which came out some months before This Charming Man was released.  The song is one of a number of […]

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