Meaning of “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” by the Smiths

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is one of the Smiths’ songs with lyrics whose exact meanings have continued to elude the general public up till today. Upon the song’s release in the early 1980s, the tabloid press referred to its lyrics as lyrics that to a certain degree condone child abuse. But is this song really about child abuse? The answer to this question is no, at least according to Morrissey.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The Smiths's The Hand That Rocks the Cradle at

In a 1985 interview that Morrissey had with the Melody Maker, he was asked where the song The Hand That Rocks The Cradle came from. He responded to the question by saying the song came from a relationship he once had with someone which didn’t “involve romance”.

Morrissey on The Hand That Rocks The Cradle:

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Meaning

Meaning of the song The Hand That Rocks The Cradle by The Smiths.

Morrissey said the words above during an interview with a panel of writers chaired by the then editor of Melody Maker Allan Jones. The interview took place at Rough Trade’s office in London on 14th February, 1985.

Facts about the song

  • The Hand That Rocks The Cradle is the 5th track from The Smiths’ 1984 debut studio album titled The Smiths.
  • The track has a runs for approximately 4 minutes and 38 seconds.
  • Morrissey solely wrote the lyrics of the track whereas the track’s music was written by Johnny Marr.
  • The song has no relationship with the 1992 American thriller film titled The Hand That Rocks the Cradle starring Rebecca De Mornay and Annabella Sciorra.
  • The phrase “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” is a proverb which is often used to talk about how women have a very major influence in the world because they greatly influence the way in which children grow to become adults. As a result of this, women are said to possess the power to influence the direction of society by the way they raise their children. The expression is from the famous poem of the same name by American poet William Ross Wallace.

2 Responses

  1. Peter Zapryluk says:

    My favorite track from the album.

  1. June 25, 2017

    […] The Hand That Rocks the Cradle […]

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