Give Us a Hand

If there’s one thing we learned from the Press’ recent H-Town 100 list, it’s that Houston has produced a lot of great songs. If there’s another thing we learned, it’s that lists – of anything, but since this is the music blog we’ll stick with songs – can sure draw a lot of comments very quickly.

That goes double if they’re songs about a specific thing, because you’re guaranteed to omit something that should have been smack-your-forehead obvious, and there’s always someone out there more than happy to point that out. So in honor of the fine folks at Hands Up Houston, whence I, um, “borrowed” this idea (someone posted an all-cat-songs playlist), I decided to see how many songs about hands I could come up with using just my memory and iTunes. All right, I may have peeked at allmusic.com at the end. But only a little.

Soundgarden, “Hands All Over” Traditional, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” Ludacris, “Hands Up” George Jones, “The Right Left Hand” Loretta Lynn, Lynn Anderson, Elvis Presley, “Put Your Hand in the Hand” Randy Travis, “On the Other Hand” String Cheese Incident, “Little Hands” Wilco, “Handshake Drugs” Interpol, “Slow Hands” Interpol, “Hands Away” The Black Lips, “Dirty Hands” Dwight Yoakam, “The Back of Your Hand” Elvis Costello & the Attractions, “Hand in Hand” The Judds, Holly Dunn, “Daddy’s Hands” Grease cast, “Hand Jive” Los Lobos, “Take My Hand” New Order, “Touched by the Hand of God” Okkervil River, “A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene” Okkervil River, “You Can’t Hold the Hand of a Rock & Roll Man” Beatles, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” Pavement, “Hands Off the Bayou” The Darkness, “Get Your Hands Off of My Woman” Alejandro Escovedo, “With These Hands” Waylon Jennings, “Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit’s Done Got Out of Hand” Rob Zombie, “Hands of Death (Burn Baby Burn)” Rodney Crowell, “Fate’s Right Hand” Smiths, “Hand in Glove” Tom Waits, “Clap Hands” Pointer Sisters, “Conway Twitty, Slow Hand” Sinead O’Connor, “I Want Your (Hands on Me)” Cypress Hill, “Hand on the Pump” Pink, “U + Ur Hand”

Nice list, sure, but somehow it didn’t feel like quite enough. What if, I thought, I made another pass through my iTunes (no outside help this time) and made a second list, this time of songs about all the things people do with their hands? That’s more like it.

AC/DC, “Love at First Feel” Al Green, “Call Me (Come Back Home)” The Band, “When I Paint My Masterpiece” Beastie Boys, “Pass the Mic” Beatles, “Drive My Car” Bettye LaVette, “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces” Billy Idol, “Dancing With Myself” Billy Joe Shaver, “Light a Candle for Me” Blur, “Coffee & TV” Bob Dylan, “Ring Them Bells” Boston, “Smokin’” Bryan Ferry, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” Creedence Clearwater Revival, “I Put a Spell on You” David Bowie, “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” Donna Summer, “Dim All the Lights” Donnas, “Smoke You Out” Dwight Yoakam, “Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose” Eddie Floyd, “Knock on Wood” Elvis Costello, “Every Day I Write the Book” Guided By Voices, “Smothered in Hugs” Ice Cube, “Pushin’ Weight” Jane’s Addiction, “Been Caught Stealing” Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, “Do You Wanna Touch Me? (Oh Yeah)” Journey, “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’” Lynyrd Skynyrd, “The Needle and the Spoon” Mission of Burma, “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver” Motley Crue, “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” Oasis, “Cigarettes and Alcohol” Pavement, “Cut Your Hair” Peter Gabriel, “Digging in the Dirt” Pixies, “Gouge Away” Police, “Wrapped Around Your Finger” Pretenders, “Back on the Chain Gang” Prince, “Feel U Up” Queens of the Stone Age, “Suture Up Your Future” Radiohead, “Knives Out” Rage Against the Machine, “Bullet in the Head” Ramones, “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue” Replacements, “Shooting Dirty Pool” Rolling Stones, “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” Sonic Youth, “Hot Wire My Heart” Spoon, “I Turn My Camera On” Stone Roses, “She Bangs the Drums” T. Rex, “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” Talking Heads, “Burning Down the House” U2, “I Threw a Brick through a Window” White Stripes, “The Hardest Button to Button”

All right. That’s enough. Now it’s your turn. – Chris Gray

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