"Hand In Glove"
May 1983


Hand In Glove
Handsome Devil (live Manchester Hacienda 4/2/83)

UK 7" [Rough Trade RT131]
UK 7" [Rhino UK RHN131; 2008 reissue]


Additional information:
The 2008 reissue of the 7" single by Rhino UK was also included in the "Smiths Singles box" which compiled the band's first 10 UK singles (plus two bonuses). On each of the five weeks leading to the release of the latter box, two singles from it were put up for sale individually. Collectors could therefore buy two single reissues every week, or wait at the end of the programme to get all of them in the box, alongside the two bonus 7"s.


Artwork information:
The cover image of model George O'Mara, photographed by Jim French, was lifted from Margaret Walter's 1978 book "The Nude Male". According to French the photo was taken at a hotel in San Francisco. It probably dates back to the late 1960s or early 1970s. The photo has been at various times miscredited as having been taken by Leo Ford or Lou Thomas from Target Studio. What appears to be a mole is actually a stain as it didn't appear on the original photograph.
This is the only UK single to feature the song title on the cover.
The artwork was reused in 1984 for the German "Still Ill" 12" single.


Etchings on vinyl:
"Kiss my shades" are words taken from the title song. The a-side etching was provided by Morrissey while the b-side one was provided by Johnny Marr.


Additional release date information:
UK 2008 reissue: 10 November 2008


Chart peak information:
UK: 124
(charted after "This Charming Man")


The original 1983 pressing of the single was promoted via stock copies of the 7" with a plugger info sticker on the back. As for many more Smiths singles to come, the plugger is Scott Piering's 'Appearing' media services. By 1984, after the band had gotten bigger and more copies had to be pressed, white labels copies of the 7" with distributed with a press release. At least two versions of these exist: one stamped 18 April 1984 and the other stamped 1 Jun 1984. The two songs from the single were included on a Rough Trade promo cassette sent to certain media. The cassette also featured music by bands Zerra 1 and Influence.



"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."
- Morrissey, asked about his favourite song (source unknown)

"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."
- Morrissey, Jamming, 1984

"It was to be our first record and it was important to me that there'd be something searingly poetic in it, in a lyrical sense, and yet jubilant at the same time. Being searingly poetic and jubilant was, I always thought, quite difficult because they're two extreme emotions and I wanted to blend them together."
- Morrissey, Star Hits, 1985

"The original 'Hand In Glove' was financed by The Smiths... representative... Joe Moss, and took a day in - where else - Strawberry Studios... one day in Stockport to enliven history. I re-did the vocal a week later, if only to make a point of starting as stroppily as I intended to continue. The next day we took the train to London, to Rough Trade at the old Blenheim Crescent place. We waited for hours to then be told that Geoff (Travis) couldn't see us, so Johnny said, "Who is Geoff Travis?" and someone pointed to a looming figure swarming down a corridor and Johnny raced after him and forced him to listen. Two hours later the record was cut."
- Morrissey, The Catalogue, 1988

"When we did 'Hand In Glove', that was brilliant because it was a fantastic piece of vinyl."
- Johnny Marr, NME, 24 June 1989

"'Hand In Glove' was done for f250, because the other side was 'Handsome Devil,' which was live from the Hacienda, straight off the desk. Off, by the way, what was only the third gig we'd played."
- Joe Moss, Q, January 1994

"Like Morrissey, I feel that my life was leading up to 'Hand In Glove,' and from then on things began to happen. My life began. That record set the standard. When Johnny played me their first demo tape, I thought it was the best thing I'd ever heard, both musically and lyrically. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and too good to miss, so I leapt at it as quickly as possible."
- Mike Joyce, Record Mirror, 8 September 1984

"I remember Johnny glowing with pride saying 'This is it! Just listen to this.' I was helplessly won over."
- Rough Trade's Geoff Travis on being forced to listen to the demo of 'Hand In Glove', The Face, May 1985

(On the recording of this debut single) "[The studio engineer] was very, very difficult and narky, and made us feel like we were an inconvenience, which is somewhat annoying because even now he tells everyone how he helped us birth our sound. Morrissey went back and re-recorded his vocal to the song a week later, which was very smart and showed how on our game we were. Most bands who just start out are just so happy to have a cassette with their tune on it. But to know it wasn’t quite right and go back to re-do it shows a degree of perfectionism. From the first recording to the last, I’m still like that now. I just turned up unannounced [at the London offices of indie label Rough Trade Records] and said, “I’ve got this song for (label boss) Geoff Travis.” I got the old, “Is he expecting you? No, he’s not around. You’ll have to come back next week.” I was kicked out and stood outside for ten minutes, when I noticed this car go back and forwards full of boxes of records. So I walked around the back of the building and there was a loading bay open, with a couple of hippies loading records into this car. I climbed into the loading bay and pretended I was working, and got into the building that way. I found my way to Geoff’s office. He looked really busy. I hung around until he was on his own. Then I made a break for it, and just at that point he came out of his office. I just grabbed him and said, “Hey Geoff, uh, hi, my name’s Johnny. I’m in a band from Manchester and you won’t have heard anything like this...” That’s what just came out! Anyway, he was pretty gracious, gave me the brush-off – but he took the tape."
- Johnny, dailymail.co.uk, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the release of debut single "Hand In Glove"



"Uh-oh, love comes to town. The debut affair of the year, and no mistake."
- Dylan Jones, i-D, October 1987

"'Hand in glove/the sun shines out of our behinds...' Boom! The Smiths can't wait... in the very first line of their debut they spell it out, announcing their indestructable self-belief and irresistible intent with an audacity unheard since 'I am an An-ar-chist' howled outta the opening rumble of 'Anarchy...'"
- Danny Kelly, New Musical Express, 8 August 1987

"The pivotal line of 'Hand In Glove' is 'The sun shines out of our behinds.' That, plus a picture sleeve of a male derriere, is a heck of a way to lead off a debut 45. Further, Sounds and the British daily The Sun decided that 'Handsome Devil' is about molesting young boys - a claim not borne out by lines like 'let me put my hand on your mammary gland'. Both sides, though, are punchy numbers of great promise."
- Trouser Press

"The Smiths ride up 'Hand In Glove' to knock me from my own gallows. With a paucity of effects they seem to piece the cool of a Julian Cope/Teardrops sensitivity with a certain vigour that only us young ones can adopt. Morrissey's voice invocations just rise above the fuzz of treble. Truly a new Bunnyman."
- David Dorrell, New Musical Express, 11 June 1983