"Hand In Glove"


The song was written in January 1983. It was professionally recorded for the first time on 27 February 1983 at Strawberry Studios in Stockport. This recording was presented to Rough Trade's Geoff Travis and ended up being released as the band's debut single.

It was recorded again in July/August 1983 at London's Elephant Studios with producer Troy Tate in the sessions for the band's debut album, and once more when those sessions were shelved and John Porter took over and had most of that material re-recorded. These recordings remain unreleased as the band finally opted to include on their debut album a remixed version of the original single version.

Sandie Shaw's version of the song (in collaboration with the Smiths) was recorded in February 1984 at Matrix Studios in London, with producer John Porter.


single version {3:12}
• 7" single of "Hand In Glove"
"Hatful Of Hollow" album
"Louder Than Bombs" album
• Australia "The World Won't Listen" double LP and double cassette
• 7" and cassingle re-release of "How Soon Is Now?"
"The Sound Of The Smiths" [remastered 2008]
album version, aka single version remixed by John Porter {3:23}
"The Smiths" (debut album)
"Best...I" album
"Singles" album
"The Very Best Of The Smiths" [remastered 2001]
Sandie Shaw version {2:59}
"Hand In Glove" single by Sandie Shaw", all formats
• Sandie Shaw's "Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken" 12" single
• UK cd-single#2 reissue of "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"
• Sandie Shaw's "Hello Angel" album reissue
• Sandie Shaw's "The Very Best Of Sandie Shaw" album
Sandie Shaw version, alternate mix {2:59}
• Tokuma Japan edition of the "The Smiths" debut album
Sandie Shaw version, produced by Stephen Street {2:51}
• Sandie Shaw's "Hello Angel" album
• Sandie Shaw's "Nothing Less Than Brilliant - The Best Of Sandie Shaw" album


David Jensen 'radio session' 4 July 1983
This is not actually a radio session. On the first broadcast, the single version of "Hand In Glove" was added to the set as the Smiths had only recorded three songs for the session, instead of the usual four. This was replaced by a live version from 29 June 1983 on re-runs (see 'live performances' section below).
The Tube 4 November 1983 [tv]
This 3-song performance (including "Still Ill" and "Barbarism Begins At Home") is circulated on video bootlegs. The audio is commonly found in good quality on various manufactured bootlegs as well as in digital format on the internet.
Earsay 31 March 1984 [tv]
This performance of Sandie Shaw doing Hand In Glove (shown alongside a short film set to an early mix of "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now") is circulated on video bootlegs. The performance is lipsynched so the audio is the original single version of the song.
Datarun 7 April 1984 [tv]
Soundcheck footage of "Still Ill" and "Hand In Glove" from a 13 March concert at Manchester's Free Trade Hall, shown alongside a brief interview and acoustic performance of "This Charming Man" by Morrissey and Johnny, is easily found on video bootlegs. The audio for the acoustic "This Charming Man" and the two soundcheck excerpts is commonly circulated in good quality on various manufactured bootlegs as well as in digital format on the internet.
Top Of The Pops 26 April 1984 [tv; Sandie Shaw with Johnny, Andy and Mike]
This TOTP appearance is commonly found on video bootlegs. The performance is lipsynched so the audio is the original single version of the song.
Formel Eins 6 May 1984 [tv; Sandie Shaw with the Smiths]
This television appearance is commonly found on video bootlegs. The performance is lipsynched so the audio is the original single version of the song.


The song has been performed live 177 times by the Smiths, perhaps up to 207 times when taking into account the number of unknown setlists from the early Smiths days. This makes it the most played song by the band. It was done 42 times in 1983 (perhaps even up to 64 times) before the release of the debut album. The reason why the song has been done so many times for only 45 concerts is that the band's debut single was often done twice in those early days, once in the set and again as the encore. This happened again in 1984 following the release of the debut album, but in a significantly smaller measure, and the song was done 67 times (perhaps even up to 73 times) for 65 concerts given that year. It was on the setlist almost every night on the 1985 Meat Is Murder tour, for a total of 47 performances (including the handful of 'loose' dates in early 1986). After the release of the Queen Is Dead album in the middle of 1986, it was performed another 21 times (perhaps even 23 times) before the end of the year, which means almost every night on the North American leg and the first British leg of the Queen Is Dead tour, but not on the second UK leg.

live London 29 June 1983 {2:48}
• UK cd-single#1 and Europe cd-single reissue of "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"
• Digital edition of "The Sound Of The Smiths" [remastered 2008]
soundcheck Manchester Free Trade Hall 13 March 1984
see television appearance from 7 April 1984 in 'Media Sessions' section above.

It has been performed live a further 31 times by Morrissey after the Smiths. It was on the setlist on the nine final dates of the 2002 tour with no name, and done five more times over the first few weeks of the 2004 You Are The Quarry tour. After a break of 10 years, it returned to the set on the 2014 tour when it was done 15 times out of 17 dates in the USA and twice more in Europe.

There are no officially released live recordings of this song from the Morrissey years, but bootleg recordings are circulated.


definitive Troy Tate studio recording {3:23}
This is found on record company cd-rs of Troy Tate's work for the band's debut album. It has not yet been officially released but has leaked in slightly inferior quality on bootlegs.
Troy Tate studio outtake {3:24}
This studio outtake is similar to the above with additional work done to it. It is commonly found on bootlegs.
Crazy Face rehearsal for Troy Tate {2:59}
This band rehearsal ahead of Troy Tate's involvement with the material that would become the band's debut album has leaked on the internet in 2012 in a package titled the "Pablo Cuckoo Tape". Information is found here.


"This is to me the most special song that we've ever done. It was our first single, and of course for that reason it has great romantic value for me. But I think that it was a very special record, certainly in this country. To me, it still sounds like a record that really had to be made. I'm really so pleased that all the emotion and all the urgency comes right through. I've still not given up hope with it. I still hope that it will go further, and become somewhat of an anthem, at least in this country. Everywhere in fact."
- Morrissey, 1984 interview released on the "Ask Me Ask Me Ask Me" interview cd

"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

"That song came about when I was round my parents' house one Sunday evening. I started playing this riff on a crappy guitar I kept there. Angie – who's now my wife – was with me and she kept saying, 'that's really good!' I was panicking because I had nothing to record it on, so we decided to drive to Morrissey's, because he had a tape recorder. I sat in the back of the car playing the riff over and over so I wouldn't forget it. (...) I was just hoping Morrissey would be in. (...) He let me in and I played the riff and he said 'That's very good'. About five days later we were rehearsing and Morrissey wanted to play the song. When we heard the vocals to that we were all like, wow... From then on it was always going to be the first single."
- Johnny Marr in Mojo/Q's 2004 "Morrissey And The Smiths The Inside Story"

"Even I assumed that [Hand In Glove] was about [himself and Morrissey] when we did it, purely because we were the only people hanging out with each other at the time."
- Johnny Marr, Uncut, 2006

"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)

"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

"I was at my parents’ house one Sunday evening, and my little brother had a guitar knocking about. I started to play some chords and quickly came up with this riff. I got very excited about it as I knew it was good. But I didn’t have anything to record it on, so my girlfriend Angie – who’s now my wife – ran around to her house and snuck her dad’s car out. I got in the car with my guitar, playing the riff over and over again so I wouldn’t forget it! We drove to Morrissey’s. I got there, and I’m holding this guitar outside his door in the rain, unannounced. “Oh, hello,” he says, “what have you got there?” I said: “A new song.” “Well, you’d better come in then.” So in I went, and Morrissey pulled out this tape recorder, and we recorded the music. Then I went home. He called me the next day and said, “That new song’s called Hand In Glove.” We would rehearse five nights a week in our manager’s clothing warehouse. The minute we started to play the new song, I knew we’d gone to a new place, because of the melody and the riff, and also because the words and music were an exuberant celebration of both our lives. Friendship [...] was what had changed in his and my life. We had met each other, were working together, and we were in love with each other, in the best possible way. And Hand In Glove came out of that. The words sound like the music, and the music sounds like the words – it’s a beautiful thing. [...] Hand In Glove was our anthem."
- Johnny, dailymail.co.uk, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the release of debut single "Hand In Glove"