Hands All Over (Soundgarden song)

"Hands All Over" is a song by the American rock band Soundgarden. Featuring lyrics written by frontman Chris Cornell and music written by guitarist Kim Thayil, "Hands All Over" was released in 1990 as the second single from the band's second studio album, Louder Than Love (1989). It also appeared on the band's EP Loudest Love, released in 1990. The song was included on Soundgarden's 1997 greatest hits album, A-Sides and appeared on the band's compilation album Telephantasm.

"Hands All Over"
Soundgarden hands12
Single by Soundgarden
from the album Louder Than Love
B-side "Come Together" / "Heretic" / "Big Dumb Sex"
Released October 12, 1989
Format CD single, cassette, vinyl
Recorded December 1988 – January 1989 at London Bridge Studios, Seattle, Washington
Genre Alternative metal[1], grunge
Length 6:00
Label A&M
Songwriter(s) Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil
Producer(s) Terry Date, Soundgarden
Soundgarden singles chronology
"Loud Love"
"Hands All Over"
"Room a Thousand Years Wide"
"Loud Love"
"Hands All Over"
"Room a Thousand Years Wide"
Louder Than Love track listing
"Ugly Truth"
(Track 1)
"Hands All Over"
(Track 2)
(Track 3)
Audio sample
  • file
  • help


"Hands All Over" features lyrics written by frontman Chris Cornell and music written by guitarist Kim Thayil. Thayil on the song:

What I liked about the song was that it was just one simple riff—one note, one chord—but with a lot of dynamics. In some ways it's simple and basic; in other ways, it's very sophisticated in how it was layered. We don't really have many songs that are like "Hands All Over".[2]


Regarding "Hands All Over", Cornell said that "it's just sort of an environmental thing. Not strictly environmental, but mostly. It's basically about how we humans tend to screw up everything that's good enough as it is ... or everything that we're attracted to, we love to go and defile it."[3]

Release and reception

The single for "Hands All Over" marked the beginning of Soundgarden having cover versions as B-sides. The B-side to the single is a cover of The Beatles song "Come Together". Producer Jack Endino provided the backing vocals on the song. This was also the last time that Soundgarden recorded with him. Outside the United States, the single was released commercially in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Due to some of the lyrics contained in the song (most notably the "kill your mother" line), this song and "Big Dumb Sex" led to the band facing various retail and distribution problems upon the release of Louder Than Love.[4] Tom Maginnis of AllMusic called "Hands All Over" a "walloping behemoth of a track". He said, "The song combines an Eastern-tinged rock riff in an extended arrangement, as singer Chris Cornell airs out his impressive lung capacity while lyrically taking a stab at environmental politics."[5] J. D. Considine of Rolling Stone said that the song "applies swooping bass and jazzily vigorous drumming to counterbalance the static intensity of the song's bone-simple guitar hook."[6]

Both the song and video were featured in the 1990 film Pacific Heights, but the song was not included on the film's soundtrack.

Music video

The music video for "Hands All Over" was directed by Kevin Kerslake, who had previously directed the "Loud Love" music video for the band. The video was shot in a factory and features the band members swinging on equipment amid scenes of the band performing the song. Thayil described the video as "one of the lamest ever made. It really sucked."[2] Cornell added, "Making this video was fun because we were in a steel foundry. And there was like a black cancer dust all over everything. We're all gonna get cancer from it and die. So I hope you enjoy it. This will be the video that killed Soundgarden."[3] The video was released in January 1990.[7] The video is available on the home video release Louder Than Live.

Track listing

Promotional CD (US) and Promotional 12" Vinyl (US)
  1. "Hands All Over" (Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil) – 6:00
  2. "Come Together" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 5:52
Promotional Cassette (US) and 7" Vinyl (Australia)
  1. "Hands All Over" (Cornell, Thayil) – 6:00
7" Vinyl (Australia)
  1. "Hands All Over" (Cornell, Thayil) – 6:00
  2. "Big Bottom" (live) (Spinal Tap) – 4:58
CD (UK) and 10" Vinyl (UK)
  1. "Hands All Over" (Cornell, Thayil) – 6:00
  2. "Come Together" (Lennon, McCartney) – 5:52
  3. "Heretic" (Thayil, Hiro Yamamoto) – 3:48
  4. "Big Dumb Sex" (Cornell) – 4:11

Chart positions

Chart (1990) Position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[8] 82


  1. ^ "CMJ 25". Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Gilbert, Jeff. "Primecuts: Kim Thayil". Guitar School. May 1994.
  3. ^ a b Gilbert, Jeff. "Big Ugly Truth". The Rocket. March 1990.
  4. ^ Barber, Patrick. "Soundgarden". Pit. 1990.
  5. ^ Maginnis, Tom. "Hands All Over > Review". AllMusic. Retrieved on May 19, 2008.
  6. ^ Consideine, J. D. "Soundgarden: Louder Than Love". Rolling Stone. June 17, 1997.
  7. ^ "Soundgarden music videos". Music Video Database. Retrieved February 22, 2008.
  8. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 6, 2016.

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