Song of the Week

EHSDA Song of the Week: Hands All Over

Tomorrow is Earth Day, so this week’s song is focusing on environmental issues. There are plenty of obvious songs we could go with, but a more obscure gem came out of the Pacific Northwest in the early days of grunge: Soundgarden’s “Hands All Over.”

This rumbling hard rock thumper features an impassioned vocal performance by Chris Cornell over a sinister-sounding riff from guitarist Kim Thayil. The lyrics describe various environmental disasters such as oil spills and deforestation and features the refrain “You’re going to kill your mother,” a line that was controversial even though it referred to Mother Earth.

The song is on Soundgarden’s 1989 major label debut, Louder Than Love, and was released as a single in 1990. While it didn’t chart in the U.S., it hit #82 on the U.K. singles chart in 1990. Louder Than Love only reached #108 on the album, but the band would see success with its next album, 1991’s Badmotorfinger, and then really break through to stardom in 1994 with Superunknown. But “Hands All Over” was a fan favorite from the early days, combining big rock riffage with environmental concerns.

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