Grandma's Hands" is a song written by Bill Withers about his own grandmother. It was included on his first album (1971), and was released as a single, reaching number 18 on the Just as I Am Best Selling Soul Singles chart and 42 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was produced by [1 ] Booker T. Jones and also featured drummer Al Jackson, Jr. and bassist Duck Dunn from Booker T. & the MG's.
Withers' maternal grandfather, Grackus Monroe Galloway, had been born into
slavery. As a boy Withers would attend church with his grandmother, Lula, where she would sing and clap along with the hymns. He later said: "It was spontaneous singing, there was nothing programmed. People got up and sang and everybody would join in. It was my favourite kind of singing." [2 ]
A central theme of the song is the protective and nurturing force of the hands, as expressed in the last verse:
"Grandma's hands used to hand me piece of candy.
Grandma's hands picked me up each time I fell.
Grandma's hands, boy they really came in handy
She'd say, “ Mattie don't you whip that boy.
What you want to spank him for?
He didn't drop no apple core,”
But I don't have Grandma anymore,
If I get to heaven I'll look for
Um ,mm, mm."
Cover versions [ edit ]
The song has since been covered by many other artists, including
Keb' Mo', Al Jarreau, Merry Clayton, Livingston Taylor, The Staple Singers, Gladys Knight, Barbra Streisand, Will Downing, Take 6, Josh Garrels, [3 ] Marti Pellow, Starsailor, Gil Scott-Heron, Everlast, Jeff Lorber, Paddy Casey in Today FM's Even Better Than The Real Thing and Ron Kenoly. It is also sampled for the hook of Blackstreet's " No Diggity" and " Shout" by Shout for England.
References [ edit ]
External links [ edit ]
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"What a Way to Live" / "Man With the Blues"
"Willingly" / "Chain of Love"
"Touch Me" / "Where My House Lives"
"Wake Me When It's Over" / "There's Gonna Be Love In My House"
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"Half a Man" / "The Last Letter"
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"She's Not For You" / "Permanently Lonely"
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"The Party's Over" / "Bring Me Sunshine"
"Blackjack County Chain" / "Some Other World"
"Little Things" / " Sweet Memories"
"Good Times" / "Where Do You Stand"
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"The Highway" / "Spirit"
Ain't Necessarily So" / "I Never Cared For You" ("Ain't Necessarily So" also on CD Single)
"Turn Me Loose and Let Me Swing"
"I Never Cared for You"