Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head

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"Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head"
Song by They Might Be Giants from the album They Might Be Giants
Released November 4, 1986 (1986-11-04)
Recorded 1985 and 1986, New York City
Genre Alternative rock
Language English
Length 02:12
Label Bar/None
Writer John Flansburgh
John Linnell
Composer John Flansburgh
John Linnell
Producer Bill Krauss
They Might Be Giants track listing
  1. "Everything Right Is Wrong Again"
  2. "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head"
  3. "Number Three"
  4. "Don't Let's Start"
  5. "Hide Away Folk Family"
  6. "32 Footsteps"
  7. "Toddler Hiway"
  8. "Rabid Child"
  9. "Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes"
  10. "(She Was A) Hotel Detective"
  11. "She's an Angel"
  12. "Youth Culture Killed My Dog"
  13. "Boat of Car"
  14. "Absolutely Bill's Mood"
  15. "Chess Piece Face"
  16. "I Hope That I Get Old Before I Die"
  17. "Alienation's for the Rich"
  18. "The Day"
  19. "Rhythm Section Want Ad"

"Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head" is a song by alternative rock band They Might Be Giants, from their eponymous debut album They Might Be Giants. It has also been released on several compilation albums, including Then: The Earlier Years and A User's Guide to They Might Be Giants.


The song's music and chorus were written by John Linnell; John Flansburgh wrote the verses.[1] Linnell used a Casio MT-100 to play the music. Although "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head" was included on They Might Be Giants' first album on Bar/None Records, the song was recorded before the band became associated with the label.[2]

Music video[edit]

"Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head" was the first song for which They Might Be Giants created a music video. The video, directed by Adam Bernstein, was filmed on a budget of about $1500 in a waterfront area of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.[3] It featured a number of homemade props, such as large papier-mâché hands and tall fezzes.[4] The video also features the face of William Allen White.[5] According to commentary in the group's video compilation Direct from Brooklyn, the film Married to the Mob was being filmed in the same location.[6] Adam Bernstein has also stated that some of the music video was filmed on the tails of the film used to shoot Married to the Mob, and that in total, only about five minutes of film were shot.[7] The video aired on MTV prior to the release of the band's debut album.[3][8] Previously, it had also aired on a local music video station.[2]


An Allmusic review identified "Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head" one of the best songs on They Might Be Giants and described it as "Costello-esque".[9] Jim Faber, reviewing They Might Be Giants for Rolling Stone, called the song "irresistibly catchy" and cited it as an example of Flansburgh's "character" vocals.[10]

Cover versions[edit]

Cultural references[edit]

The song was referenced in "Homer's Odyssey", the third full-length episode of The Simpsons. In it, Homer writes a suicide note on paper with the heading "Dumb things I gotta do today"; the song's lyric is "Memo to myself: do the dumb things I gotta do".[11]


  1. ^ Linnell, John (April 1994). "They Might Be the Hottest Show to Hit the Hilltop". The Bradley Scout. Interview with Yosha Bourgea. Peoria, Illinois. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Pendergast, Tom (1995). Myke Weiskopf Interviews Tom Pendergast. Interview with Myke Weiskopf. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Bernstein, Adam (1995). Myke Weiskopf Interviews Adam Bernstein. Interview with Myke Weiskopf. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Del Tyre, Peg (6 February 1989). "Giant Steps: A Peculiar Rock Duo Makes a Big Noise". New York. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "TMBG Information Bulletin Winter 1991". TMBG Info Club. 1991. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Direct from Brooklyn. Dir. Adam Bernstein, Nico Beyer, John Flansburgh. Restless, 2003. DVD.
  7. ^ Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns). Dir. AJ Schnack. 2002. Plexifilm, 2003.
  8. ^ Del Signore, John (18 July 2011). "They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh: The Catskills Is The New Williamsburg". Gothamist. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  9. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "They Might Be Giants - They Might Be Giants". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  10. ^ Farber, Jim (April 9, 1987). "They Might Be Giants". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "Homer's Odyssey". The Simpsons Archive. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 

External links[edit]