Band of the Hand (song)

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"Band of the Hand"
Bob Dylan Band of the Hand.jpg
German single cover
Single by Bob Dylan
from the album Band of the Hand Soundtrack
B-side "Joe's Death (Michael Rubini instrumental)"
Released April 21, 1987
Recorded February 9–10, 1987
Studio Festival, Sydney, Australia
Genre Rock
Length 4:34
Label MCA
Songwriter(s) Bob Dylan
Producer(s) Tom Petty
Bob Dylan singles chronology
"When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky"
"Band of the Hand"
"Got My Mind Made Up"

"Band of the Hand" is a song written and recorded by Bob Dylan as the theme for the 1986 movie of the same name, which was directed by Paul Michael Glaser and produced by Michael Mann. Dylan recorded the song while on tour in Sydney, Australia on February 9 and 10, 1986. Dylan is backed on the recording by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and a group of background singers including Stevie Nicks. The recording was produced by Tom Petty.[1]


The lyrics of the song emphasize the central theme of the movie: the ruthlessness of the vigilante justice that will be used to confront the immorality of the criminal drug world. Although the lyrics posted on Dylan's official website indicate that the refrain for the song consists of the title, "band of the hand," repeated four times in succession, the chorus that is sung on the recording is clearly "It's hell time, man," which is given as the subtitle of the song.[2]

The song was released on the soundtrack album, Band of the Hand (MCA-6167, 1986) and also as both a 45 rpm 7" single (MCA-52811, 1986) and as 12" single (MCA-23633, 1986). Both singles were backed on the B-side by "Joe's Death," an instrumental from the Michael Rubini soundtrack to the film. All three formats are currently deleted, but the soundtrack album is available at iTunes. The version of the song that is heard in the film is slightly longer, and has a different mix than that heard on any of the vinyl releases.[1]

The single reached number 28 on the Billboard chart.[3]

Dylan and Petty would later become members of the Traveling Wilburys.