Red Right Hand

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"Red Right Hand"
RedRightHand.jpg
Single by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
from the album Let Love In
B-side
  • "That's What Jazz Is to Me"
  • "Where the Action Is"
Released24 October 1994
RecordedSeptember – December 1993
Genre
Length6:10
LabelMute
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Tony Cohen
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds singles chronology
"Loverman"
(1994)
"Red Right Hand"
(1994)
"Where the Wild Roses Grow"
(1995)
Let Love In track listing
  1. "Do You Love Me?"
  2. "Nobody's Baby Now"
  3. "Loverman"
  4. "Jangling Jack"
  5. "Red Right Hand"
  6. "I Let Love In"
  7. "Thirsty Dog"
  8. "Ain't Gonna Rain Anymore"
  9. "Lay Me Low"
  10. "Do You Love Me? Pt 2"

"Red Right Hand" is a song by Australian rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It was released as a single from their eighth studio album, Let Love In (1994), on 24 October 1994. A condensed version was included in the single, while the longer version was included with the album. The title comes from John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, in which it refers to the vengeful hand of God.

The song has become one of Cave's signature songs, being performed at most of his concerts; only "The Mercy Seat" has appeared in more of his live sets since 1984.[5] It has since become best known for its use in the first three films of the Scream trilogy and later as the theme song to the British crime drama series Peaky Blinders, which resulted in the song receiving a re-release single in 2014. It has been covered by Arctic Monkeys, PJ Harvey, Iggy Pop, Jarvis Cocker and Snoop Dogg, among others.

Background[edit]

The liner notes for Murder Ballads state that the phrase "red right hand" is from a line in John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost that refers to divine vengeance. The opening song on the album, "Song of Joy," states of a murderer: "It seems he has done many, many more, / quotes John Milton on the walls in the victim's blood. / The police are investigating at tremendous cost. / In my house he wrote 'his red right hand'. / That, I'm told, is from Paradise Lost."

The aforementioned appearance in Paradise Lost (Book II, 170-174) is: "What if the breath that kindled those grim fires, / Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage, / And plunge us in the flames; or from above / Should intermitted vengeance arm again / His red right hand to plague us?". The term itself appears to be Milton's translation of the term "rubente dextera" in Horace's Ode I.2,2-3

Co-writer Mick Harvey recalled that the song originated during the songwriting process for the band's 1994 album Let Love In. The lyrics describe "a shadowy, alluring, and manipulative figure, stalking the land and striking a combination of fear and awe everywhere he goes" who is "seemingly part deity, part demon".[6]

In 2004 researcher Kim Beissel claimed that "Red Right Hand" was loosely based on the 1987 Tom Waits song "Way Down in the Hole".[7]

Film and television[edit]

Advertising[edit]

  • The song was used in the South Australian Tourism Board's Barossa Valley television commercial campaign, Barossa, Be Consumed, directed by Jeffrey Darling.[8]
  • The song was used by New York design firm GrandArmy in a promotional clip for the Mexican tequila company El Jimador.[9]

Films and soundtracks[edit]

Scream franchise[edit]

Television[edit]

Covers[edit]

Track listing[edit]

  • Euro three-track CD single
  1. "Red Right Hand"
  2. "That's What Jazz Is to Me"
  3. "Where the Action Is"

Charts[edit]

Chart (1995) Peak
Position
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 62
UK Singles Sales Chart (2017) 81

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[14] Silver 200,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cutchin, Joshua. "Southern Gothic: Ten unconventional songs to put you in the Halloween mood". Joshua Cutchin: Weird Words & Brass Beats. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  2. ^ Trakin, Roy (8 February 2018). "Case Study: How a 1994 Nick Cave Song Became a Favorite of Music Supervisors". Variety. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  3. ^ Graves, Wren (8 October 2019). "Nick Cave says Snoop Dogg's "Red Right Hand" cover left "a giant smile on my face"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  4. ^ Elferen, Isabella van; Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew (2015). Goth Music: From Sound to Subculture. Routledge. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-317-96298-4.
  5. ^ "Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Tour Statistics - setlist.fm". www.setlist.fm. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  6. ^ Phull, Hardeep (22 June 2016). "The unlikely story behind 'Peaky Blinders' theme song". New York Post. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  7. ^ Original Seeds Vol. 2: Songs that inspired Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Kim Beissel, CD liner notes, Rubber Records Australia, 2004
  8. ^ Newstead, Al (23 May 2013). "Nick Cave Provides Soundtrack For Barossa Valley Tourism Campaign". Tone Deaf. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  9. ^ "El Jimador". Grand-Army.com.
  10. ^ "Peaky Blinders playlist". Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  11. ^ a b Britton, Luke Morgan (14 December 2017). "Listen to Iggy Pop and Jarvis Cocker's cover of 'Peaky Blinders' theme 'Red Right Hand'". NME.
  12. ^ Fennessy, Kathleen C. "Cover Magazine - Giant Sand". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  13. ^ "Resetarits*, Lang*, Molden* – Weida Foan". Discogs. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  14. ^ "British single certifications – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 21 August 2020.