Red Right Hand

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Red Right Hand"
Single by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
from the album Let Love In
Released24 October 1994
GenreAlternative rock,[1] Southern gothic[2]
LabelMute Records
Songwriter(s)Mick Harvey, Nick Cave and Thomas Wydler
Producer(s)Tony Cohen
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds singles chronology
"Red Right Hand"
"Where the Wild Roses Grow"
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 1994 song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It first appeared on the album Let Love In, where it ran at over six minutes. A condensed version was later released as a single.

A dark, ominous alternative rock track, it 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.[3] It has been covered by Arctic Monkeys, PJ Harvey, Iggy Pop and Jarvis Cocker, among others.

The title comes from John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, in which it refers to the vengeful hand of God.


The liner notes for Murder Ballads point out 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

In 2004 researcher Kim Beissel claimed that "Red Right Hand" was loosely based on the 1987 Tom Waits song "Way Down in the Hole".[4]

Film and television[edit]


  • The song was used in the South Australian Tourism Board's Barossa Valley television commercial campaign, Barossa, Be Consumed, directed by Jeffrey Darling.[citation needed]
  • The song was used by New York design firm GrandArmy in a promotional clip for the Mexican tequila company El Jimador.[5]

Films and soundtracks[edit]

Scream franchise[edit]

  • The song has been used in the first three films in the Scream franchise. The original version appeared on the soundtrack album for the first film in 1996, while a remixed version by DJ Spooky appears on the Scream 2 (1997) album.
  • Nick Cave recorded another version, sometimes referred to as "Red Right Hand 2", for Scream 3 (2000) and released it on his B-Sides & Rarities (2005) album.



  • English indie rock band Arctic Monkeys performed a cover of "Red Right Hand" during their tour of Australia in early 2009, their performance in the Reading and Leeds Festival in August 2009, as well as in their North American tour in December 2009. A recorded version of the song appears on the Japanese version of their third album, Humbug (2009) and as a b-side on the single "Crying Lightning" (2009).[7]
  • Australian jazz musician Frank Bennett recorded a lounge version of the song for his album, Five O'Clock Shadow (1996)
  • Giant Sand covered the song on their album Cover Magazine (2002).[8]
  • Ernst Molden covered the song in Austrian German on his album Weida Foan.[9]
  • Various artists have covered the track for the television series Peaky Blinders, including PJ Harvey, Laura Marling, and Iggy Pop and Jarvis Cocker.[7]

Track listing[edit]

  • Euro 3 Track CD Single
  1. "Red Right Hand"
  2. "That's What Jazz Is to Me"
  3. "Where the Action Is"


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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The 100 Best Alternative Rock Songs of 1994". Spin. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Joshua Cutchin: Weird Words & Brass Beats". Joshua Cutchin: Weird Words & Brass Beats. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Tour Statistics -". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  4. ^ Original Seeds Vol. 2: Songs that inspired Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Kim Beissel, CD liner notes, Rubber Records Australia, 2004
  5. ^ "El Jimador".
  6. ^ "Peaky Blinders playlist". Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Fennessy, Kathleen C. "Cover Magazine - Giant Sand". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Resetarits*, Lang*, Molden* – Weida Foan". Discogs. Retrieved 2 February 2018.