Album: Band of the Hand Original Soundtrack
Heh. While the recording of this was clearly a money gig, and associated with the garish neon nadir of the Miami Vice era – I mean, look the utterly ridiculous John Lydon lookalike on the album cover – the actual performance is one of my favorite things he did in the 1980s.
Recorded with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – with whom Bob was touring during the early part of 1986 – “Band of the Hand” is an apocalyptic blues chock full of wailing background vocals and Mike Campbell’s utterly stinging guitar riffs. And after the mostly slower songs of Infidels and the overbaking of Empire Burlesque, “Band of the Hand” seemed to point a way towards the next phase of Dylan’s music.
It didn’t, as the mostly dire (with one amazing exception) Knocked Out Loaded and the completely dire (and completely misnamed) Down in the Groove followed.
My favorite part of “Band of the Hand” is near the end, when the chorus of “It’s hell time, man” changes to “band of the hand” a couple of times. It’s as if somebody reminded Bob that they needed to pretend like it was written for the film, so they punched in a couple of overdubs of the backing vocalists singing the movie’s title a couple of times. Hopefully, those overdubs placated whichever studio boss greenlit this in the first place.
“Band of the Hand” is total footnote in the middle of the worst part of Bob Dylan’s career, and according to IMDB, the film was a failed TV pilot (and clearly woulda been a perfect target for the MST3K folks) prior to being a failed film, so the whole enterprise is obviously the kind of debacle that everybody has completely forgotten about.
But at least it gave us this song.
Official Video for “Band of The Hand”
My Certain Songs Spotify Playlist: