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China In Your Hand by T'Pau
Album: Bridge of SpiesReleased: 1987Charted:
This song was inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, specifically, a line about Frankenstein's dreams crumbling: "Don't push too hard, your dreams are china in your hand."
T'Pau lead singer Carol Decker
revealed in 1000 UK #1 Hits
by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, "I was watching a documentary on the whole Mary Shelley and Byron and Keats gang and was enthralled by how, at 19, she outsold both noted poets. But her success caused much dissent and jealousy in her marriage and friendships, so created her own monster. It is a story within a story, be careful what you wish for in case you get it. Ronnie's (Rogers - the band's guitarist) mother gave us a china tea-set and if you lifted the cups up to the light you can see a woman's face in the bottom. The cups were paper thin and so fragile when you held it in your hand. I guess subconsciously that's how I got the title."
This song spent an amazing five weeks at #1 in the UK, but at the time, T'Pau was touring other parts of Europe as the opening act for Bryan Adams. When they returned, they were far more famous than when they left, and suddenly had to deal with autograph requests and other byproducts of their sudden popularity.
Unlike "Heart And Soul
," Carol Decker got bored with this song pretty quickly, and struggled with having it define her carrer in the UK. "I wish I'd never written "China In Your Hand," she told Melody Maker
in 1988. "I'm sick to death of summoning up the enthusiasm to sing that frigging song. It's a millstone round my neck."
The single is a re-recorded shorter version of the album version.
This song almost didn't make the album. Carol Decker had made a demo of the song with just piano and vocal, but didn't plan to use it. When they had to abandon another song they were working on, they found themselves one track short, so Decker pulled out her cassette demo and the band recorded the song.