Hands Off The Man (Flim Flam Man)

Album: More Than A New Discovery (1967)

Songfacts®:

  • "Hands Off The Man" is a warning to ladies to stay away from a certain foxy fella known as the Flim Flam Man, a con artist who "pays his monthly rent with daily charm."

    According to Nyro's friend Barbara Greenstein, the horn-laden tune could have been intended for the 1967 film The Flim-Flam Man, starring George C. Scott as a shady character not unlike Nyro's ne'er-do-well. But Alan Merrill, lead singer of the Arrows, thinks the tune is likely about her Uncle Gary, who was married to Merrill's aunt for awhile. "He was an actor/artist/dreamer/ladies' man," Merrill explained in Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro by Michele Kort. "A good-looking charmer. A fun guy to be around. His plans to succeed always seemed to fall through, though, and that sometimes got him in serious trouble."
  • Actress Peggy Lipton recorded this for her 1968 self-titled album. It was also covered by Dutch jazz singer Ann Burton in 1973 and soul singer Janice Hoyte in 1974.
  • The album was reissued by Verve Forecast (formerly Verve Folkways) in 1969 under the title The First Songs. This tune was renamed "Flim Flam Man" and opened side two of the vinyl (instead of closing side one).
  • On her next album, Eli and the Thirteenth Confessional, Nyro alerts us to another no-good man who's about to roll into town in "Eli's Coming," a Top 10 hit for Three Dog Night.

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