This is the title track of American band Maroon 5's third studio album. Frontman Adam Levine told Rolling Stone during an in the studio interview: "Our first record was a reflection of my love for Stevie Wonder. With the second I kept going back and forth between Prince and The Police. But there was no one on my mind for this album. It's just great pop."
Levine told Rolling Stone this song is "about desperately trying to work something out, but at the same time, trying to wash your hands of something, too. It's that desperation of wanting everything to work somehow, but being frustrated by the fact that it just won't."
Levine added that for Hands All Over he wrote a bit more opaquely than for previous records. "At this point for me, it's probably best to cleverly mask a lot of these songs, and not be so deliberately about one person or one thing," he said.
Maroon 5 spent two months writing and recording Hands All Over with producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange in his recording studio on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Lange's résumé includes a number of A-list rock bands such as AC/DC, Foreigner and Def Leppard as well as his former wife Shania Twain. Levine told Billboard magazine about working with the veteran producer: "He helped make the songs more straightforward. What we do is very simple, and he helped us narrow it down a little bit and make it more cohesive. He said, 'Listen, you guys need to make sure you're writing the best material you can.' He pushes you hard. It made me realize that no one has ever really pushed me before. He was the first guy who was unafraid to say, 'This isn't good enough. Try again.'"
Levine recalled to Billboard magazine presenting this song to Lange. "He said, 'I like the drums and the riff; strip it down to that and start over.' I wanted to tell him to go f--k himself, but I didn't. I started over, and then a new, much more amazing song came out."
19-year old photographer Rosie Hardy took the photo on the album cover.
Associated Press writer Mesfin Fekadu asked Levine about the album title. He replied: "Album titles are funny. 'Hands All Over' is kind of evocative. It's mysterious and kind of sexual and I'm not sure what it means, but it sounds really good so we wanted to use that as our album's name (laughs)."