Put Your Hand in the Hand

Album: Put Your Hand in the Hand (1971)
Charted: 2
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Songfacts®:

  • Toronto, Canada's quintet Ocean featured singer Janice Morgan, singer-keyboardist Greg Brown, bassist Jeff Jones, guitarist Dave Tamblyn and drummer Charles Slater. Their first single, "Put Your Hand in the Hand," a #2 pop hit in America in 1971, was written by Gene MacLellan, who'd played with Robbie Robertson in both the Consuls and the Suedes. Several singles followed during the early '70s, but none were as popular as the debut. Ocean disbanded in 1975.
  • A version of Robbie Robertson's "The Stones That I Throw," originally released on a Levon and The Hawks single in 1965, was included on Put Your Hand In The Hand. The album was re-released as a budget CD on the Unidisc label in 2000. On their second album, Give Tomorrow's Children One More Chance, Ocean did a version of The Band's "Just Another Whistle Stop" from Stage Fright. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Barry - Boise, ID, for above 2
  • The narrator realizes she's no different than the sinners in the Bible, recalling when Jesus, who worked as a carpenter, chastised merchants for selling goods in the temple (Matthew 21:12-17 and John 2:13-22). Morgan trembles as "the sellers were no different fellas than what I profess to be."
  • The song also references when Jesus calmed the sea in Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, and Luke 8:22-25. In the midst of a storm that threatened to overturn their boat, the panicked apostles woke Jesus and begged him to help. Jesus didn't see what all the fuss was about and simply commanded the waves to be still. He asked his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?"
  • Ocean wasn't a gospel group and didn't feel a strong connection to the religious aspect of the song. According to Greg Brown, they were hesitant to release the single. "We were concerned that it might give the group a gospel image," he explained in the book Axes, Chops, and Hot Licks. They were right. The group was typecast as a gospel rock band thanks to the Jesus-themed debut.
  • This was Anne Murray's choice for a follow-up single to her hit "Snowbird" in 1970, but Capitol Records thought it was too religious, and that she sounded too masculine. They chose "Sing High Sing Low," which bombed in the US. While Murray's version of "Put Your Hand In The Hand" languished as the middle track on her Honey, Wheat and Laughter album, Ocean recorded the tune and had a huge hit with it. In Murray's autobiography, she writes that she was very upset about losing this hit, and that Ocean sang the song off-key. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    David - Birmingham, AL

Comments: 5

  • Steve from FloridaNever understood the line "there'll come a time when there'll probably be room in heaven". Are we waiting for them to build an addition or something?
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenAs a child, my wife thought the line was "Put your hand in the hand of the man who steals the water."
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 7th 1971, "Put Your Hand In The Hand" by Ocean entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #87; and on April 25th it peaked at #2 (for 1 week) and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 7 of those 14 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    It reached #4 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart and #10 in their native Canada...
    The week is was at #2 on the Top 100, the #1 record was "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night...
    The quintet had three other records make the Top 100; "Deep Enough For Me" (#73), "We Got A Dream" (#82), and "One More Chance" (#76).
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxNo coincidence there, David. Both "Put Your Hand..." and "Snowbird" were written by Gene Maclellan.
  • David from Birmingham, Al"Put Your Hand" was Anne Murray's choice for a follow-up single to her hit "Snowbird" in 1970, but Capitol Records thought it was too religious, and that she sounded too masculine. They chose "Sing High Sing Low" which bombed. In the meantime, Ocean recorded "Put Your Hand" and had a huge hit with it. In Anne's autobiography, she writes that she was very upset about losing this hit, and that Ocean sang the song off-key.
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