Hand Of Fate

Album: Black And Blue (1976)
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  • This song is about a man who commits murder for the love of a woman. Note the two gambling metaphors bookending the lyrics: "wheel of fortune" and the start, "my chips are down" by the end. Continuing the "hand of fate" of the title as the story of an unlucky protagonist who was simply forced into a situation he didn't create.

    Other songs with murder confessions in the lyrics include "The Man I Killed," "I Shot The Sheriff," "Folsom Prison Blues, and of course Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."
  • Mick Taylor had left the band, and The Stones were auditioning lead guitarists while recording Black And Blue. American session man Wayne Perkins played on this track and almost got the job, but Ron Wood beat him out.
  • It may not raise an eyebrow now in this heady era post-Fifty Shades of Gray, but back when this song's album Black and Blue came out, it was promoted with billboards and ads featuring the model Anita Russell in bondage. The ads raised a huge uproar from the feminist community, this being 1976. View Anita Russell's own page about the matter. Russell claimed that Jagger himself did the ropework - Shibari artists may now feel free to begin their critique!

    Speaking of Japanese words, the cover art for the album was shot by the Japanese fashion photographer Hiro.
  • Mick Jagger said he and Keith Richards discussed the lyrics for this over coffee breaks in the studio. He added: '"Hand of Fate' seemed to be a good song to have second (on the album)... It's a narrative, you know, a sort of chopped up narrative about a Southern murder. It's better, you know, than singing about the ordinary things. A lot of people like that one. It's about someone whose woman you take and he decides to take her back. It's a simple narrative... It's quite a good idea to do if you've got the kernel of a good story. It's very hard, actually – unless you're really good – to get any kind of narrative into a song of four and a half minutes. It's so complicated: And then he... If it got as complicated as it could have been, it would really have got boring. And the thing is to not say a lot." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France

Comments: 16

  • AnonymousThe urgency of the song is appalling. A murder ballad that can compete with the rest of all the American folkblues singers, as noted in the great illustrades book Murder ballads by visual drawing/cartoonist Erik Kriek
  • Tony B from Linthicum The best lyrics only point you in the direction but force you to use your imagination. Stones were obviously great at it but Bowie was probably the best at it.
  • CjbFANTASTIC Guitar. Jagger/Richards. (( Particularly Richards…)) probably didn't like to be upstaged by anybody. Wayne is great. As was Mick Taylor.
    Been following these guys and the Stones forever. I know how they operate……. Love them,
    AND RON WOOD. but they don't always make the smart decisions. Sorry, Mick & Keef…
    They still make bank, & I get it. But they missed some musical geniuses.
  • Scotty "records" Greene from Studio Of Mine even though there is such a rock feel to the song, Mick still comes up with a way to tell a story
  • Lee from Clearwater, Fl, FlJust occurred to me: could this be an indirect Brian Jones murder confession?
  • Liz from Berkeley, CaYep this one is a rocker!
  • Jason from Dallas, TxPaul from Boston. The "Black And Blue" album cover was shot on Sanibel Island, not in Clearwater. They are about 150 miles apart, so it wasn't down the street from your aunt and uncle's home in Clearwater.
  • Paul from Boston, MaAn under-appreciated song from a neglected album. Stylistically, it's a rock ballad that sits between "Tumblin' Dice" and "Beast of Burden". The album jacket was photographed on the beach down the street from my great aunt and uncle's place in Clearwater, FL. I remember the long list in the Beauty Contest to replace Mick Taylor. Clapton, Jeff Beck, Rick Derringer, Johnny Winter, Alvin Lee, Peter Frampton, etc. It was even suggested that Jimmy Page might two-time on Zep, at least for the '75 tour. I read recently that they decided that they needed someone British as opposed to American.
  • Mark from Napa, Caresponding to jim in long beach, ca (my orignal home town), i've been on a stones's "binge" lately and have been listening to many of their works from outside the "holy grail" of begars banquet, let it bleed, exile on main street and sticky fingers and have enjoyed it a lot. my take on the wayne perkins play here is that it was great and would like to have heard more....
  • C. from Norfolk, VaMy favorite lyrics -
    "I'm on the run, I hear the hounds
    My luck is up, my chips are down
    So goodbye baby, so long now
    Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it child"
  • Steve from Phoenix, AzPerkins should have got the job
    Woody's too much like keith.
    they needed the fine touches
    Taylor did and Perkins would have
    filled his shoes better.
    Just an opinion.
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaGreat song. This is the "Stones sound" that made them who they are. Wayne Perkins, who at the time was on the short list to be a Stone after Mick Taylor left,plays guitar on this song. The coveted guitar spot went to Ron Wood, who fit in perfectly..
  • Joe from Adelaide,This is best song on album,possibly best stones song ever!
  • Andrew from New York, United StatesAnother classic Keith riff in Open-G tuning...
  • Ethan from Portland, Orlove the live version on Four Flicks Paris. who's with me?
  • Ethan from Portland, Orone of the Stones' all-time greatest. perhaps the best lyrically; extremely poetic.
see more comments

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