China In Your Hand

Album: Bridge of Spies (1987)
Charted: 1
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • 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.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 4

  • David from Nottingham, United KingdomThe song is spoiled by a couple of Carol's dreadful off-key sustained notes. I'm surprised they allowed it to be released with this mistake.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThis was the second of six big UK hits for T'Pau between 1987 and 1989 - other hits included "Heart And Soul", "I Will Be With You" and "The Bridge of Spies"
  • Mel from London, EnglandI thought this song was about Frankenstein just after i studied the book for my exam, though no one else believed me!
  • Terry from Northampton, EnglandEvery time i hear this song i always think of the number 600,because it was the 600th no.1 single.It is more known for that than the quality of the song.Mind you,it is a fantastic song and made even better by the superb vocal performance of Carol Decker.She was cheated out of winning "Hit Me Baby One More Time"
see more comments

Dr. JohnSongwriter Interviews

The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he InspiredSong Writing

Before he was the champ, Ali released an album called I Am The Greatest!, but his musical influence is best heard in the songs he inspired.

AC/DCFact or Fiction

Does Angus really drink himself silly? Did their name come from a sewing machine? See if you can spot the real stories about AC/DC.

Penny Ford of Snap!Songwriter Interviews

The original voice of Snap!, this story is filled with angry drag queens, video impersonators and Chaka Khan.

Jon Oliva of Trans-Siberian OrchestraSongwriter Interviews

Writing great prog metal isn't easy, especially when it's for 60 musicians.

PrinceFact or Fiction

Prince is shrouded in mystery, making him an excellent candidate for Fact or Fiction. Is he really a Scientologist? Does he own an exotic animal?