Blood On Your Hands
by Willie Nile (featuring Steve Earle)

Album: The Day The Earth Stood Still (2021)
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Songfacts®:

  • Veteran New York rocker Willie Nile recorded his 14th studio album, The Day The Earth Stood Still, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He and his band masked up and laid down the tracks in January 2021, but he thought something was missing from "Blood On Your Hands." That's when he called his buddy and neighbor Steve Earle to sing on the track.
  • This came out of Nile's frustration at how the pandemic was handled in the US. "I'm not a big finger-pointer, but a lot of people died last year, and it didn't have to be that way," he said in a 2021 Songfacts interview. "It could have been better. It was criminal. I just was so pissed off about it, I wrote that song one night."

    He elaborated on the song meaning: "These are turbulent times. The song is about dancing with the devil, whether it's something personal between two people or politics on a world stage, if you dance with the devil, you can get blood on your hands. There's no limit to greed, selfishness and pride. They're not limited to any governments. But clearly on a larger scale, the pandemic had a devastating effect, globally on the world, as have all the wars. So that song in general has a universal theme. And to have Steve sing on 'Blood On Your Hands' meant the world to me."
  • Nile debuted in 1980 with a self-titled album that featured the track "She's So Cold" (which may or may not have inspired a Rolling Stones song of the same name). The album caught the attention of Pete Townshend of The Who, who invited the rocker to tour with the band that summer. Nile released a follow-up, Golden Down, but legal problems with his manager and label led to a 10-year recording hiatus that ended with Places I Have Never Been in 1991.
  • The music video features Nile and his backing band performing at the Bowery Electric in New York City, and incorporates footage of Earle recording in the studio.

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