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

Album: The Day The Earth Stood Still (2021)
Play Video


  • 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.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Pam Tillis

Pam TillisSongwriter Interviews

The country sweetheart opines about the demands of touring and talks about writing songs with her famous father.

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn YankeesSongwriter Interviews

Revisit the awesome glory of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees: cheesily-acted videos, catchy guitar licks, long hair, and lyrics that are just plain relatable.

Psychedelic Lyrics

Psychedelic LyricsMusic Quiz

Whoa man! Do you know which band came up with these cosmic lyrics?

Gary Lewis

Gary LewisSongwriter Interviews

Gary Lewis and the Playboys had seven Top 10 hits despite competition from The Beatles. Gary talks about the hits, his famous father, and getting drafted.

Martin Page

Martin PageSongwriter Interviews

With Bernie Taupin, Martin co-wrote the #1 hits "We Built This City" and "These Dreams." After writing the Pretty Woman song for Go West, he had his own hit with "In the House of Stone and Light."

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New York

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New YorkSong Writing

Our chat with Barney Hoskyns, who covers the wild years of Woodstock - the town, not the festival - in his book Small Town Talk.