Rolling Stones songs: Hand of Fate
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
He was a barroom man, the violent kind/ He had no love for that gal of mine…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany, March 25 1975; Casino, Montreux, Switzerland, Oct-Nov. 1975
Guest musicians: Wayne Perkins (lead guitar), Billy Preston (piano) , Ollie Brown (percussion)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
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.”
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“Hand of Fate” tells the story of a man on the run after killing someone out
of love for a woman. The ominous hand of fate is on me now, he declares.
During an interview in 1976, Mick Jagger explained: “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
The use of two different expressions relating to the world of gambling
the wheel of fortune and my chips are down, is presumably aimed at
conveying the idea that the man on the run is simply a pawn in a process
that is beyond his control.
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