Grandma's Hands

"Grandma's Hands" is a song written by Bill Withers about his grandmother. It was included on his first album Just as I Am (1971), and was released as a single, reaching number 18 on the Best Selling Soul Singles chart and 42 on the Billboard Hot 100. In Canada it reached No. 37 in the RPM Magazine charts. The song was produced by Booker T. Jones and also featured drummer Al Jackson, Jr. and bassist Duck Dunn from Booker T. & the MG's.

Withers' maternal grandfather, Grackus Monroe Galloway, had been born into slavery. As a boy Withers would attend church with his grandmother, Lula, where she would sing and clap along with the hymns. He later said: "It was spontaneous singing, there was nothing programmed. People got up and sang and everybody would join in. It was my favourite kind of singing."

A central theme of the song is the protective and nurturing force of the hands, as expressed in the last verse:

The song has since been covered by many other artists, including Keb' Mo', Al Jarreau, Kristy Lee, Meg Mac, Merry Clayton, Livingston Taylor, The Staple Singers, Gladys Knight, Tony Orlando, Barbra Streisand, Gregory Porter, Will Downing, Take 6, Josh Garrels, Marti Pellow, Starsailor, Gil Scott-Heron, Everlast, Jeff Lorber, Paddy Casey in Today FM's Even Better Than The Real Thing and Ron Kenoly. It is also sampled for the hook of Blackstreet's "No Diggity" and "Shout" by Shout for England.

This page was last edited on 3 June 2017, at 19:30.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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