Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head
|song name||Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head|
|artist||They Might Be Giants|
|releases||They Might Be Giants, 4 From They Might Be Giants, 1985 Demo Tape [Hello Re-issue], Then: The Earlier Years, Best Of The Early Years, Direct From Brooklyn, Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants, A User's Guide to They Might Be Giants: Melody, Fidelity, Quantity, 50,000,000 They Might Be Giants Songs Can't Be Wrong|
|first played||May 17, 1985 (151 known performances)|
|sung by||John Flansburgh|
- John Linnell wrote the song's music and the chorus (all seven words of it). Linnell on the song (from a 1994 interview):
On some songs, like for example, "Puppet Head"...I wrote the song, and I didn't like the verses. So I gave it to John [Flansburgh], and he filled in all the blanks.
- The spoken break ("Memo to myself...") was added at the last minute during the recording of 1985 Demo Tape. Flansburgh has confirmed that the line "Do the dumb things I gotta do" is based on an actual series of notepads that was popular at the time, such as those seen here.
- The lyrics "Quit my job down at the car wash / Didn't have to write no-one a good-bye note" are most likely inspired by the song "Guitar Man", made famous by Elvis Presley. It begins "I quit my job down at the car wash / Left my mamma a good-bye note".
- Flansburgh briefly described the song's lyrics in a 2021 Tumblr ask: "The lyric revolves around the idea that looking back on anything colors it in sentimentality. So the ultimate message is to wake up from that."
- The arpeggiating synthesizer in this song is likely the "Funny" preset on a Casio keyboard.
- The music video, made before the album came out, uses a slightly different mix of the song. This mix is also featured on the Hello re-issue of the 1985 Demo Tape.
- Per the commentary from Direct From Brooklyn, the music video for this song, directed by Adam Bernstein, was filmed on the tails (pieces of film cut if a whole scene cannot fit on them) of the movie Married to the Mob. It was shot in an empty lot next to Con Edison plant, at North 12th St & Kent Ave in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. This was also the shooting location for the duo couch interview scenes in Gigantic.
- Flansburgh talked more about the song's music video in a 2019 interview:
In 1985 [sic], before we had any record deal at all, we were approached by an ambitious young man named Adam Bernstein who wanted to direct a rock video. He said he would pay for it and that he had no budget, but that contradiction didn't seem so important. As he seemed to have no credits, we figured he was probably doing it for the practice. The video for "Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head", entirely improvised save for some dance moves stolen directly from New Edition videos, was shot on the docks down the street from our Williamsburg apartments. It got a fair bit of play on late night MTV and helped us land a deal with two fellows running an independent label out of Hoboken called Bar/None Records.
- In the original script for Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman's film Being John Malkovich, this song was going to run over the end credits.
- The song can be heard in the background of a chase scene from the 1988 John Cusack movie Tapeheads.
- In 2022, "Weird Al" Yankovic stated that this is his favourite song by They Might Be Giants.
Animals, Aversion To Work, Body Parts, Doors, Falling, Fire, Hands, Heads, Love, Misanthropy, Occupations, Puppets, References To Other Songs Or Musicians, Religion, Sadness, School, Spoken Word, Streets, The Senses, Traded Tracks, Transportation, Writing, Zombies Or The Undead
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Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head is currently ranked #27 out of 910. (264 wikians have given it an average rating of 9.07)