Clap Hands
By: Beck Hansen, John King, Mike Simpson

Written by: Beck Hansen, John King, Mike Simpson

Versions:
  1. Clap Hands (3:21)
    Available on Guero and 1 other release.
    Credits
    The Dust Brothers: Beats, Hand Claps, Scratching
    Beck Hansen: Hand Claps, Human Beatbox, Keyboard / Synthesizer, Vocals
Unofficial Versions: [show/hide]
  1. Clap Hands (Instrumental) (3:21)
    Credits
    Mellow: Remix
 
 
Lyrics:
Clap Hands [Version (a)]:

I'll clap my hands along
And rattle on like a vagabond
I'll rip my uniform
And bend the floor to the early mornin'
I'll shake my dollar bill
And spend it all before the bombs'll kill me
I'll save my best for last and after that
Don't even ask me

Clap hands
That's right
Clap hands
Clap hands
That's right
Clap hands
Clap clap hands

I'll take my broken bell
And make it ring like a million churches
I'll scratch that kind of itch
Down in the ditch and switch my plates out
I'll drive to San Francisco
Death to disco, take my shirt off
I'll swim to Mexico
Don't tell the mermaids where I'm goin'

Clap hands
That's right
Clap hands
Clap hands
That's right
Clap hands

Clap hands
Clap hands

I'll clap my hands along
And rattle on like a vagabond
I'll rip my uniform
And bend the floor to the early mornin'
I'll shake my dollar bill
And spend it all before the bombs'll kill me
I'll save my best for last and after that
Don't even ask me

Clap hands
That's right
Clap hands
Clap hands
That's right
Clap hands
That's right
Clap hands
Clap clap clap hands
That's right
Clap hands
Clap hands
That's right

That was fresh
That that that was fresh
That was fresh fresh fresh fresh
 
The Song:

"Clap Hands" can be found as a bonus track on deluxe versions of Guero. It is one of those trash-can funky dance rockers Beck can do so well. The song really bloomed on stage, where it, somewhat surprisingly, had quite a long life. Beck would perform it in a number of drastically different ways: as a rock band, acoustic at the dinner table, and even 8-bit electronic (see below in the 'live' section).

On record, Beck does seem to be in total cruise control, and "Clap Hands" reaches back to a number of songs and ideas he'd previously and frequently touched on. On a micro level, "clap hands" echoes the chorus of "Where It's At," and there's lots of other recurring phrases here (vagabonds, broken instruments, switching plates, etc.).

More thematically, "Clap Hands" has a lot in common with other Guero and Information tracks of its time. Beck wrote frequently about music being a savior, or at least just a temporary distraction from one's troubles, and that's the core of "Clap Hands" as well.
 
Live:

Played live 108 times:
Earliest known live version: May 29, 2005
Latest known live version: March 26, 2009

"Clap Hands" has been a remarkably regular song in the setlists since 2005. I say remarkable since it is merely a bonus track, and not a regular Guero track. Despite that, the song's adaptability on stage has been impressive. There were even many nights when Beck played it twice!


2005-2006 Guero tour (rock band)

Many of the shows in summer of 2005 actually began with "Clap Hands." A loooong generic jam would be used to kick things off, before Beck would come out, say hello and rap bits of "Clap Hands" over it (usually one verse/chorus). One night it blended straight into "Black Tambourine." This version was regular through the summer of 2005 (May, June, July), and sporadic in 2006 (June 14, Sept. 26). As I said, sometimes Beck would leave off a show with "Clap Hands" like this, and then play it again later on at the dinner table:

2005-2007 Guero tour (dinner table version)

Also in the summer of 2005, Beck and his band took to playing now-famous dinner table jams. For a few songs in the middle of the set, Beck played a song on acoustic guitar while the band sat at a table, playing the silverware and plates as percussion. They did a few songs during this set, but most of the time (if not all) had "Clap Hands" flowing nicely from the slower and sadder "The Golden Age."

I don't believe there to be very many (or any?) picnic table sets that did NOT have "Clap Hands." Thus, he played this version of the song at basically every show for almost two years (from May 2005 - April 2007).

Beck also played this version on Saturday Night Live! That version has been taken off Youtube, but here's them doing it on a different TV show:



2008-2009 Modern GUilt tour (Gameboy 8bit version)

After a couple of months of Modern Guilt touring, Beck and his band introduced electronic Gameboy-style versions of "Hell Yes" and "Black Tambourine" into the set. A month after that, in September, they added "Clap Hands" into the electro mix. This lasted from September 2008 to March 2009.

It has not been played since.