The album originates from sessions for a project to have been called Uzlot (a northern English pronunciation of "us lot") that Anderson had been recording in Big Bear, California, with Brian Chatton in around 1990. Chatton wrote most of the music, played keyboards and also sang. Anderson asked his then Yes bandmates Chris Squire and Alan White to play on the project too. At the time, Yes were preparing for a tour and Anderson put the master tapes in his garage and, as he has recounted, gave them very little thought for many years. In 2016, producer Michael Franklin contacted Anderson about using the tapes and finishing an album. Further recordings followed at Solar Studios in Orlando, Florida. Along with some newly written material, the final result is 1000 Hands.
As the album title suggests, the album was created with a number of guest performers, including Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson, Brian Chatton, Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain, Vanilla Fudge drummer Carmine Appice, Rick Derringer, the Tower of Power horn section, violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and pianist Chick Corea.