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Album: Permanent WavesReleased: 1980
Jacob's Ladder is a reference from the Bible's Old Testament, Genesis 28:10-22. Jacob has a dream about a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
Neil Peart (Rush Backstage Club newsletter, December 1985): "This song simply describes the phenomenon of the sun breaking through the clouds in visible rays, as it sometimes does after a rain or on a cloudy day. The actual name seems to be one of those traditional names for natural things which has probably been around for ages. I think Geddy actually suggested the idea to me, after hearing his mother-in-law use the name. It had a nice sound to it, and of course the event itself is a beautiful and inspiring one."
In the April 1980 issue of Sounds
magazine, Neil Peart explained how the song was written: "Whereas most of the ideas we were dealing with this time were on the lesser side, and in some cases, like in 'Jacobs Ladder,' looked at as a cinematic idea. We created all the music first to summon up an image - the effect of Jacob's Ladder - and paint the picture, with the lyrics added, just as a sort of little detail, later, to make it more descriptive."
Rush songs have extremely challenging drum sections, but according to Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy
, this one is the hardest to play.