Jacob's Ladder

Album: Fore! (1986)
Charted: 1

Songfacts®:

  • After extolling the power of love" and letting us know it's hip to be square, Huey Lewis & the News hit us with this "Jacob's Ladder," a song about a dancer being pursued by a fat man offering salvation. His offer is tempting, but she rejects it, telling him, "All I want from tomorrow is to get it better than today."

    Rockers have a history of taking on religious evangelists, often naming them. This one doesn't name any names, but could apply to any preacher who preys on the desperate, looking not to improve their spiritual well being, but to get what's left of their money.
  • This was written by Bruce Hornsby and his brother, John Hornsby. Huey Lewis helped produce Bruce's debut album The Way it Is, and also sang on the track "Down the Road Tonight."

    John Hornsby explained: "To us, the song is really about one persons' personal goal and on the other hand it does deal with certain media evangelists who preach 'sing along, send money, join the chosen few.'"
  • The title "Jacob's Ladder" refers to a dream in the Book of Genesis, in which Jacob had a dream in which he saw a ladder ascending to Heaven with angels climbing up and down it. At the top of the ladder stood God and he reiterated the promise he made to Jacob's grandfather Abraham that he will have numerous descendants who will live in the land that he has promised to them.
  • Huey Lewis climbed all the way to the top of the American charts with this release. It was his third and last American #1.
  • Bruce Hornsby recorded a version which was included on his second album, Scenes From The Southside, in 1988. He regularly sings it in concerts.

Comments: 1

  • Charles from Charlotte, NcThe first verse in Hornsby's song: "Met a fan dancer on the southside of Birmingham" refers to an actual incident that took place in Birmingham AL when Hornsby was there for the University of Virginia's appearance at a bowl game circa early 1980s.
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