Album: Harbinger (1994)
Play Video


  • As the birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem shows up in a lot of songs, often as a metaphor. That's the case here, as Cole sings about her own Bethlehem, which is her hometown of Rockport, Massachusetts. She grew weary of the routines and yearned to get away, but she also got straight As and became class president.

    "I really did love my community and I really did care about them in a spiritual way, so I think we all kind of agreed that I'd lead the class, for better or for worse," she told Songfacts.

    That initiative paid off: Cole went to the Berklee College of Music in Boston and got a record deal in 1993. "Bethlehem" was included on her first album, Harbinger, in 1994. Her second album, This Fire, earned her seven Grammy nominations and main-stage status on the Lilith Fair.
  • Cole references this song in "Tiger," a track from her next album, This Fire. In that song, she's left Bethlehem and is "not that girl anymore."
  • After Cole had her daughter, Sky, and took a break from the music industry (2000-2007), she moved back to Rockport, Massachusetts - a return to Bethlehem.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Edwin McCain

Edwin McCainSongwriter Interviews

"I'll Be" was what Edwin called his "Hail Mary" song. He says it proves "intention of the songwriter is 180 degrees from potential interpretation by an audience."

Michelle Branch

Michelle BranchSongwriter Interviews

Michelle Branch talks about "Everywhere," "The Game Of Love," and her run-in with a Christian broadcasting network.

Gary Lewis

Gary LewisSongwriter Interviews

Gary Lewis and the Playboys had seven Top 10 hits despite competition from The Beatles. Gary talks about the hits, his famous father, and getting drafted.

Trucking Songs That Were #1 Hits

Trucking Songs That Were #1 HitsSong Writing

The stories behind the biggest hit songs about trucking.

Chris Fehn of Slipknot

Chris Fehn of SlipknotSongwriter Interviews

A drummer for one of the most successful metal bands of the last decade, Chris talks about what it's like writing and performing with Slipknot. Metal-neck is a factor.

90s Metal

90s MetalFact or Fiction

Test your metal - Priest, Maiden, and Beavis and Butt-head show up in this one.