Huey Lewis and the News – Jacob’s Ladder

First Hit #1: March 14, 1987

Jacob’s Ladder is a weird song, about trying to brush off evangelists in the verses, and just having a pretty catchy chorus about climbing a ladder in the chorus. It’s got the sound of a typical Huey Lewis song – the band had perfected their formula by this point and weren’t going to risk changing it – but lyrically it’s a pretty much a better Imagine. I know that people are going to object to that, but it’s actually a more thought out version of the idea that you don’t need salvation, and you don’t need what people are hawking around you. The declaration that wanting tomorrow to simply be better than you are today is just as simple and direct as anything, but it is a pretty clear message of self actualization and gives something to strive for as a short term message. Jacob’s Ladder strives for profundity under the layer of being a pretty typical Huey Lewis number, and it’s pretty strong for it.

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One Response to Huey Lewis and the News – Jacob’s Ladder

  1. RBerman says:

    Bruce Hornsby wrote this paen to humanist individualism. In the Bible, Jacob’s Ladder is a metaphorical path to heaven which Jesus identified with himself. It’s not explicit, but one suspects the protagonist of this song sees himself forging a path apart not only from street preachers and TV/radio evangelists (who were sources of more public scandal than usual when this song came out) but also apart from any lofty aspirations at all. Like Jack and Diane, his horizon is tomorrow, which is kinda sad, especially in a song that portrays him as jocular and thus clueless as to what he’s missing.

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