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Long haired preachers come out every night,
try to tell you what's wrong and what's right;
But when asked how 'bout something to eat,
They will answer with voices so sweet:

You will eat, bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky:
Work and pray, live on hay,
You'll get pie in the sky when you die.

Workingmen of all countries unite;
Side by side we for freedom will fight.
When the world and its wealth we have gained,
to the grafters we'll sing this refrain:

You will eat, bye and bye,
When you've learned to cook and fry;
Chop some wood, t'will do you good,
And you'll eat in the sweet bye and bye.

--Joe Hill, 1910


Joseph Hillstrom was working with the Wobblies and became Joe Hill in 1910. Along with his tracts he also penned this little anthem the same year as a parody of the Salvation Army hymn In the Sweet Bye and Bye (put to music by Joseph Philbrick Webster in 1868)--making his point in a very eloquent and catchy way. The "preachers" of the title do not necessarily represent the church but are pretty much any authority that promises vague future rewards in return for shutting up and swallowing the lie.

The song was first published in the Industrial Worker "Little Red Songbook" on 1911-07-06. At the time it was credited to F. B. Brechler. A subsequent 1913 edition credited it to Joe Hill under the title of The Preacher and the Slave.

This song is believed to be the origin of the phrase "pie in the sky" and is often referred to by that title.

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