Handwritten lyrics for "The Ladder" by Prince, unsigned, one page, 8 x 10.5, no date. Headed, "The Ladder, in who where thanx had passion each day looking 4 salvation of the soul," the lyrics read: "Once upon a time in the land of Sinaplenty / There lived a king who didn't deserve 2 be / He didn't know where he came from nor where he was going / He never once said thank [crossed out: u and shuddered at the thought of] saying please / Now this king, he had a subject named Electra / Who loved him with a passion uncontested / She smiled 4 him each day but it didn't matter / The king was looking 4 the ladder / [crossed out: Now everybody's looking 4 the easy road 2 heaven] / Now everybody's looking 4 the ladder / …Everybody wants salvation of the soul / …The steps u take r no eazy road / but the reward is great 4 those who want 2 go / (refrain) A feeling of self-worth will caress u / The size of the whole wide world will decrease / The love of God's creation will undress u / And time spent alone, my friend will cease / Chorus Chorus Chorus Chorus." In very good to fine condition, with some edge folds and tears, and a small bit of staining towards middle of page. From the collection of an early Prince insider.
Prince recorded the initial tracking for this song on December 23, 1984, at the Flying Cloud Drive Warehouse, and it became the eighth track on his seventh studio album, Around the World in a Day. The lyrics differ slightly in the recorded version; for example, the third line here reads, "He didn't know where he came from," while the recorded lyric is "He knew not where he came from." This is one of the many songs in Prince's canon to carry an overt religious message, in the vein of 'Controversy,' in which he recites the Lord's Prayer, and 'Let’s Go Crazy,' which opens with a preacher's sermon on the afterlife. This remarkable page of handwritten lyrics reveals Prince's process of creating such a song, complete with several struck-through lines that did not make it into the final product.
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