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"Sheep Go to Heaven"
Single by Cake
from the album Prolonging the Magic
Released 2001
Format CD
Recorded 2000
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:44
Label Columbia Records
Cake singles chronology
"You Turn the Screws"
"Sheep Go to Heaven"
"Short Skirt/Long Jacket"

Sheep Go to Heaven is a single by the alternative rock band Cake from their 1998 release Prolonging the Magic.


Track listing

  1. "Sheep Go to Heaven" (Edit) - 3:47
  2. "Never There" (Live) - 03:23
  3. "Is This Love?" (Live) - 04:30
  4. "Sheep Go to Heaven" - 4:44


The title of the song is a reference to Jesus's parable of "The Sheep and the Goats" found in The Gospel of Matthew chapter 25. The following verses can be found in the King James Version of the New Testament:

31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.
32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.
33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

Another of this song's more obscure references is in the line "And the gravedigger puts on the forceps." This is a quote from the second act of Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot. In which the character Vladimir is heard to say, "Astride of a grave and a difficult birth. Down in the hole, lingeringly, the grave digger puts on the forceps. We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries. But habit is a great deadener". While seemingly random, this in fact links in to the reference of the parable in Beckett's Waiting for Godot, where one boy heards sheep and is saved, whilst his brother heards goats and is beaten.

Just as obscure is the line "The carpenter will take you out to lunch." This appears to be a reference to the carpenter from Lewis Carroll's The Walrus and the Carpenter. In Carrol's poem the walrus and carpenter invite oysters to join them only to later devour them. Some people interpret the carpenter as Jesus and the walrus as Buddha with the oysters as the followers of organized religion.

While it is uncertain, the line "The Barber can give you a haircut" may be a reference to death as well. The term "a public haircut" was an expression used for people who were about to be beheaded. However this is unlikely. A more accurate interpretation is from Lewis Carroll's Barbershop paradox where by a paradox, one barber must be there from not being there and therefore he can give you the haircut you want.

The song also references Dionysus' half man/half goat drunken companions, the Satyrs: "I just want to play on my pan pipes. I just want to drink me some wine."

Music video

The music video for "Sheep Go to Heaven" is animated, and features members of Cake dressed as a KISS cover band, playing in a sports bar. A disgruntled employee of a greeting-card company enters the sports bar with a machete, and massacres the crowd, sending the band to Heaven. Later, the employee is convicted, executed, and sent to Hell. The video was directed by Mark Kornweibel.

Chart positions

Year Single Chart Position
2001 Sheep Go to Heaven Modern Rock Tracks (US) No. 16


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