pie in the sky
The phrase is originally from the song “The Preacher and the Slave” (1911) by Swedish-American labor activist and songwriter Joe Hill (1879–1915), which he wrote as a parody of the Salvation Army hymn “In the Sweet By-and-By” (published 1868). The song criticizes the Salvation Army for focusing on people’s salvation rather than on their material needs:
- 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.
- A fanciful notion; an unrealistic or ludicrous concept; the illusory promise of a desired outcome that is unlikely to happen.
- pie-in-the-sky (adjective)