Monday, August 5, 2013
Spirit In The Sky
A one-hit wonder type of song, "Spirit In The Sky" by Norman Greenbaum hit the record stores and airwaves late in 1969. Over the next year it sold some two million copies, reaching #3 on the Billboard charts on April 18, 1970. It stayed in the Top 100 for 15 weeks and did even better overseas ranking #1 in Austrailia, Canada, Ireland, Germany and the UK.
As I've told you there's always a Nashville connection, and that's particularly true with this song. Greenbaum (of the Jewish faith and ancestry as well as former member of the psychedelic group, Dr. West's Medicine Show and Junk Band), wrote the piece which contains several references to Jesus and the after life.
According to Wikipedia "he was inspired to write the song after watching Porter Wagoner on TV singing a gospel song. Greenbaum later said: "Yeah, I thought I could do that, knowing nothing about gospel music, so I sat down and wrote my own gospel song. It came easy. I wrote the words in 15 minutes." And here it is.....
In a 1970 ROLLING STONE interview John Lennon praised the song, stating that he "always liked simple rock and nothing else." The song lives on being featured in the video game ROCK BAND 2 and is ranked #85 all time in VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders.
Finally according to Greenbaum: "It (the song) sounds as fresh today as when it was recorded. I've gotten letters from funeral directors telling me it's their second most-requested song to play at memorial services next to 'Danny Boy'. "