January 1970 – Spirit in the Sky

January 1970 – a song popular in this month – Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum

“Spirit in the Sky” resonated with music fans. Released in late 1969, it peaked at No. 3 in April 1970 and sold two million copies. But Greenbaum’s other singles and albums failed on the charts. He eventually got dropped from Reprise Records, and attempts to find a new label failed because he was unwilling to return to the distinctive sound of “Spirit.” Frustrated, he gave up music, lost all his money and went to work as a cook in Northern California.

Interesting facts about Norman Greenbaum and the song Spirit in the Sky –

Set to be a “religious-Rock” song, Jewish Norman Greenbaum used “Jesus” thinking (correctly) that it would be more marketable this way…he was right. In his own words — “”I’m just some Jewish musician who really dug Gospel music. I decided there was a larger Jesus Gospel market out there than a Jehovah one.”

Not only this is a classic case of a “one hit wonder”, it was re-released by another “one hit wonder”, Doctor and the Medics.

The words to “Spirit in the Sky” took, by Greenbaum’s estimation, 15 minutes to write.

This song has been used in more than 30 major movies — including Maid to Order, Ocean’s 11, Apollo 13 and Guardians of the Galaxy — and featured in numerous national television ad campaigns.

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