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More tracks by gregwilson
Norman Greenbaum ‘Spirit In The Sky’ (greg wilson edit)
Never previously shared.
This is a much loved song of my youth, which spent a couple of weeks at number 1 in the charts in May 1970, when I was 10. It’s one of those tracks that has a vibe all of its own, which is probably a major part of the reason why the artist, Norman Greenbaum, never had another hit and has ever since been numbered amongst the ‘one hit wonders’ – those who’ve topped the chart with their one and only hit.
It was always a highly rated single in this country, but in 1986 the associations with the song were altered when Doctor & The Medics took it back to number 1 – the groups novelty faux-psychedelic image rubbing off negatively, so the song was also devalued to hippy-dippy novelty.
Then, in 2003, things hit rock bottom for ‘Spirit In The Sky’ when ‘Pop Idol’ runner-up Gareth Gates joined forces with The Kumars, a UK comedy show family, to take it to the top of the charts for a third time. In the process a once great song was degraded to pure cheese.
I only hope that one day people in the UK will be able see beyond the Gareth Gates and Doctor & The Medics versions, and the track will regain its original credibility as a pop classic.
I took the opportunity to do this edit ahead of the ‘06 into ‘07 Low Life New Year party at the Corsica Studios in London. The Low Life parties always have a fancy dress theme and it was Pop this night, so I thought of some suitably poptastic tunes to play and ‘Spirit In The Sky’ was one of those that sprung to mind. I ended up putting together an edit that extended the track by three and a half minutes, which is what’s been uploaded here.
Some might regard this as a guilty pleasure, but it’s a far better record than that. Sharing it here will hopefully help flag up this fact to a few people who might have previously disregarded it due to the unfortunate associations that have dogged the song for the past 25 years.
Greg Wilson – August 2011