Music Legend Norman Greenbaum Relaunches Official Website – Spirit In The Sky

11/16/07 – Santa Rosa, CA – “I’m going up to the Spirit in the Sky – That’s where I want to go when I die…”, the words and music hum through the minds of anyone who has listened to top-40 radio in the past four decades. Music legend Norman Greenbaum penned and recorded the hit song “Spirit In The Sky” in late 1969, which rocketed to #1 in the U.S. and Great Britain. Named song of the year by Cashbox magazine in 1970, the single would go on to sell over two million copies.

” ‘Spirit In The Sky’ is, without a doubt, one of the greatest recordings of the 20th century. We’re talking about, perhaps, the greatest, most definitive four minutes in the storied, glorious history of rock…”, writes Steve Roeser in Note 4 Note.

Recently, much to the elation of his fans, Norman Greenbaum has relaunched his official website – and has made available his much sought after CDs from the ’60s and ’70s, along with T-shirts, hats, mouse pads, signed photos and other memorabilia. Although Norman hasn’t recorded in recent years, he is very active with his new website, posting messages to his fans and making available rare photos for viewing.

“There can be no greater joy in life than being what they call, ‘a one hit wonder’. And when you’ve created an international chart smash that just about everyone remembers, then you can hold your head up with pride!” said writer Chris Welsh about Norman and “Spirit In The Sky”. In actuality, Norman Greenbaum had the rare distinction of having two ‘one hit wonders’, the first being the novelty hit “The Eggplant That Ate Chicago”, which he recorded in 1965 under the guise of Dr. West’s Medicine Show and Junk Band.

The story behind the song “Spirit In The Sky” is an interesting one. The original idea for the song came from Norman watching a performance on TV one night by country legend Porter Wagoner, who was singing about a preacher. This inspired Greenbaum to write a religious rock song. The intro to “Spirit In The Sky ” is one of the most memorable guitar intros in rock music history! “I played a Fender Telecaster through a Fender tube amp”, explains Norman. “A friend custom built the fuzz box, just a small something or other, into the body of the guitar with a switch. I didn’t slit the speakers. I fingerpicked and used lots of reverb. There really wasn’t much else done in the mix.”

Norman Greenbaum recorded several subsequent LPs and singles through the ’70s. Although critically acclaimed, none of them reached the height of success that “Spirit In The Sky” had. By the mid 80’s Norman had retired from music, yet the song would not die! In 1986 the band Doctor and the Medics recorded a cover version of the song which reached number one in Great Britain. Then, in 2003, the British television series The Kumars also scored a number one in the UK when they recorded “Spirit” with Gareth Gates, marking the 3rd number one for “Spirit In The Sky”. Besides being a massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic back in the early ’70s, “Spirit In The Sky ” has endured the test of time and is as innovative and exciting today as it was when first released, and continues to inspire young musicians everywhere. Eventually, the track would find its way into over 40 movies (such as Miami Blues, Contact, Apollo 13 and Wayne’s World 2) as well as a dozen TV commercials. Norman has been told by funeral directors across the country that “Spirit in the Sky” is one of their top requested songs to be played at memorial services, indeed an honor. Norman adds that there will soon be a ringtone available for all fans who do not want to get the riff out of their heads.

Now with the relaunching of Norman Greenbaum’s official website we can all once again go to the Spirit In The Sky.

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