Religious Rock Top Ten: Spirit in the Sky (#10)

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@FourWalls (49225)
United States
November 22, 2022 10:50am CST
For Thanksgiving and the upcoming Hanukkah/Christmas season I’m counting down my ten favorite songs from the era of rock with religious overtones. Although that was generally the late 60s through the mid-70s, you can still find traces of it today. I mean, Don Henley recorded “The Unclouded Day” on his first solo album in 1982! But these were all hits. Maybe I’ll do the album cuts later. Meanwhile, here’s the one everyone probably thought of right off the bat. #10: Spirit in the Sky - Norman Greenbaum This song, according to Norman Greenbaum (who was raised, and still is, an observant Orthodox Jew), was more inspired by “Ghost Riders in the Sky” than hymns. Stating that he grew up watching westerns, the thing that went through Greenbaum’s mind was the antithesis of the bad cowboy “trying to catch the devil’s herd” in the Stan Jones song that’s been made famous a billion times in western, country, and even rock. Here we have the “good cowboy” who has “never been a sinner, I’ve never sinned,” so he will be wearing the “white hat” (the symbol of the “good guy” in the old westerns) in eternity. Only in the 60s could you get a song like this from inspiration like that. Spirit in the Sky Written by Norman Greenbaum Recorded by Norman Greenbaum From Spirit in the Sky, 1970 When I lay me down to die:
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12 people like this
13 responses
@TheHorse (165982)
• Walnut Creek, California
22 Nov
I never really liked that song, though I do remember it. Sh*t. Is that going to be my morning ear worm? Is My Sweet Lord gonna be number 1? Inquiring minds...
2 people like this
@FourWalls (49225)
• United States
22 Nov
No and no. Remember, my favorites not what was the biggest hit.
3 people like this
@TheHorse (165982)
• Walnut Creek, California
22 Nov
@FourWalls I actually liked My Sweet Lord, even if some of it was "borrowed."
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (49225)
• United States
22 Nov
@TheHorse — the court said “stolen,” not “borrowed.”
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (293719)
• Rockingham, Australia
23 Nov
I love this song. Thanks for the link too.
2 people like this
@FourWalls (49225)
• United States
23 Nov
Hey, I’m doing great this countdown thus far!
2 people like this
@JudyEv (293719)
• Rockingham, Australia
23 Nov
@FourWalls Bring it on! Bring it on!
1 person likes this
@BarBaraPrz (39300)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
22 Nov
I've always liked it, even if he wrote it just to show how easy it was to write a hit song... or so I once heard. Unfortunately, he never had another hit.
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (49225)
• United States
23 Nov
@DWDavis — maybe he was just stoned.
@FourWalls (49225)
• United States
23 Nov
Well, there was this song that predated “Spirit in the Sky”….
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2 people like this
@DWDavis (20696)
• Pikeville, North Carolina
23 Nov
@FourWalls The Eggplant that Ate Chicago must be a metaphor for a giant vegetable consuming a large metropolitan area. Yes, I'm tired, very tired right now.
2 people like this
@DWDavis (20696)
• Pikeville, North Carolina
23 Nov
I always thought this song was an attempt at reflecting the indigenous tribes' belief in the one spirit creator. Perhaps this is what comes from a Jewish boy writing a song inspired by westerns.
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (49225)
• United States
23 Nov
@DWDavis — that’s more like it!
1 person likes this
@DWDavis (20696)
• Pikeville, North Carolina
23 Nov
@FourWalls I shall amend my conclusion: Perhaps this is what comes from a stoned Jewish boy writing a spiritual song inspired by westerns.
1 person likes this
@NJChicaa (109846)
• United States
22 Nov
Yup. Love it.
2 people like this
@FourWalls (49225)
• United States
22 Nov
But it’s so old!!
2 people like this
@DWDavis (20696)
• Pikeville, North Carolina
23 Nov
1 person likes this
@LouAvul (2246)
23 Nov
Of course I know this one. I can sing every word. Wanna hear it? No, trust me, you don't. I can't carry a tune in a bucket as they say.
2 people like this
@FourWalls (49225)
• United States
23 Nov
My bucket is dented, that’s how badly I sing. The funny thing is I can easily play songs by ear, but I just cannot sing.
2 people like this
@RasmaSandra (59573)
• Daytona Beach, Florida
23 Nov
Always loved this song, the music is so inspiring,
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (49225)
• United States
23 Nov
This is a perfect introduction to late 60s rock!
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (165982)
• Walnut Creek, California
24 Nov
I hadn't realized he was an Orthodox Jew. But I never really researched him.
@Dena91 (18652)
• United States
23 Nov
Mike and I just heard this one a couple of days back in something we were watching.
1 person likes this
@Dena91 (18652)
• United States
23 Nov
@FourWalls No it was in a tv show....and for the life of me I can't remember what it is right now
1 person likes this
@LindaOHio (109106)
• United States
23 Nov
I LOVE this song...so does hubs.
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (49225)
• United States
23 Nov
Cool! You have at least one song to come back to when the country song shows up.
2 people like this
@TheHorse (165982)
• Walnut Creek, California
23 Nov
@FourWalls House of Gold by Hank Williams, Sr.?
1 person likes this
@dgobucks226 (31544)
28 Nov
That was one rockin' religious song! Actually, you could say... "That's the spirit!" For that tune lifts one's spirits when hearing it And a spirit in the sky seems way better than the other place
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (49225)
• United States
29 Nov
Yeah, people didn’t want to think about hell until the Stones wanted sympathy for the devil!
@CarolDM (198381)
• United States
22 Nov
A great song to have as a favorite. Glad you are sharing these.
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (49225)
• United States
22 Nov
It’s so psychedelic 60s with the sound effects, isn’t it! Absolutely perfect for the time!
1 person likes this
@CarolDM (198381)
• United States
22 Nov
@FourWalls That is the 60s for sure. My sister loved this era.
1 person likes this
• Southend-On-Sea, England
22 Nov
Sounds good. I listened to the song.
1 person likes this
@FourWalls (49225)
• United States
23 Nov
Glad you liked it.