EVERY UK NUMBER ONE SONG: ‘Spirit in the Sky’ – Norman Greenbaum

What was the number one song in the UK on 2nd May 1970?

American singer-songwriter Norman Greenbaum, reached number one for 2 weeks with Spirit in the Sky.

Oh, now we’re really entering into the classic 70s glamrock sound. I initially heard of this song, when I first played my beloved Bostin’ Steve Austin LP by Fuzzbox in the late 80s. My parents were slightly confused and perturbed when hearing the Fuzzbox version of Spirit in the Sky. Now, as much as I love and still have a lot of affection for Fuzzbox, this original version by Norman Greenbaum is far superior. It’s an immensely fun song complete with gospel backing vocals, clapping hands and a distorted guitar sound (created by using a…fuzz box. Ah). Greenbaum was inspired to write the song after watching a gospel performance on TV. Interestingly, despite the references to Jesus throughout the song, Greenbaum is in fact Jewish.

Lyrics

When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that’s the best
When I lay me down to die
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that’s the bestPrepare yourself you know it’s a must
Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you die
He’s gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
Gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
That’s where you’re gonna go when you die
When you die and they lay you to rest
You’re gonna go to the place that’s the bestNever been a sinner I never sinned
I got a friend in Jesus
So you know that when I die
He’s gonna set me up with
The spirit in the sky
Oh set me up with the spirit in the sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I’m gonna go to the place that’s the best
Go to the place that’s the best

The Playlist

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