Doctor and the medics

COVER vs ORIGINAL: ‘Spirit In The Sky’

The song, “Spirit In The Sky”, was originally recorded by Norman Greenbaum in 1969

Psychedelic, hippy anthem, “Spirit In The Sky” was written and recorded by rock artist Norman Greenbaum (b.1942) for his album of the same name. The single was released in December 1969 and went to number one around the world, although it peaked at No.3 on home territory, although sales were so buoyant that it became the 22nd biggest seller of the year.

Two significant versions of the song exist, perhaps the best known of all three is the 1986 version by British band Doctor (Clive Jackson, b.1961) and The Medics, who has been together since 1981 but without a hit. Their recording of the song was also a chart topper, once again in the UK and around the world. Although released in America, it stalled at No.69 there.

Incredibly, the song was back at number one for a third time in March 2003 in the UK when former Pop Idol winner Gareth Gates took his recording to the top of the charts as the official Comic Relief charity single of that year. The song also featured on his second album, “Go Your Own Way”.

But whose version is the best? NORMAN’s original, DOCTOR AND THE MEDICS’ 80’s classic or GARETH’s millennial number one?

Take a look at some of the other posts in this series and don’t forget to follow the playlist.

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So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!