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?