Saturday, February 11

Spirit in the Sky

I just read a story about Norman Greenbaum which I think is amazing and hilarious in a brilliant sort of way.

Now possibly you're wondering, who is Norman Greenbaum?
Well he's a musician who made many songs but only one that you remember. Spirit in the Sky, baby. Not a cover of this song, but thanks for thinking of Aretha.

I was listening to it on mynew Remember the Titans cd when I heard the lyrics and thought, Hmm. He's talking about Jesus.

Then I saw his name was Greenbaum and that struck me funny too. So I started searching to see what I could learn about Greenbaum.

Turns out he really is Jewish. I found an article written on Jewhoo that was fascinating.

Here's an excerpt from that profile: "The writing of Spirit is the story of a bunch of things coming together. Greeenbaum saw country singer Porter Waggoner on television singing a song about a preacher. That gave him the germ of an idea (after all these years, Greenbaum cannot even recall the name of the song). He determined that he was going to write a religious rock song. Greenbaum figured, much like the many Jewish writers of Christmas songs, that there was a lot bigger market for a song that mentioned “Jesus” than one that mentioned, say, some Hebrew name for G-d. He told me that the lyrics came really quickly. The music took months to work out."

I guess it's one of those truth is stranger than fiction things.

How could the lyrics come so fast? Well here they are:

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 best

Prepare 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 best

Never 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

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