Norman Greenbaum’s 1970 ‘Spirit in the Sky’ still rocks to this day

Norman Greenbaum’

Norman Greenbaum was a singer-songwriter who always had a psychedelic edge. He was even too psychedelic for the 1960s. Does anybody remember his novelty hit, ‘The Eggplant That Ate Chicago’?

Norman Greenbaum’

Norman would later go solo and push his style more into folk-rock. He recorded the original song ‘Spirit in the Sky’ in 1969. Between 1969 and 1970, it sold two million copies.

‘Spirit in the Sky’ has become a pop culture staple. There have been many covers of the song, and it’s appeared in countless movies. You can probably think of a few right now.

Nothing will beat the original, though. In this classic music video from the 1970s, Norman plays the guitar and sings with accompanying clappers. He plays on the beach and top of hills.

Norman sings the rather existential lyrics about dying with enthusiasm and power. The women next to him clap along to the beat when present in the shot.

Norman Greenbaum’

It’s very fitting for Norman to be playing this song in nature. There’s a very Earthy quality to its lamentations on contentment. It also fits with the energy of the music that should get you up and sway.

When the women are not clapping, they’re dancing along to the song. You can see many of these shots when the video goes into the guitar riffs over the lyrics.

If the song wasn’t already psychedelic enough, the video adds some heavy doses of color. The women and Norman become drowned in silhouettes of many colors. These color pairings include red & black as well as orange & green.

Norman Greenbaum’

The video wants to make you clap along. One shot features clapping hands surrounding Norman as he plays in the background. There’s undoubtedly a trippy effect to how it appears.

Before Norman and the women hop along to the closing guitar riff, the video also features nature shots. We can see water on the beach and clouds in the sky. We also see a cross, symbolizing the spirituality of the song.

‘Spirit in the Sky’ seems to have a Christian theme, but Norman is Jewish. He would mention that his biggest inspiration for the song was Westerns. Knowing this, it might be time to use this song in more Western movies.

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