Spirit in the Sky (3:02)

Cover of Spirit in the Sky

From Spirit in the Sky and 253 other releases

“Spirit in the Sky” is a song written and originally recorded by Norman Greenbaum and released in 1969. The single sold 2 million copies in 1969 and 1970 and got to number 3 in the U.S. Billboard chart, as well as number 1 on the UK, Australian and Canadian charts in 1970. Rolling Stone ranked “Spirit in the Sky” #333 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song was featured on the 1969 album of the same name.

Cover versions by Doctor And The Medics and Gareth Gates have also made the number 1 spot in the UK.

Original version by Norman Greenbaum

Greenbaum had previously been a member of psychedelic jug band Dr. West’s Medicine Show and Junk Band. When they split up he won a solo contract with producer Erik Jacobsen, who had previously worked successfully with The Lovin’ Spoonful. He was inspired to write the song after watching Porter Wagoner on TV singing a gospel song. Greenbaum later said : “I thought, ‘Yeah, I could do that,’ knowing nothing about gospel music, so I sat down and wrote my own gospel song. It came easy. I wrote the words in 15 minutes.”

“Spirit in the Sky” contains lyrics about the afterlife, making several references to Jesus. However, Greenbaum, who identifies himself as Jewish, stated that he had no particular religious intentions with the song.


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