Prayers have been ascending since Saturday, March 28th, for the “Spirit in The Sky” singer-songwriter, Norman Greenbaum who is in critical condition and for the family of the motorcyclist who was killed in a car crash in northern California. According to NME and other reports, the California Highway Patrol identified Norman Greenbaum, 72, as a passenger in a Subaru Outback and Ihab Usama Halaweh, 20, in the 2004 Suzuki GSX-R600 which crossed paths at a Santa Rosa, CA intersection. There has been a lot of major concerns about the intersection because there is no light or stop signs so you have to guesstimate the distances and speed from an on-coming car to where you are trying to turn. The driver of the Subaru Outback, Bonita Perea, was able to make it out without any injuries. Investigators don’t believe there were any alcohol and drugs involved in the accident.
In April 2011, we covered William Shatner’s guest tracklisting for his album, Searching For Tom and it just so happened to feature Norman Greenbaum’s, “Spirit in The Sky”, played by Peter Frampton on the guitar. “Spirit in The Sky” along with other comprised songs from the early 1970’s was featured on the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 Guardians of The Galaxy soundtrack and released back in November 2014. Although Greenbaum haven’t released any new music in a very long time his musical presents in the industry is still prevalent and has been featured on television, commercials, films and probably in your vinyl collection. The timeless hit song, “Spirit in The Sky”, has been covered by the psychedelic rock band Doctor and Medics, Gareth Gates, Elton John, Bauhaus and many other great musicians. Many describe the song as a religious rock song due to the after-life lyrical references and Greenbaum’s influential background as a Jewish observant. The spiritual rock song was released by Warner Brothers Records in 1969 and sold well over 2 million copies and counting. During the late 1900’s and early 2000’s, the classic charted at number three in the United States and topped at number one in the UK. Around the same time “Spirt in The Sky” was released, Norman Greenbaum was composing with Dr. West’s Medicine Show and Junk Band. The psychedelic band produced a Billboard hot 100 hit, “The Eggplant that Ate Chicago”. The lyrics are humorous but yet intentionally emotionless as the band describes an alien-like egg plant that ascended from outerspace to eat Chicago because it was a sweet treat. In comparison to Greenbaum’s other work, it’s very experimentally different but not far fetch from his bluesy story-telling style.
Greenbaum has been a longtime native of Santa Rosa for many years. Positive vibes are flowing with much spiritual aspirations because he has “a friend in Jesus”.
To keep up with legendary Norman Greenbaum, visit his personal website