Cover Versions

Spirit in the Sky

Spirit in the Sky

Song: Spirit in the Sky
Artist: Gareth Gates and the Kumars
Artists: Doctor and the Medics
Original artist: Norman Greenbaum

Given the title of this song and its religious references
perhaps it should come as no surprise that the Norman
Greenbaum original is a very popular choice for memorial
services. Many a funeral director ranks it second only to
Danny Boy.


Greenbaum released the song in late 1969 and it charted
in numerous countries, notably making No 1 in the UK.
The song places Greenbaum high on the list of one-hit
wonders. It sold two million copies in the States and
peaked there at No 3. In the Rolling Stone magazine’s
Greatest 500 Songs of All Time it ranked at 333.
It’s strange to reflect that, given the song’s length (just
more than four minutes) Greenbaum’s record company
was originally reluctant to release it as a single.


Many disc jockeys regard the Doctor and the Medics’
version as one of their go-to tracks when they want to
spark a reaction from their audience members and get
them up and moving.

The Doctor version was released several years later in
1986 and reached the top of the charts in the UK where it
stayed for three weeks.
The song was also taken to No 1 in the UK by Pop Idol
runner-up Gareth Gates (with the Kumars) in 2003 when
his version became the Comic Relief single that year. It
was his fourth UK No 1.

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