Saturday, January 19, 2008

Spirit in the Sky

While listening to the radio the other night, a favorite song from years ago came on the radio: "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum. This song, heard in several movies over the years, such as Apollo 13, embodies what I consider to be the best of rock: a hard-driving bass line, a growling guitar, fun lyrics, innovative sound effects, and a beat that inspires energy in the listener. It is one of the finest examples of what I call "a song with muscle". And, after nearly 40 years, it still sounds fresh and exciting. It was included in Rolling Stones' 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and also VH1's Greatest One-Hit Wonders.

This song also brings back a personal memory for me as well. In the spring of 1970, when I wasn't quite 12 years old, my mother was hospitalized for several days. One rainy afternoon, my father and I went to the hospital to visit with her. In the car, while on the way to the hospital, this song came on the radio. I can remember turning it up and listening intently, accompanied by the slap, slap sound of the windshield wipers keeping time with the beat.

When my mother died 18 months later, I was reminded of that afternoon, and the words provided some comfort to me then. I don't always relive the memory of that afternoon when I hear the song now, but it's never entirely forgotten, either. Either way, this song will always remain on my list of all-time favorite songs.


Patty said...

Isn't it amazing what can trigger a memory?

Kathy said...

When I saw the title of this post in my reader, I instantly started singin' it. Love it. So many songs take me back to a certain time and place. Sometimes good, sometimes bad.