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The Best Of Norman Greenbaum: Spirit In The Sky Import

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Amazon's Norman Greenbaum Store


Product details

  • Audio CD (29 July 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Repertoire
  • ASIN: B000007VL1
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 374,065 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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arrived as said and was so pleased
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x95446b7c) out of 5 stars 49 reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95765714) out of 5 stars NOT YOU'RE EVERYDAY ONE HIT WONDER 22 Mar. 2001
By Patrick Earley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I got this cd a couple years ago because I've always had a guilty pleasure for the song "SPIRIT IN THE SKY", which was heavily played on am radio when I was in highschool. It was a way overplayed hit back then that everybody eventually grew tired of, and it finally faded away. I also vaguely remembered his other single "CALIFORNIA EARTHQUAKE", which was a minor hit for about 5 minutes. But it was "SPIRIT IN THE SKY", with it's fuzzy guitar tone and the hand clapping rhythm that I found myself missing after all these years. To my surprise, after playing this album, I found Greenbaum to be an excellent songwriter. I expected to hear a lot of that Spirit in the Sky sound on here. But instead, this album has more of a country rock sound to it, with songs like "CANNED HAM", the hook laden "HOOK AND LADDER" (shoulda been another single), "DADDY I KNOW", with a great sounding fiddle, and a song that begs for a listen "THE DAY THEY SOLD BEER IN CHURCH". He even offers a little R&B sound with "JUNIOR CADILLAC", and a little gospel with "JUBILEE". And you get a few psychedelic rockers thrown in for good measure. This Best Of cd has a lot to offer with all his singles, b-sides, and rarities included. And there's not a clanker in the bunch. I think Norman Greenbaum, with his songwriting talents, could have been a big star. But he quit the music business for good in 1972 at the height of his popularity, and never looked back. For me, this album was a great trip down memory lane, and a pleasant surprise to boot!
49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95765768) out of 5 stars Sadly, only a few tracks pass the test of time 7 Sept. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I sought out this CD hoping that SPIRIT IN THE SKY was not just a fluke and that Norman Greenbaum would have some equally inspiring things to say about other subjects. SPIRIT IN THE SKY is the one song that makes Jesus out to be the coolest dude on the planet and accessible to every rebel of every generation. The song is so perfect I want it sung at my funeral to express the joy I want people to feel about my life and my eventual passing to walk with my Lord in a better place. Sadly, the majority of the other songs are amatuerish even if they are fun. They don't hold up well. I* highly recommend you save your money and buy the Rhino 70's CD HAVE A NICE DAY Volume 2 which has SPIRIT IN THE SKY plus a bunch of other top hit songs from the same few months of 1970, a few of which are also inspirational in nature like EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL by Ray Stevens and UNITED WE STAND by The Brotherhood of Man. That CD will show you that Hippie Ideals were still going strong in early 1970 despite the shocking end of the Summer of Love that was brought about by the Manson Family Murders.
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9576593c) out of 5 stars Hippie fun, but I think you had to be there�. 21 Aug. 2000
By Vincent M. Mastronardi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Let me just clarify something for everybody. Norman Greenbuam is indeed just a one hit wonder. While some of the songs on this collection might have a memorable through back sound to those good old rebel days of the late sixties early seventies. It is indeed a different time space you'll find on this disc and unlike something with a hard edge like Zeppelin; this stuff just doesn't age very well.
The only track that is everyone is going to really love is the fun "Spirit In the Sky". The beginnings of Christian rock? Hardly with a very catchy guitar sound and very universal understood lyrics. It's just a masterpiece of the early seventies with a little bit of revolt yet a load of enlightenment. Norman hits it very dead on with this combo of hard rock with female soul singers. I have no idea if this killer track was just an accident or something that is pure magic and genius combined. After that you have some rough follow ups like "Canned Ham" and the early yodel rock of "Weird" are just to quirky to enjoy as is the madness of the too dumb for words story song "The Eggplant that Eat Chicago". Surprisingly, some of these peaceful follow ups charted but not very high. You think a song called "The Day They Sold Beer In Church" would be interesting but it's a moral tale with a country twang. The real shocking part is that it was recorded in 1977 but sounds like one of his late sixties songs. I guess you just can't change your style no matter what. "Marcy" is good psychedelic rock tune that is very soft. Cool keyboard quality. You also get great pop potential in the smooth rock blues of "California Earthquake". After a few listens, its lyrics are catchy. "Back Home Again" is another winner with a nostalgic feel of music. Its lyrics seem his most personal with him even telling of his instant fame and going back to his loved ones.
This might be a good trip for those who just love light sixties/seventies rock, but those looking for another "Spirit In the Sky", dream on. The songs are interesting and have a very slow hippie feel to them and don't have half the energy or originality of that big hit. There are a few nice songs on here, but nothing essential at all. Unless you're into this kind of music or would like to give it a try, you might be best off just looking for a compilation with the hit.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95765f6c) out of 5 stars Days of Yesteryear! 27 Oct. 2000
By Always & Forever - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Some see Norman Greenbaum as just a 1960's drop out who had one big hit and then disappeared. I remember Norm as a person who played his guitar and sang in a coffee house in Hollywood, CA. He wrote music and lyrics that reflected not only the happenings of the 60's but also songs that showed just who he was and what he was about to be. In listening to this CD, I remember how good days were then and just how much people really cared for each other. His music makes me happy and I think that anyone who missed living and growing up in the 60's would love this CD. It has a great way of lifting you up. Spirit In The Sky was magical and still is. Wierd tells Norm's story during those days and his later songs like Back Home Again tell of his life later on. He is a genius with words and has a great power to make listeners want to hear the next cut, just because. I am only sorry there are not more of Norman's songs to enjoy. I hope you will give this CD a chance and I promise you, you will be glad you did! Canned Ham, Marcy, Skyline...amazing stuff.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95765f90) out of 5 stars The master of "Say what?? He did that?? Get outta here..." 5 May 2001
By R. L. MILLER - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
When I first heard Greenbaum's "Spirit In the Sky", I was unimpressed. During that era, "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Godspell" served as the musical litergy of what were then called "Jesus Freaks"--a hippie spinoff of Christianity who Kris Kristofferson also spoke for in his classic "Jesus Was a Capricorn". You know what I mean--"hey, man, I ain't no atheist just on account of I got long hair!". .... But one thing I hadn't known back then was that Greenbaum had also been responsible a few years before for the novelty classic "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago", a comical sendup of monster movie scenarios. The humor in that song is done in broad strokes, even down to an istrumental break in which Greenbaum does a vocal imitation of a Dixieland band--from trumpet to clarinet to trombone ("doo-wah-doo, doo-wah-doo...wah-wah, wah-wah"). No tape overdubs--he switches here and there among the instruments for 16 bars. It took me a few years and a developing appreciation if Dixieland before I was able to best appreciate that stretch. And thank God that one's available here. I get the feeling that Greenbaum, far from being an also ran of rock's most prolific and creative era, might very well have been Mark Russell before Mark Russell was Mark Russell.
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