Sunday, December 24, 2006

I got a friend in Jesus

There’s a great story in today’s NY Times (use Bugmenot to get past annoying registration) about one-hit wonder Norman Greenbaum who hit the charts in the early 70s with “Spirit in the Sky.” Even though Greenbaum spent a period of time working as a chef in California restaurants, he’s become that rare artist who can essentially live off his single hit:

At last count, “Spirit in the Sky” has been featured in 32 movies (including “The Longest Yard,” “Ocean’s 11,” “Superstar,” “Apollo 13” and “Wayne’s World 2”) and more than a dozen national television ads (for companies like Nike, HBO, American Express and Toyota). “Spirit in the Sky” has also appeared on at least 50 compilation CDs and in more than a dozen television shows, and has spawned innumerable cover versions, two of which were major international hits in their own right.
Even though Greenbaum signed away his publishing rights long ago, he still gets a $10,000+ check every time that fuzzy guitar riff is used in a movie or commercial. Groovy.

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