“Spirit in the Sky” is one of those songs that will live forever. Written by American singer-songwriter Norman Greenbaum, the song is an extremely cool rock tribute to Jesus (aka ‘The Spirit in the Sky’). Ironically, Greenbaum was an inveterate hippie raised in an Orthodox Jewish family!
The song, which he apparently wrote in 15 minutes, was an insane hit back in 1969. So much so that it has actually topped music charts on three separate occasions by three different musicians. Greenbaum claims to have been inspired by famous American singer Porter Waggoner, whom he saw singing gospel on TV one night.
"She's Not Just Another Woman" by 8th Day
Holland–Dozier–Holland was a songwriting and production team that was behind many of the hit Motown songs of the 60s and 70s. In fact, many people credit them for defining the Motown sound of the time. They were the creative geniuses behind the hit 1971 song "She's Not Just Another Woman", performed by R&B group, 8th Day.
The hit tune reached number 3 on the US R&B chart and number 11 on the US Pop chart. The single was released on a self-titled album by 8th Day, sold over a million copies, and was certified gold.
"How Long" by Ace
Most chances are you wouldn't know the band Ace, but you'd certainly recognize their hit song "How Long." The bass riff at the song's opening is unmistakable and is still revered by many to this day. But ironically, and perhaps what makes the song so unique, is that despite its epic opening riff, the song is actually a soft rock ballad.
The story behind the song is slightly less nice. As it turns out, Ace's lead singer found out that their bassist had been playing with another band. But, despite its not-so-happy origins, Ace hit a goldmine with this 1974 hit, which went on to be covered by A-list musicians like Bobby Womack and Rod Stewart.
"Venus" by Shocking Blue
If you never heard the original 1970's version of "Venus", you've probably still heard it about a thousand times from the famous Venus women's shaving razor commercials. But thanks to the tune basically becoming a TV anthem, many don't remember, or even know, that the original was sung by the band Shocking Blue.
The four-member band from the Netherlands wrote the timeless psychedelic song as a nostalgic goodbye tribute to the music of the '60s. We guess naming a song after a Roman goddess paid off since the song topped the charts in nine countries shortly after its release.
"Ride Captain Ride" by Blues Image
Blues Image was a cool Tampa-based band of rockers that released an incredible groove in April of 1970. "Ride Captain Ride" became the band's massive hit single, reaching number 4 in the US and Canadian charts.
The song told the story of '73 men who sailed up from San Francisco Bay. ' And why 73? Because that was the number of keys on band singer Mike Pinera's piano. Even though this was the only Blues Image smash hit, the song was later covered by famous band Blood, Sweat and Tears, and it had a second chance of fame thanks to being featured in the movie 'Anchorman'.