Dr. West's Medicine Show and Junk Band, who recorded the novelty hit "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago" in the late 1960s, had Norman Greenbaum as its leader and composer.
Greenbaum went solo as a folk singer and sent Reprise Records an original song called "Spirit in the Sky." The record was issued by Reprise in late 1969, and it immediately went to #1 in practically every market around the world.
In 1969 and 1970, it sold two million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It has since been featured in several films, commercials, and television shows.
Greenbaum claims that watching country artists perform a song on television prompted him to write the tune. In an interview, Greenbaum revealed that "Spirit in the Sky" was inspired by Western films.
Though Norman Greenbaum is known as a one-hit wonder, he really had two hits: in 1970, he released the cheery "Canned Ham," which reached number 46 on the American charts and number 26 on the Canadian charts.
He earned a solid amount of money through a career as a singer and songwriter.
Norman Greenbaum's net worth is currently estimated at $2 million.
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