Jean lived out near the Mall, so we decided to meet out her way. I was 14, maybe. An imbecile.
I remember a few things. Their priority will show why this was a middle school disaster.
On the bus out to the mall I heard Steppenwolf’s The Pusher.
I also heard Norman Greenbaum’s fantastic Spirit in the Sky.
My buddy Bobby’s brother suggested that if the word “tissue” came up one should say –Tissue, I hardly know you.
We were in the camera shop when Jean said tissue.
“Spirit in the Sky” is up there with “Snoopy V. the Red Baron” and “Honey” and “Incense and Peppermints” and “2525” as one of the worst, most overrated piece of shit songs ever. Just because Jesus is in there everyone goes apeshit. What crap.
(sorry, channeling Steve there, but still my opinion.)
Snoopy vs. the Red Baron was on the first sort of non-kids album I ever owned. I have no affection for Bobby Goldsboro but Honey is a monster of cheese, and the better for it. I’m pretty sure I have the original picture sleeve 45 of Incense and Peppermints. And you’ve got to be going all cranky to run down on 2525 and suggest that my affection for Spirit in the Sky is because they mention Jesus.
Jesus Guzman, maybe.
I think of that handful of songs as great pop overstatements, music that meets a different need than what we would call good music. A lot of music that tries to hit that pop spot is terrible, puerile pandering crap.
But these five songs have the courage of their convictions, they’re loud and proud and pretty interesting in at least one loud and proud way.
They’re not great rock and roll, but I like them.