SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 3) -- 27/12/1973

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SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 3) -- 27/12/1973

VintageVideos
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Spirit In The Sky (Version 3)
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Performed by Norman Greenbaum and reaching number 1 in the UK charts
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Original broadcast date 27/12/1973 Duration of dance - 2.30 mins
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Dancers: Babs, Cherry, Dee Dee, Louise, Ruth
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A link to the dance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihM1bqIKYBY
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American singer-songwriter Norman Joel Greenbaum is generally regarded as a one-hit wonder, even though several of his releases were minor hits in the US in the 1960's. For example, he recorded the novelty song "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago" with 'Dr. West's Medicine Show and Junk Band' which peaked just outside of the US Top 50 in 1966.

Surprisingly, Norman has claimed that "Spirit In The Sky" was inspired by Western movies: "These mean and nasty varmints get shot and they wanted to die with their boots on. So to me that was spiritual, they wanted to die with their boots on." Whatever the origin, the song became immensely popular and went to No. 1 in the UK and No. 3 in the US in 1970. The elements of gospel music combined with psychedelic rock and a distorted fuzz guitar appealed to the hippie movement and casual radio listeners alike.

Pan's People originally danced to "Spirit In The Sky" on TOTP 02/04/1970, but, alas, this show has been wiped. A second version was - probably - performed on 26/12/1970. More than three years later Pan's People were hired for a third routine of SITS when the BBC was celebrating the 10th anniversary of TOTP. The show was called "Ten Years of Pop" and aired on 27/12/1973 between 5.45 and 6.35 pm. It was a mix of archived clips and new performances, hosted by Jimmy "The Monster" Savile.

Now, generally I do not use the word "horrible" in conjunction with Pan's People. But I'm afraid it is unavoidable here. I just cannot find another word to describe my feelings when this routine starts. Never has Babs looked as horrible as in the opening scene of SITS V. 3. And Ruth. And Louise. And Cherry. And Dee Dee. Whoever had the idea to paint their faces like that deserves to listen to "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago" for 24 hours non-stop.
Of course I understand that the intention was to illustrate the contrast between the 'spirits' and the 'humans'. But at what cost! Moreover, the 'spirits' keep appearing in the background for most of the routine looking like an Indian goddess with their arms stretched - just not as colourful!
Fortunately we're also treated with a bit of nice dancing by the 'humans' but I don't think it's very exciting. We don't get any close-ups (apart from that $&#% opening scene), and the dark (black?) onesies simply don't appeal to me. I mean, is this a funeral or what? (Come to think of it, it possibly is!)

Sorry, ladies, but this routine doesn't do anything for me. It's one of the rare Pan's People turkeys which will never find a place on my playlist.

3 / 10

DotD: ok just to compensate what I said about Babs, she will be my DotD.

Now I'm all set for the rotten tomatoes!
Vin
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

PansLegs
[compact critique]  Interesting idea and the choreography works well but the resulting image is quite bland and the white make-up stark. It's one of those cases where repeating the original 1970 Pan's performance within the ten years programme would have been preferable. 4/10 DotD Babs
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

PattiForPM
In reply to this post by VintageVideos
I don't mind watching this but admittedly it is no classic.  As my two friends have already mentioned the white make-up is the real culprit here and it is quite ghastly.  The bright star/sun background is also a bit distracting.  I quite like the song though and the dark suits are comely enough and the Hindu God arm effect is well done.  The Dance also fits the surging nature of the song quite well too in my opinion so I am awarding 6.5/10 and would say there are considerably worse PP Dances from my perspective.  DotD is problematic as there's no franchise player here really.  I think I'll give Ruth a nod as I don't think I give her enough credit generally for her fine dancing and she is first to stand up each time if you see what I mean.  
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

Paperboyplod
In reply to this post by VintageVideos
It's very clever how two completely different shots of dancers, blend together like that, starting off with the chromachy screen with the ladies wearing face masks, & wigs projected onto it, followed by the live stage appearances by them, & appearing to be dancing on a raised platform, with some considerably larger ghostly looking girls peering over, & the girls on stage seemingly trying to mimic their arm movements, it all gets rather frantic, & by the end of the sequence one needs to take a breather.

8/10

DotD:-

Babs
Justin
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

RYAN
Administrator
Yes it was a bold step to disfigure our lovely dancers in such a way, but it works pretty well for me. I think Flick captures the `spirit` of this classic 70s song quite nicely in this routine and i applaud her bravery for doing so. I wonder how it went down at the time though, did the good ole boys watching in 73 also take the same stance as our venerable host !

DOTD-Well `Babs` does stand out and shes my choice.

Rating--`9 out of 10`
RYAN
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

Suefan
In reply to this post by VintageVideos
This routine has certainly grown a little on me over the years.  True, the white face paint is initially a little off putting, but then the contrast of the back projection as against the on stage ladies works well.  My major disappointment is no close up of the girls in their black numbers so just a 6 with Babs  Dotd.
Suefan
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

Suefan
In reply to this post by RYAN
RYAN wrote
......did the good ole boys watching in 73 also take the same stance as our venerable host !
This old boy wasn't too keen, but he has mellowed ever so slightly since then!
Suefan
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

Mikey
Ok, not one i regularly visit but i do think there are some good ideas here. Despite looking like they just finished a flour fight the ghostly multi headed/armed 'spirit' is a kind of cool representation, the way the arms rise and fall in sequence is excellent and i like the sunburst effect that dominates the background.

I felt the foreground dancing part lets it down a bit, but the two parts combined are still a worthy routine.

7/10
DOTD Babs
♥♥♥♥ Cherry, Louise, Patti and Ruth Alliance ♥♥♥♥. If there's a cure for this I don't want it.

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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

Old Grey Whistler
I think the song is really good (so long as Gareth Gates isn't singing it) and I like the dance as well.  I think the arm effect works well and I have no problem at all with the way the girls have been made up on the back screen.  As others have mentioned, it would have been good to have seen some close ups and it's a shame that we are unable to compare it with the original.
Nevertheless I enjoy watching this one so I will score it 9 out of 10 and give Babs the DOTD.
Without Legs & Co, there would be no show!
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

Gorgeous Daze
It's at least as much the zombie visages, rigid arms, and the black void as the ghastly white faces and hair that make this less than pleasant viewing. Heck, it's meant to be - albeit sardonically - a celebration of the afterlife, but it's like watching the devotions of a death cult. OK, we have Shiva arms (rather than the embrace of Jesus), a bright new celestial dawn, and dancing in, er, black, but the tone is off the mark and there's not enough to allay the creepiness of the undead. Close-up sunny smiles would've gone a long way...I like the spring-heeled clappy opening but otherwise the choreography makes little appeal. With her central position Babs has DOTD by a blonde mane.

Creative but much too dark and sombre to register far on the crucial Pleasure-ometer.  5/10
Steve
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

PattiForPM
I like the Pleasure-ometer concept GD and will use it for my marking in future too.  Also I trust BB will forgive me for messing up his sweetheart's streak, although I fear Canada may miss another Commonwealth Games over this.  I didn't anticipate Babs being so overwhelmingly popular in this one I must admit
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

VintageVideos
PattiForPM wrote
Also I trust BB will forgive me for messing up his sweetheart's streak
It's never wrong to vote for Ruth
Vin
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

SuPaLu
The all in white spirit-dancers look great and i love all the arm movements.The idea of having spirits in contrast to the living ones in the studio is good,and is well done.All in all i think it's a great routine and visually very striking.9/10
DotD:Ruth
Glenn
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

Andeebee
fun but flawed routine, but enjoyable none the less, the clown face look was done better a few years later, but not overtly off putting. Some of the dancing is a bit naff and clumsy.  Again would prefer the original to view. Alas.

Scores: 9/10
DOTD: Scary face Ruth
Hopelessly Devoted to Sue

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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

PaulF
Painted faces a bit distracting but the girls carry off the dance well. 7/10

Ruth looking good in black but the more prominent Babs gets my DOTD vote.
Paul
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

BeautifulBabs
In reply to this post by VintageVideos
VintageVideos wrote
PattiForPM wrote
Also I trust BB will forgive me for messing up his sweetheart's streak
It's never wrong to vote for Ruth
If you have to apologise you know you have only given a sympathy vote p4pm
On the street or even at the picture show
Doc
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

Doc
I'm going against the flow with this one, I like it. It appears Flick has decided to have two completely opposites on the screen although I'm not sure what they are representing. Maybe the white girls are supposed to be in heaven, unfortunately they look anything but heavenly! All the same the contrast works for me and it's good that she was prepared to try new things out. Sometimes it fell a bit flat and sometimes it was pure genius. Now wouldn't it be nice to see if the Boxing Day 70 version was better 9/10.
Dotd: For looking the best in a facepack I'll give it to Cherry.
Sandy Borne and Tricia Roberts Appreciation Society
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

Suefan
White face painting to represent the spirits of ancestors can be found in the traditions of several so called primitive cultures.  I also have the vaguest memory of a school trip around that time which included a visit to an exhibition of such art which was being held somewhere in the capital.
Suefan
Doc
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 2) -- 1973

Doc
The multi armed girl reminded me of a hindu spirit or god.
Sandy Borne and Tricia Roberts Appreciation Society
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Re: SPIRIT IN THE SKY (VERSION 3) -- 27/12/1973

VintageVideos
In reply to this post by VintageVideos
VintageVideos wrote
... the 'spirits' keep appearing in the background for most of the routine looking like an Indian goddess with their arms stretched ...
Vin
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