Auslander Authors Chapter in Book on One-Hit Wonders

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Philip Auslander, professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, contributed to One-Hit Wonders: An Oblique History of Popular Music, with a chapter on Norman Greenbaum’s 1969 song, “Spirit in the Sky.” The book, published by Bloomsbury on Feb. 24, 2022, covers 28 “one-hit wonder” songs released between 1956 and 2011 in individually authored chapters. The book analyzes the mechanics of success and the socio-musical contexts within which such songs became hits.  “Even as Norman Greenbaum’s ‘Spirit in the Sky,’ released at the end of 1969, slowly climbed the charts during the first half of 1970, peaking at Number 1 in the UK in March, Number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April, and at Number 1 on the Cashbox Top 100 in May, no one predicted that it would become one of the best known and most loved songs in American popular music,” Auslander writes. “Yet, fifty years after its initial release, it is ubiquitous: even those unfamiliar with ‘Spirit in the Sky’ as a radio hit probably have heard it in one of the more than 100 movies, television shows, and advertisements in whose soundtracks it has been included. Auslander’s research focuses on performance studies and musicology. His latest book, In Concert: Performing Musical Persona, was published on Jan. 4, 2021. Read more about his book and research in this article.


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: cwhittle9
  • Created: 02/28/2022
  • Modified By: cwhittle9
  • Modified: 02/28/2022

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