The Song From ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ John Lennon Praised

The Guardians of the Galaxy films made a greater use of music than most superhero franchises. The soundtrack of both films brought many classic hits from the 1960s and 1970s back into the spotlight. One of these songs was famously praised by John Lennon in a Rolling Stone interview.

John was always incredibly honest about his opinions on music. When he praised a song, it certainly gave the song credibility in the eyes of many fans. Here’s a look at a rock song from the 1970s that’s apparently still resonating with audiences — at least partially because of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

John Lennon | George Stroud/Express/Getty Images

The ‘simple’ rock song John Lennon liked

In a Rolling Stone interview, Jann S. Wenner noted how the music in the Plastic Ono Band’s album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was sparse. John replied “Well, I’ve always liked simple rock. There’s a great one in England now, ‘I Hear You Knocking.’ I liked the ‘Spirit in the Sky’ a few months back. I always liked simple rock and nothing else.”

‘Spirit in the Sky” is a classic rock song by Norman Greenbaum. It remains popular, partially because of its distinct opening riff. Greenbaum opened up about the song’s origin in a Rolling Stone interview.

The origin of ‘Spirit in the Sky’

“Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum

RELATED: Pink Floyd: Why a Marvel Hero Was Almost Part of ‘Dark Side of the Moon’

Greenbaum revealed the song’s lyrics were inspired by a television performance by Porter Wagoner. Wagoner was a country music legend. He’s particularly remembered for his work with Dolly Parton.

Greenbaum recalled “One particular day, [Wagoner] did a song about a miner that was up in the hills, digging for gold. He hadn’t been to church [or] prayed for, like, years and years. And for some reason, he decided it was time to go back. So he took his viola, came all the way back into town, and when he got to the church, there was a note on the door that said, ‘The pastor’s on vacation.’”

This anecdote inspired Greenbaum to write a religious song, as did a postcard with the phrase “spirit in the sky.” According to Rolling Stone, Greenbaum classified “Spirit in the Sky” as a Christian gospel song even though he’s Jewish. He noted there’s simply a larger market for Christian music than there is for Jewish music.

‘Spirit in the Sky’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

A preview for Guardians of the Galaxy that uses “Spirit in the Sky”

RELATED: Disney’s CEO Lashes Out Over Criticism of Marvel Movies

Many younger people associate the song not with Jesus but with Guardians of the Galaxy. That’s because the song was used in the film as well as some of its trailers. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, director James Gunn personally chose the song for inclusion in the film. Gunn is a big fan of power pop and felt that “Spirit in the Sky” and the other songs on the soundtrack serve as the movie’s emotional core.

“Spirit in the Sky” is a great song. It spoke to both John and Gunn. It will likely remain popular for years to come — in no small part because of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Also see: Were John Lennon & Yoko Ono Going to Play Jesus & Mary Magdalene?