Up Above My Head

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"Up Above My Head"
Song by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight

"Up Above My Head" is a Gospel song, originally recorded in the 1940s by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight as a duo.

"Up Above My Head (I Hear Music In The Air)"
Single by Al Hirt
from the album Sugar Lips
A-side "September Song"
Released October 1964
Genre Jazz
Length 2:14
Label RCA Victor
Writer(s) Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Producer(s) Chet Atkins
Al Hirt singles chronology
"Sugar Lips"
(1964)
"Up Above My Head (I Hear Music In The Air)"
(1964)
"Feelin' Fruggy"
(1965)

Style[edit]

The song is formed in the traditional call and response format, with Tharpe singing a short line followed by Knight's "response" of the same line. There are seven lines (save responses) in each verse—the first six in call and response, and the seventh sung in unison.

It was recorded as a duet by Frankie Laine and Johnnie Ray on October 17, 1956. The song formed part of a double A-side release in the UK in October 1957. The single combined "Good Evening Friends" with the more fuller titled "Up Above My Head, I Hear Music in the Air" (Philips PB 708), and peaked at number 25 in the UK Singles Chart.[1]

It was released as a duet by Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart (as Long John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men) in June 1964. It was as the B-side to United Artists UP 1056).

Al Hirt released a version of the song in 1964 on his album, Sugar Lips. The song went to #12 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #84 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2] Hirt released a live version on his 1965 album, Live at Carnegie Hall.[3] It was produced by Chet Atkins.[4]

This song was also performed by Elvis Presley in the 1968 TV special, Elvis. It was inserted in the gospel medley with the songs: "Where Could I Go But To The Lord" and "Saved". A blues version of the song was done by American singer/musician Ruthie Foster on her 2007 album;'The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster'(B001AI6ZGE). A roots reggae version also exists recorded by the British act Matumbi on their 1978 album Seven Seal (B0098HQO56)produced by Dennis Bovell.

Lyrics[edit]

"Up above my head (up above my head)
I hear music in the air (I hear music in the air)
Up above my head (up above my head)
I hear music in the air (I hear music in the air)
Up above my head (up above my head)
I hear music in the air (I hear music in the air)
I really do believe, I really do believe there's a Heaven somewhere."

Each additional verse is the same as the first, the word "music" replaced with another word (such as "singing," "shouting," et cetera). In the years following the song's introduction many have added more replacement words, which extend the song's length.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 451. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ Al Hirt's "Up Above My Head (I Hear Music in the Air)" Chart Positions Retrieved March 24, 2013.
  3. ^ Al Hirt, Live at Carnegie Hall Retrieved April 11, 2013.
  4. ^ "Up Above My Head" single release Retrieved July 12, 2014