Larry Norman died this last Sunday, and I had never heard of him until today. I have no idea how I missed him all these years.

In 1969 Larry came out with a Christian rock album, something which had never been done before. His comment about that album:

“I wanted to push aside the traditional gospel quartet music, break down the church doors and let the hippies and the prostitutes and other unwashed rabble into the sanctuary…I wanted to talk about feeding the poor, going into the world….[I felt that] most of the modern music was anemic and needed a transfusion.”

Today I’m listening for the first time, and I’m really digging it. The music is classic 70’s rock, sounding a great deal to me like Lynyrd Skynyrd and at times like Kansas. I think his voice is very similar to Don McLean‘s, though someone else in my office thinks it’s like Jim Croce.

Those growing up in conservative Christian circles in the 70’s and 80’s (like me) may remember all the fire and brimstone aimed at “Christian Rock”, the devil’s music. It was all because of Larry. He started it, and he took piles of it, and he took it in stride and kept on doing what he did.

I suggest you try it, if for no other reason than the history.

6 thoughts on “Larry Norman has died.

  1. You work at a Christian radio station and you’d never heard of Larry Norman? I’m glad you dig his stuff. I’ve not really been a fan of Christian music for some time now, but I’ve always had utmost respect for Larry. He was and always will be the MAN in CCM.

  2. He Works at a Radio Station Formerly Known As Baptist! Amy Grant and Keith Green were Verbotten!

    Larry also wrote “I Am A servant”

    He has a lot of other styles too – my favorite album is Something New Under the Son, but I also like singles like “He’s the Rock that Doesn’t Roll” and “Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music”

  3. It seems as if sometime between Larry and the 90s, Christian Rock turned from Larry’s vision of “rock from Christians reaching out to the rest of the world” to “rock which Christians can listen to while remaining safely insulated from the rest of the world.”

    I bet that annoyed Larry.

  4. Larry never got much radio play. When he came out, “Christians” didn’t play his music, and by the time they got over it his music was “old”, and people want “new”.

    Ed, I completely agree.

  5. Dude! Oh man, we missed something in your education someplace. :-D

    True story – my grandmother once sat on a plane next to Larry Norman. She told him about her grandson who is a musician – how embarassing. Said that he was “a nice boy.”

  6. Yeah, why should the devil have all the good music?

    I wish we’d all been ready is his as well, I think.

    Hey, your comments popup box is too small to see all of the comments in FF I end up copying and pasting into Word (gasp) to read previous comments. FYI…

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