Friday, February 29, 2008

Larry Norman has left this planet...

If you don't know who Larry Norman is, you should. It was Larry Norman who created what became known as Christian Rock, and opened the door for what eventually became the contemporary Christian music scene. He sang Christian lyrics over blues riffs and rock licks before almost anyone.

He was decried as non-Christian by the mainstream church and a Jesus Freak by the secular music scene.

Larry's lyrics at a glance seemed irreverent to some, but his love of God was intense and his music was more honest and real than any ten of today's top Christian recording artists.

"They nailed Him to the cross
and they laid Him in the ground,
but they shoulda known you can't keep a good man down."

That was Larry. He also wrote a song that made it's way into some Church hymals. Many might be surprised to find that the writer of "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" was a long-haired rocker who crooned about the devil having all the good music.

He touched the lives of many of the major rock personalites of the 60s and 70s. It was at a Bible study in Larry's kitchen that Bob Dylan had his brush with Christianity which produced a few albums with Christian content.

Larry's vocals could be harsh and sometimes nasally so, he wasn't really cut out for radio airplay, but much like his friend Bobby, he could craft words into a precision instrument that would cause a listener to erupt in laughter while listening to one track and shed tears upon listening to the next.

Larry Norman was a huge influence on me and showed me that there is more to being a Christian than looking the part and spouting the latest Christianese jargon. He didn't really fit in here on earth with the sinners or with the saints, but according to his own lyrics penned over 25 years ago, he was "only visiting this planet" anyway.

Larry Norman passed away a few days ago after a long term bout with heart problems. He was 61.

He has moved on to a realm where he fits in perfectly.


Blogger Scott L. said...

Lanny - thanks so much for posting the news about Larry. As you know, Larry Norman was a huge influence in my life as well. Back in the day when I was learning to play guitar, I learned to play many of Larry's songs along with Stonehill and others. Like Larry said, he was only visiting this planet.

March 01, 2008 8:54 AM  

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