Larry Norman Leaves the Planet

Larry Norman 4/8/1947 - 2/24/2008I read over at about the passing of a legend, Larry Norman. Is it a) ironic or b) poetic or c) Him … that the day after Larry leaves this planet (he was just visiting after all) I am confronted with “Christian” music ahh… issues?

Here’s a couple of quotes from Larry from back before I was paying any attention to him:

  • “I’m pleased with what’s happening in England and Europe…but I’m not totally thrilled about the commercialisation of Christian music in America.”
  • [Christian music generally meant] “sloppy thinking, dishonest metaphors, and bad poetry.”


Badguy dragged me to one of Larry’s concerts in 2000 where I remember him almost bragging about NOT being on the cover of CCM. At the time as a new believer, I did not understand everything he was talking about.

Also, I found the following on Wikipedia very interesting:

Norman sought to help musicians who were struggling with drug problems in the 1970s. He began a Bible study called “The Vineyard” for actors and musicians, and as it grew Folk/rock performer Bob Dylan became one of the attendees. Dylan subsequently became familiar with Norman’s records Only Visiting This Planet and So Long Ago the Garden. During this period, he released three albums that were stylistically similar to Norman’s: Slow Train Coming (1979), Saved (1980), and Shot of Love (1981).

While Norman said in a 1984 interview that he didn’t know Dylan very well, he remembered thinking “This is the greatest album I’ve ever heard”” when Slow Train Coming was released. He said of the album “I’ll never write one as good as that, he’ll never write one as good as that, – nobody will. It touched me in every area. You know men in conflict, like Dylan was when he was dying to self and becoming a Christian are very interesting…We were all afraid that he would be overly affected by the evangelical simplicity of American mindlessness and write an album that wasn’t really worth his gift for poetry. That album is like a prayer, it’s a beautiful prayer, a social communion. It’s a communion for all the disenchanted people that are angry.”

see also and Wikipedia


6 Responses

  1. Ric,

    Ironically (hmmmm…..) I’m actually listening to Dylan’s “Infidels” album (the one after “Shot of Love”) as I surfed over to your blogsite.

    Larry Norman – I am sad at his passing (for us), but excited (and a tad jealous) that he’s now laughing with Jesus.

    Bob Dylan – I couldn’t agree more with what Larry had to say about Dylan’s first “Christian” albums. I remember those days in the early 80’s when the CCM types were so elated to claim Dylan as their own; desparately tried to get him to conform to the CCM mold; and ultimately SHHHHUUUNNNNNNEEEEDDDD him for his non-conformity. I doubt that Dylan could do anything less than what he was doing. I HIGHLY recommend that you get all of those albums. Slow Train Coming is truly beautiful in its complexity wrapped in simplicity wrapped in urgency wrapped in release.

    I was actually going to post some Derek Webb lyrics on your Christian music blog – see you there!


  2. Thanks B. I will have to relive the 80s through Dylan’s music. At the time I was more of a U2 fan.

  3. hmmm…even then you were being called by the Master.

  4. Actually, Larry WAS on the cover of CCM in the early days–back when it was folio sized, circa 1981.

  5. Cool! He must have been talking about a recent shunning event. I ask him next time we meet up. Thanks for coming by CC. Welcome.

  6. To see the trailer of the new documentary on Larrys life go to

    also to see the youtube of Larry’s abandoned son Daniel go to

    Daniel is 19 and lives in Melbourne Australia, he had very little contact or support from his father, Larry while Larry was alive

    Andrew, Australia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: