Monday, February 25, 2008

Thanks, and peace, to Larry Norman

Larry Norman, the original Christian rocker, passed away early yesterday morning (Sunday, February 25, 2008). Though not known to many younger fans of Christian music, Larry Norman was there at the beginning of Christian rock music. When I was growing up in church and going to camp we often sang his song "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" (later covered by DC Talk). The band I now play in, Unfinished, have one song that we have played at every gig in our history - "The Rock That Doesn't Roll", also by Larry Norman.

As true for many of the early leaders of any movement, Larry Norman has been largely unnoticed in the Christian music scene in recent years. Most likely, he probably never profited to the extent that many of the genre's artists do today. But his impact is enormous, and who knows what Christian music would be like without his influence.

A number of years ago, while attending the Ichthus music festival in Wilmore, Kentucky, I was walking through one of the more secluded areas of the festival site when I noticed a guy with a beard, long hair, and a guitar singing for four or five people under a tree. I still remember thinking "that surely isn't Larry Norman." It was! I walked over and joined the handful of other people listening to him and he provided us with a wonderful time as we talked and listened to him play. How many other legends in music would be so accessible?

Larry had many health problems in recent years, mostly heart related, and in the end his heart was too weak to continue. His heart will always be a part of Christian music and it is better because of his influence.

Rest well, Larry, in the arms of God.

1 comment:

Brian T said...

I am late in hearing this sad news. I also went to several Ichthus music festivals in Wilmore. How fortunate you met him there!