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A Tribute to Larry Norman 1947-2008
Two Years Ago
I was on my home from work when I heard the news that Larry Norman was dead... I didn't even know he was sick. To me Larry Norman had never aged past the photos on the album covers in my record collection.
Thing was I wasn't listening to a Gospel station. I was listening to WRMF 97.9 in Florida. Turns out the DJ was devastated and had to share with her listeners.
I was so lucky to find so much, and there is so much more. I cannot tell you what seeing his life play out on my screen has done for me. See as I have said before I was raised in the church. Larry Norman is one who was instrumental in changing the way Gospel Music became available to the youth of the time.
There are many I could name, Phil Keaggy of the Glass Harp, Randy Stonehill, whom Larry lead to the Lord. Randy Matthews, Honeytree, 2nd Chapter of Acts. Andre Crouch and the Disciples, Malcolm and Alwin. The list goes on and on.
The music world is different now, with American Idol, YouTube, and Myspace, among others where true talent can get noticed. In those days, if you weren't on the radio and with a major studio, you were self promoting.
My Favorite Song Great American Novel
Influencing a Generation or Two
I remember when my brother Joe (the musician in the family) started his first band. They wanted to be just like Larry Norman, and covered a couple of his songs, as well as writing their own.
As you watch these videos, and listen to the audience singing along, you will see that my brother and his friends were not the only ones.
I know it may seem cheap of me to let the videos carry the story, but how can I tell it, when he himself tells it better.
The next two videos are of the same song. I did this for a reason. Rocking Out is just that.
The second also has subtitles but I couldn't find one without them, and if I have to take it down, that's fine, I will. However, in this one he tells where he came from, and where the song came from.
Rocking Out Live
With a Little History of The song
More About Larry
Stuff I didn't know
The video to the right is a trailer for a documentary on Larry Norman. I watched and as he has changed and seems to be shed in the light of a Fallen Angel. Well you know I am a truth seeker and look at both sides. I would not be true to you, myself or to his memory to say he never did a bad thing, or a wrong thing in his life.
Larry Norman was a man, not a messiah. He changed a lot about how rock music was received. Kids were being told to burn records and books in that era. Presidents and Preachers were getting shot. He was a hand on an album cover, index finger extended toward the sky: "One Way"
Anyone doing research on the subject will find a video of a kid who claims to be Larry's son. Truth be told, I don't know, doesn't look like him. His mother says he is, other's say no. Again, being true to my research I find it is her word against Larry's. I know they were fighting it, but I do not know if the issue was resolved. I only put this here because I found it, and you would call me on it.
I do know that Larry Norman suffered a head injury in 1978 in a plane crash. The woman on the Internet claiming one of her four children is Larry's son claims the child was conceived in 1989. I had heard he had memory problems after the accident and had to even be taught the lyrics to some of his own songs. Maybe he himself did not know if this boy was his, or maybe she is just trying to get money. Her website asks for donations, as does the video on YouTube. The links below are her blogspot and then Larry's brother's rebuttal. You'll note in hers she has photos of Larry and her son. The third link is a blog written by someone who had personal visits from Larry just because his brother was a fan. Larry promoted a bootleg recording for them and also sang at his brother's funeral. Just because Larry Norman sat at a table with someone does not make that someone his son! If it does, then I have way too many fathers, because I've sat at a table with a lot of men old enough to be my dad.
Enough about what I didn't know. This is about Larry's music, to let you see and hear what I'd been missing.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That's why we have God's mercy and grace. God knows we're human. If you are not human, you may go. The next song here talks about failing. I have held it in my heart always. I wish I could fit more of his songs, but the montage at the beginning is a nice taste of those.
What follows is an except from his final performance, an interview, and a song he wrote for his friends.
Missing you Larry. Thanks for the music, and the lessons.
Update Sept.8, 2010: Praising God! I found a web site refuting the claims made about Larry Norman in the film Fallen Angel. I like to tell both sides where possible and this site really has the scoop. As I read I started to remember the rumors that are detailed, rumors that we as good Christians paid no mind to. The reason being that we know people lie! So here's the site:
Thank You Allen Flemming! I can't wait to read the biography. Larry Norman's music helped shape the person I am today.
A song I sang At Least Once a Day for Many Years
Interview with Larry
Larry's Picture of Heaven
Music by Larry Norman
Helping Mothers and Others
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