Mike scolded me the other day for not having any blogs in March. 🙂 I need to work harder at putting blogging in my routine and get over the fact that I have little to say and just say something. I don’t mind a gentle reminder from time to time that’s been a while since I’ve blogged. You’d better send it in an e-mail though.. Sometimes I forget blogging exists. Did I mention that I am thinking about trying some ginkgo?
I am blogging today because I just learned some really sad news and thought you all should know. Larry Norman died of heart failure last month on February 24, 2008. He was a revolutionary song writer, a prophet, an evangelist and music producer. He led hundreds to Jesus and helped disciple many others through his music and testimony. He is known as the father of Christian Rock and has affected all our lives… even though we may not have realized it.
Larry had a heart for the lost and knew that he could reach his audience with the gospel through rock music. The secular music labels rejected him because he had too much Jesus in his songs and the Christians baned his music from their stores because they had too much rock. He started his own record label, Solid Rock and over the years produced a hundred solo albums and helped many other Christian artist, and in doing so helped Christian Rock to get its start.
Time Magazine once called Larry “the most significant artist in his field.” In the 70’s Billboard Magazine called him “the most important writer since Paul Simon.” He sung at the White House twice and at an 80,000 seat Olympic Stadium in Moscow once. In 2001 he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame alongside Elvis Presley. He was still singing and producing in spite of his illness near the end of his life.
I am glad he stuck it out and paved the road for so many others like Third Day, Switchfoot, and ___________ (fill in the blank with your favorite). Music is such a powerful tool and so many people have been lead to Jesus through the message of Christian Rock that would have never have listened to a hymn. Can you imagine a world without the song “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me? Would you have ever thought just a few years ago that hundreds of secular radio stations would be playing a song about worshiping Jesus several times a day at their listener’s request? Larry played a part in that happening.
My personal Larry experiences:
The first time I saw Mike out side of school he introduced me to Larry by playing several of his songs for me on his record player (Mike barked like a dog to one of them and scared me to death).
Months later I was honored to hear that my picture hung next to Larry’s in his college dorm room.
Larry’s “I wished we’d all Been Ready” and “Sweet, Sweet Song of Salvation” have been among my favorites.
Mike sung “The Tune” by Larry to me in our wedding.
Larry came to San Antonio once and we got to take the kids to meet him. He was very down to earth and enjoyed talking to just anyone. He signed a CD for us with a sketch of himself. Princess J was extremely flattered. His drawing of a face with long hair made her think it was of her. We all had a good laugh.
He has left a legacy of Christian faith for many generations. I am thankful for his life and for that of all the saints that have helped encourage us along the way to Jesus.
Gospel Music Hall of Fame Bio of Larry
CCM Mag’s report on his funeral