Texas born musician Larry Norman, also known as the "father of Christian rock music" died at his home in Salem, Oregon on February 23; he was 60 years old. KNET radio has said Norman influenced a variety of musicians such as Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, U2, and the Pixies' Frank Black.
With songs like "Why Should the Devil (Have all the Good Music?)", Norman described his music as a street fight rather than something for Christians. In 2007, CCM Magazine had asked Norman if his 1969 album Upon This Rock was a "Christian" album, Norman responded: "No, it was not a Christian album for those believers who wanted everything spelled out. It was more like a street fight. I was saying [to Christians], I'm going to present the gospel, and I'm not going to say it like you want. This album is not for you."
Norman's brother, Charles, posted this on Larry's official website:
Our friend and my wonderful brother Larry passed away at 2:45 Sunday
morning. My wife Kristin and I were with him, holding his hands and
sitting in bed with him when his heart finally slowed to a stop. We
spent this past week laughing, singing, and praying with him, and all
the while he had us taking notes on new song ideas and instructions on
how to continue his ministry and art.
Several of his friends got to come and visit with him in the last couple
of weeks and were a great source of help and friendship to Larry. Ray
Sievers, Derek Robertson, Mike Makinster, Jerry Albertini, Charles
Thompson, Tim and Christine Gilman, Matt and Becki Simmons, Kerry
Hopkins, and a few more. Thank you, guys. Larry appreciated your visits
very much. And he greatly appreciated the thoughts, wishes, support and
prayers that came from all of you Solid Rock friends on a daily basis.
Thank you for being part of his small circle of friends over the years.
Saturday afternoon he knew he was going to go home to God very soon and
he dictated the following message to you while his friend Allen Fleming
typed these words into Larry's computer:
I feel like a prize in a box of cracker jacks with God's hand reaching
down to pick me up. I have been under medical care for months. My wounds
are getting bigger. I have trouble breathing. I am ready to fly home.
My brother Charles is right, I won't be here much longer. I can't do
anything about it. My heart is too weak. I want to say goodbye to
everyone. In the past you have generously supported me with prayer and
finance and we will probably still need financial help.
My plan is to be buried in a simple pine box with some flowers inside.
But still it will be costly because of funeral arrangement,
transportation to the gravesite, entombment, coordination, legal papers
etc. However money is not really what I need, I want to say I love you.
I'd like to push back the darkness with my bravest effort. There will be
a funeral posted here on the website, in case some of you want to
attend. We are not sure of the date when I will die. Goodbye, farewell,
we will meet again.
Goodbye, farewell, we'll meet again
Somewhere beyond the sky.
I pray that you will stay with God
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye.
Thank you to all of you who were so nice to my brother over the years.
There will be a public memorial ceremony for Larry at 10:00 AM on
Saturday, March 1st at The Church on the Hill, 2707 Maranatha Ct.,
Turner, Oregon, just south of Salem.
Peace to you all in Christ,
You can leave a message for Larry's family at the Larry Norman Message
Christianity Today has reported recently that a documentary on Larry Norman's life is due sometime in 2008. For more information please visit www.larrynorman.com.
Writer: Soul Shine Staff