Larry Norman (1947-2008)

Larry Norman, the “father of Christian rock” passed away yesterday. His friend and colleague Steve Camp has the skinny, and a song dedicated to him called “If I was a singer”.


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I never met Larry but my wife who grew up in California heard him many times. In fact, his song “I wish we’d all been ready”, combined with that image of a lawn mower running without its operator in the movie “Thief in the Night”, scared the hell out of her and led to her conversion to Christ in the late 70’s. I don’t think she would embrace that form of eschatology anymore but hey – we both owe Larry a big thank you when we get to the next life. Larry’s website is

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Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)


  • Yeah i got the news this morning… and posted what he said— in his Goodbye on my blog…
    That one Hurts….. his music impacted not just my heart- but my head and how i walked with Jesus in Fierce independence ——- even way back then….
    He blessed my life immensely –
    I had posted a few of his You Tube videos just the other week- i was in a Larry mood!
    He’s flying free!
    xo K8

  • I knew he’d been very sick for a long while but when I read the news last night it still shocked me and brought a few tears.
    I got to meet him briefly about 20 years ago. What a talent. He’ll be missed.

  • May he rest in Peace. His famous song certainly encouraged a generation to get ready to meet their maker even if his theology of the Rapture was perhaps a little askew.

  • First off, I met Larry and had helped his parents do some clean up before they moved to Portland.
    Larry was instrumental in giving me the freedom to be the freak i am and still see I could sere and love Jesus.
    On a side note, for all the rhetoric and posturing that Steve Camp does I find it ironic he is honoring Larry as such. Larry claimed to be the one that started the Vineyard Church movement that John MacArthur seems to have a strong distaste for. Larry was a strong prophetic voice and a charismatic having come out of the Assembly of God background.
    I just find it a bit humorous and… dare I… a bit hypocritical of Steve to be so generous of his “friend” when there is a total lack of this elsewhere from Steve towards others.
    Yet, having said that I commend his “charity” at this time.

  • I remember listening to my Larry Norman cassette tape in the RV at a church camp (circa 1978) and hearing the “older folks” call it “devil music.” That was the moment I realized that church culture was changing and that I was on the side of change. Thank God for people like Larry Norman who translated God’s truth into the language new generations could understand.

  • I had the honor of meeting Larry this past September and was hoping to film him on his next trip to the UK. He was a hugely talented guy with lots of songs still in him, and had been through a real breaking process over the last few years– he was one of the first christian celebrities- the ozzy osbourne of christian rock– and paid the price for it.

  • Seems to me that you can appreciate someone even if you don’t really appreciate some of the things he has done.
    I doubt Larry would have been comfortable within any church setup.

  • Ah, my theology is far different from Larry’s, but back in the day, when I was in High School and College (1970s) I thoroughly enjoyed him. Saw him in concert in Portland. He was so deadpanned. He’d make a joke — unsmiling — you wanted to laugh but were afraid you’d offend him.
    He made comments too about the Christian bookstores that sold tickets to the concert but wouldn’t sell his albums because he was so subversive.
    May he rest in peace.

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