My Long Strange Trip with Larry Norman

A couple weeks ago, I watched (and blogged about) the David Di Sabatino documentary film, Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher.  David was kind enough to drop me an email after that post, and kinder still to send me a copy of his more recent film, Fallen Angel: The Outlaw Larry Norman.

It’s odd that I ever got into Larry Norman music when I was in high school, but I did.  In spite of growing up in a mainline Congregational church and having to this day never heard a Randy Stonehill song (as far as I know), someone turned me on to Norman’s music and I loved it.

I didn’t get the millenial theology, that’s for sure — famously, Norman’s song, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” was used in the campy Christian rapture film, A Thief in the Night.  And Norman’s music didn’t sound like the other Christian rock that my evangelical friends foisted upon me: Petra, White Heart, and Stryper.

Instead, Norman’s music sounded more like my favorite music: Led Zeppelin and their ilk.  His songs were often driven with acoustic blues rhythms, and his lyrics were shockingly raw:

Gonorrhea on Valentine’s Day,
and you’re still lookin’ for the perfect lay.
Why don’t you look into Jesus,
He’s got the answer.

That was all a bit of a neck-snapper for this nice, white suburban boy.

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