Yesterday, Larry Norman passed away. Larry is considered to be the first CCM and Christian rock artist. Larry inspired generations of Christian musicians from the ’60s up to the present, as well as countless fans. While he is best known for the music he wrote during the ’70s and early ’80s, he had continued performing well into this century. I was fortunate enough to have seen Larry perform live once or twice. It really was quite an experience. In addition, Larry was a friend to a friend of mine. The guitarist of one of my former bands played for Larry for a while, and was a personal friend of his. For these reasons, I am sad to see Larry go. I hope I’ll have an opportunity to meet him in heaven. Beyond being an inspiring songwriter, from what people say, he was a genuinely good guy, really and honestly loving and caring for people. I hope I can be like him in that way.
Here is what my friend Ken Tucker wrote:
This morning I received the news that I was sure was coming, but dreaded none the less. My dear brother, mentor, and friend, Larry David Norman, passed away on February 24th, 2008. Upon reading the news, my heart sank into the floor while my mouth went dry and my eyes got wet. How can grief of such magnitude be put into the confines of human language? He was my hero in youth. He said what needed said and did what needed done without regard to public opinion. The only opinion Larry cared about was God’s opinion. When Lisa Weyerhaeuser invited me to meet Larry at a concert she promoted, my prayer all the way to Chicago was, “Lord, I love Larry’s music…. Please don’t let him be a jerk. Amen.”. Well, He was the opposite of most of the self-important “Christian Rock Stars” I had met. He immediately fell in love with my then 10 month old son, Russell, and wanted to push my sleeping boy in his stroller. He was kind and generous. Today is a dark and uncertain day. If you read this and love not only Larry’s music, but Larry as a man of God, ask yourself WWLD when you have an opportunity to serve somebody. Give a poor kid a toy or some food. Talk to a lonely old person who is without family. Encourage the downtrodden. Visit a person in the hospital or in jail. That’s what Larry did. I can’t count the times he called me just to make sure I had enough money to pay bills or feed my family. Even when I said I did, a week later I would get a check or money order for a few hundred dollars with a note from Larry telling me he loved me. When God took Larry home, He left an unfillable hole here. God bless you, Larry Norman. I hope I see you in Heaven.
Your surrogate son,