The cover of Larry Norman's double LP, Bootleg
Bootleg, by Larry Norman

In the summer of 1968, a band called People had a hit out called “I Love You.”  Sharing the lead vocals was a young man named Larry Norman. I didn’t know it at the time but he went on to become a pioneer of Christian rock music.

Ten years later, I discovered Larry Norman’s solo album, Bootleg, at the public library in Edmonton. While listening to the double LP, I realized that he was the same person whose voice I heard a decade earlier. I confirmed it by looking at the line-up of band members on the People LP cover, a record my mom bought for me for a dollar back in 1974.

I’ve heard that the very day that “I Love You” hit number one in America, Larry quit the band. According to Wikipedia, most of the band members accepted Scientology. Larry had recently given his life to Christ so he left the group to pursue a solo career.

What was so significant about Larry’s music for me? It showed that rock music was merely a tool and it could be used to spread the gospel. Many Christians insisted that it was the Devil’s music and some even claimed I’d become possessed by a demon if I listened to it. Larry’s lyrics showed me that those folks, sincere though they were, were mistaken.

Certainly music does effect one’s mood. That has been demonstrated through experiments done on various people groups around the world. Even so, believing one can receive a demon merely by listening to rock music is superstitious nonsense.

I’m eternally grateful to Larry Norman. In spite of horrendous criticism from evangelical Christians and poor record sales, He persisted in making rock music with Christ-honouring lyrics. In spite of his weak heart and other health problems, he persisted with his vision of evangelizing and commenting on social issues through his distinctive musical style.

When I get to heaven or if Christ returns before I die, one of the first people I’ll seek out is Larry. I want to thank him for giving me hope during a difficult time in my life. To learn more about this difficult time and how the heavenly father led me out of it, visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell’s Books.


Author: bruce Atchison - author

I'm a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of three memoirs and scores of articles. Contact me for details.

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