Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Larry Norman: No longer visiting this planet

When I had just begun my spiritual journey with Jesus in earnest (sort of a Saul-knocked-off-his-donkey event), most of my earliest mentors were musicians, whose music spoke to my heart and challenged my beliefs and lifestyle. Among the most impacting was Larry Norman. Although I only saw him from a distance at several concerts or festivals, his music was a major voice in my life.

Larry passed away a couple of days ago. I just returned from Mexico this morning to get an email from my fellow Norman-phile, Brother Maynard, alerting me to Larry's death.

Here is Larry's final communique, dictated from what would be his deathbed, just a day before he died:
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.
— Larry
Goodbye, Larry. The world is poorer for your passing. Someday, I'll get to thank you in person. But for now, we rejoice with you, that you no longer see through a glass darkly, but face to Face.


  1. I think I must be waaay younger than you. I mostly associated Larry with the theme music for "A Thief in the Night" and I was more familiar with others he influenced such as Terry Taylor, Mark Heard and Randy Stonehill. Every now and then I recognize strands of my rebellious thoughts have their root in the music of that era. They had a prophetic role in my life. They provoked thought.

    It seems the good musicians die young: Larry Norman, Keith Green, Mark Heard, Rich Mullins, etc. I guess I'll live a long life. I'm going to go strum a few bars of "Life was filled with guns and war...."

  2. Wow, I didn't know that Larry had died. How sad. I've loved his music for a long time. He was a giant in the christian music scene and if he hadn't made a choice to follow Christ he would have been even bigger... up there with the legends of rock n'roll.

  3. Hey Rob,

    When I heard the news on 106.5, my first thought was of you.

    I knew he had such an influence on your life.

    I believe I still have the tape you made for me of his music and that poem.

    In the words of Billy Joel..."Only The Good Die Young"...

  4. And now Green and Norman can sit with Finney and regardless of what Steve Camp said they will see the length and breadth and height and width of God's redemption that was greater than all of us could imagine.

    Oh the music, oh the praise, oh the Savior. Spurgeon said, "Upon the first glimpse of the Risen Christ we will think ourselves a thousand fools to have ever found anything on earth as attractive".

    I envy Larry.

  5. Hey Rob,

    I remember just a few weeks ago you were in my office here in Tijuana and we had good ole Larry crankin. And even as I write this now I'm listening to "I am a Servant". I look forward to having a cup of JO with you and Larry someday, who knows maybe we can invite Paul and Peter to.