Arts & Culture

The Wailing Wall Playlist: Come on Pilgrim! You Know He Loves You!

This week, I have been pretty fascinated by Larry Norman’s album, Only Visiting This Planet. Larry is known as "the father of Christian Rock," but before you laugh in my face, hear me out – this is not Jars of … Read More

By / May 26, 2009

This week, I have been pretty fascinated by Larry Norman’s album, Only Visiting This Planet. Larry is known as "the father of Christian Rock," but before you laugh in my face, hear me out – this is not Jars of Clay, we’re talking about here! Larry was just as weird and complex as the next long-haired rock dude of his time, he just happened to find the same comfort and meaning in the religion of his birth that George Harrison found in Hinduism (you are kidding yourself if you think that "Awaiting On You All" and "My Sweet Lord" aren’t as preachy as anything in the Larry Norman cannon). In fact, many Christian bookstores still ban Larry’s music because of his liberal social views. Larry has been credited as a big influence on U2, Van Morrison, John Mellencamp, and Slow Train Coming-era Bob Dylan, which isn’t all that surprising, but of greater interest (to me, at least) is his influence on Frank Black of the Pixies, who even borrowed one of Larry’s catchphrases (see this post’s title) for the title of the band’s first album.

Black (along with Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock) was even working on an album with Larry shortly before he passed last year. In fact, I would even make the argument that Larry’s music, with its potent mixture of popular musical forms and heartfelt spiritual identity, helped paved the way for what this very record label whose website you are reading now.