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The founding father of Jesus Rock, Larry Norman wed the rhythms of pop music with the spiritual and social outlook of Christianity to create a kind of flower-power gospel. While his efforts were instrumental in shaping the sound and themes of contemporary Christian rock, Norman never enjoyed the commercial success or acceptance afforded to his musical descendants, admitting his sensibilities were "too secular for the Christians and too Christian for the secularists." Born in Corpus Christi, TX on April 8, 1947, Norman was raised in San Francisco. A devout follower of both Jesus Christ and Elvis Presley, as a boy he regularly sang original Christian-themed lyrics over his favorite rock & roll records, and in 1959 even appeared on the CBS television variety series The Original Amateur Hour. In 1965 Norman co-founded the Bay Area psychedelic group People!, which a year later signed to Capitol and scored a minor hit with the single "Organ Grinder." A subsequent cover of the Zombies' "I Love You" yielded a U.S. Top 20 entry, and in early 1968 the group began work on its debut LP. However, around this time a number of Norman's bandmates embraced Scientology, and when Capitol resisted his entreaties to title People!'s debut LP We Need a Whole Lot More of Jesus and a Lot Less Rock and Roll -- the album instead hit retail as I Love You -- he left the group and mounted a solo career.
Capitol nevertheless agreed to release Norman's solo debut, 1969's Upon This Rock -- the album vaulted him to iconic status within the growing Jesus People counterculture movement but earned the scorn of the conservative Christian establishment, and because secular pop radio wanted nothing to do with the album, either, Capitol soon cut its ties with the singer. Norman resurfaced in 1972 on MGM, issuing the landmark Only Visiting This Planet, commonly cited among the most influential Christian rock records of all time. The first chapter in a three-album trilogy retelling the story of creation, the fall, and redemption, it was followed by So Long Ago the Garden and In Another Land, and together the LPs represent the creative zenith of his career. Upon leaving MGM in 1974, Norman's founded his own Solid Rock Records imprint, releasing his own material as well as albums by Christian acts including Randy Stonehill, Mark Heard, and Daniel Amos -- he also launched The Vineyard, a Bible study program for musicians and actors that at one point welcomed Bob Dylan, who later embraced Christianity and released a series of Norman-inspired spiritual LPs highlighted by 1979's Slow Train Coming. Secular performers including Van Morrison, John Mellencamp, and the Pixies' Black Francis later cited Norman as an influence as well, and more than 300 artists covered his songs, among them Sammy Davis, Jr.
By the early '80s Norman's Capitol and MGM efforts were out of print, and as a thriving bootleg market mushroomed around his music, he formed a new label, Phydeaux Records, in an attempt to regain control of his catalog. He issued more than a dozen new LPs in the decade to follow, a staggering number of them live releases, and while his productivity was never in question, his latter-day material was wildly uneven, and often derivative of his most acclaimed records. Poor health dogged him, and over time his behavior grew increasingly erratic -- diagnosed with bipolar trauma, Norman often claimed he was drugged by the KGB during a 1988 tour of Russia, and in 1992 he suffered a heart attack, spending the remainder of his life in and out of hospitals. In 1995 he was the subject of a tribute album, One Way: Songs of Larry Norman, which featured contributions from CCM superstars like dc Talk, Audio Adrenaline, and Rebecca St. James. In 2001, Norman also earned induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, entering alongside his boyhood idol Elvis. He officially retired that same year, although in June 2005 he returned long enough to play one final concert in Salem, OR, his home for more than two decades. A day after posting a message on his official website that he felt "like a prize in a box of Cracker Jacks with God's hand reaching down to pick me up," Norman died of heart failure on February 24, 2008 -- he was 60 years old.
Larry David Norman (April 8, 1947 – February 24, 2008) was an American musician, singer, songwriter, record label owner, and record producer. He was one of the pioneers of Christian rock music. Since Norman's first professional release in 1967 as a lead singer of the one-hit wonder band People!, more than 100 of his own albums have been released through labels as Capitol, MGM, Verve, and his own independent labels: One Way Records, Solid Rock Records, Street Level Records, and Phydeaux Records.
In January 1973 Cashbox named Norman as one of the Best New Male Artists of the year. In 1989 Norman was awarded the Christian Artists' Society Lifetime Achievement Award. On November 27, 2001 Norman was inducted into the Gospel Music Association's Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium, and was voted into the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) Hall of Fame in January 2004 by the readers of CCM magazine. In 2007 Norman was inducted into the San Jose Rocks Hall of Fame, both as a member of People! and as a solo artist. At that time Norman reunited for a concert with People! In 2009 Norman was among those honored in a tribute segment of the Grammy Awards.
Early life 
Norman was born in 1947 in Corpus Christi, Texas, the oldest son of Joe Hendrex "Joe Billy" Norman, a World War II veteran who worked at the Southern Pacific Railroad while studying to become a teacher, and his wife Margaret Evelyn "Marge" Stout. After Norman's birth his parents joined the Southern Baptist church, which prohibited dancing, going to the cinema, and "almost everything that didn't occur inside [the Church]". Because of his religious convictions, Norman's father discouraged any interest in music by his children; however, Norman noted, "I listened to my parents' radio whenever they turned it on."
In 1950 the family moved to San Francisco, where they attended a Black American Pentecostal church and then a Baptist church, where Norman became a Christian at the age of five. He began composing songs around this time, later saying, "I started to write music when I was four or five and didn't realise I was composing tonally because I was simply using the piano". Among his earliest songs were "Lonely Boy" (1956); "The Man From Galilee" (1956), "inspired by Sunday School stories"; the unreleased "Bopping With My Girl"; "My Feet are on the Rock" (1958); "The Thanksgiving Song" (1959); and "Country Church, Country People" (1959), which was written for his grandmother Lena. In 1959, Norman performed on Ted Mack's syndicated CBS television show The Original Amateur Hour.
In 1960, Norman's father began teaching in San José, California; the family lived in nearby Campbell. While a junior at Campbell High School, Norman was the youngest person voted into the Edwin Markham Poetry Society, and won first place in the Society's student poetry contest. He won an academic scholarship to major in English at San Jose State College. By the fall of 1965 Norman left the family home and rented an apartment in downtown San Jose. After one semester, he "flunked out of college and lost [his] scholarship".
Back Country Seven (1964–1965) 
While still in high school student, Norman formed a group called The Back Country Seven, which included his sister Nancy Jo and friend Gene M. Mason. After graduating, Norman continued performing and opened at local concerts for The Doors and Jimi Hendrix.
People! (1966–1968) 
In 1966 Norman opened a concert for People! at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California. He later became the band's principal songwriter, sharing lead vocals with his Back Country Seven bandmate Gene M. Mason.
Capitol Records signed People! to a record deal in early 1966. The band was managed by Mikel Hunter "Captain Mikey" Herrington. People! performed about 200 concerts a year, appearing with Van Morrison and Them, The Animals, The Dave Clark Five, Paul Revere & the Raiders, The Doors, The Who, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Moby Grape, and San Jose bands Syndicate of Sound and Count Five.
In 1967 Capitol released People!'s first single "Organ Grinder/Riding High", which failed to chart. Their second single, released in 1968, was a cover of The Zombies' "I Love You", backed by "Somebody Tell Me My Name." After extensive promotion, including a promotional film that appeared on American Bandstand, "I Love You" became a hit single, selling over one million copies and reaching No. 1 in several markets.
Norman left People! before Capitol released the band's first album in the summer of 1967. The album reached only No. 138 on the Billboard charts; their subsequent third single failed to chart. Norman and Mason reunited in 1974 for a benefit concert for Israel, released in 1980 as the live album Larry Norman and People!—The Israel Tapes—1974 A.D. Norman, Mason, and Denny Fridkin performed at a People! reunion concert in August 2006 on the campus of Willamette University in Oregon.
Hollywood street ministry (1968–1969) 
Soon after Norman left People!, he had "a powerful spiritual encounter that threw him into a frenzy of indecision about his life [and] for the first time in his life, he received what he understood to be the Holy Spirit". Norman moved back home to live with his parents, with no plans for his future. Norman was offered a position with Youth For Christ, and a week later was invited by Herb Hendler to come to Hollywood to write musicals for Capitol Records.
In July 1968, Norman moved to Los Angeles, where he "spent time sharing the gospel on the streets". As he described in 2006: "I walked up and down Hollywood Boulevard several times a day...witnessing to businessmen and hippies, and to whomever the Spirit led me. I spent all of my Capitol Records' royalties starting a halfway house and buying clothes and food for new converts. Each Friday and Saturday I borrowed cars and drove almost 150 miles to pick up certain kids and take them to a church in a home in Santa Ana. Our meetings usually lasted five hours on Friday and eight hours on Sunday." He was initially associated with the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, and its Salt Company coffee shop outreach ministry. Glenn D. Kittle believes that "rock-gospel music was born at the Salt Company Coffeehouse" from Norman's influence. According to coffeehouse founder Don Williams, Norman was convinced "that he could use his rock music to communicate the gospel" after hearing a hard rock Christian group called The Agape.
Norman had a "passion for the pavement [and] he took his signature voice and his beat-up nylon-string guitar to festivals, coffee shops, and major theaters", including concerts at The Troubador and The Hollywood Bowl, "witnessing before and after the performances on the streets during the day and to the customers after the gigs."
Musical theater (1968-1969) 
In 1968 Norman wrote several songs for the rock musicals Alison and Birthday for Shakespeare, both of which were performed in Los Angeles.
The next year, Norman and his friend Teddy Neeley auditioned for the Los Angeles production of the rock musical Hair and were offered the roles of George Berger and Claude Bukowski, respectively. Believing God had something more important for him to do, and that "Jesus is the only personal, social and political answer for this generation or any other", Norman rejected the role because "of its glorification of drugs and free sex as the answers to today's problems". Neeley accepted the role of Claude, but the role offered to Norman eventually went to Ben Vereen. Norman, who was broke, went home to his apartment, locked his guitar in the closet, and cried.
Also in 1969, after deciding to produce his own works, he began developing a rock opera called Lion's Breath, which caught Capitol's attention and led the company to lure Norman back with the promise of complete control over his next album. In the same year, Norman also wrote a musical called Love on Haight Street, and was involved in another project titled Bailey. Some songs from these unreleased musicals appeared later on various albums.
Capitol Records (1969–1970) 
In 1969 Norman returned to Capitol Records with the understanding that he would have complete artistic control of his work. In December 1969, Capitol released Norman's first solo album, Upon This Rock, now considered to be "the first full-blown Christian rock album. The album has been described as "a blend of folk, psychedelic, and rock influences", combining "street language and gritty imagery".
While Norman was denounced by television evangelists, including Bob Larson, Jimmy Swaggart,Jerry Falwell, and others within the conservative religious establishment, who considered the development of Christian rock-and-roll, "a sinful compromise with worldliness and immoral sensuality", his music gained a large following in the emerging countercultural movements.
Capitol deemed the album a "commercial flop", as it failed to reach the company's projected sales targets, and dropped Norman from the label in February 1970, telling him that "there is no market for your music." Norman later said the album was "too religious for the rock and roll stores and too rock and roll for the religious stores." In April 1970, Capitol leased Upon This Rock to the gospel record label Heart Warming. The album subsequently received increased sales due to distribution in Christian bookstores. Capitol released a single with two songs from the album: "Sweet Sweet Song Of Salvation" backed with "Walking Backwards Down The Stairs".
Rising fame (1969-1971) 
Norman continued playing Christian rock, mostly to audiences in California during this period. By October 1969 Norman was a regular performer at the Salt Company coffee shop outreach ministry. Norman would frequently show up at the Hollywood Palladium unannounced and unscheduled on Sunday afternoons, and would sing to as many as 4,000 people at the Jesus People Festivals organized by Duane Pederson. In March 1970 Norman performed at the Youth for Christ-sponsored Faith Festival, the first major Jesus music festival, at Evansville, Indiana, which attracted 6,000 people. In a 1970 concert Norman wrote "The Tune", which one reviewer described as "probably ... Larry's finest achievement as a songwriter and recording artist", while improvising on the piano.
In September 1970 Norman began writing a regular column called "As I See It" in the Hollywood Free Paper, an evangelistic newspaper founded by local Jesus People leader Duane Pederson
Norman was a prominent participant in the Spiritual Revolution Day march and rally in Sacramento, California on February 13, 1971. By 1971 he was playing at Costa Mesa's Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa with fellow Jesus music pioneers (and future Maranatha! Music artists) Love Song, Chuck Girard, The Way, and Children of the Day.
Halfway house (1970) 
After receiving his only royalty check from Capitol in 1970 for songs he had written for People!, Norman established a half-way house on North Beachwood Drive, Hollywood, where he "housed and fed various groups of people, supervised their Bible studies and drove them to church on Fridays and Sundays". However, after he "ran out of money", Norman negotiated to write songs on demand for Capitol and was paid $80 per month subsistence, advanced against future earnings, for work polishing and refining songs for H.R. Pufnstuf, Hawaiian singer Alfred Alpaka, and Tennessee Ernie Ford; he was also asked to write English lyrics for the Japanese song "Sukiyaki". Norman claims he contributed 87 songs the first year of this arrangement, but was never compensated.
One Way Records (1970–1971) 
Seeking to make a "more earthy sounding album which I could hand out to the street people I talked to on Hollywood Boulevard", in 1970 Norman established One Way Records, described as "an underground experimental" label and initially headquartered at his home in Hollywood. In 1970, One Way released the album Street Level, the first side of which was a live concert recording from a 1969 Salt Company performance. As the first version of Street Level was "too confusing to the Christians", Norman recorded "a second version for the church kids" in 1971 that completely replaced side two with a recording by a band called White Light. After its release in 1970, the Hollywood Free Paper described Norman as "a combination of lyricist, composer, performer, backwoods preacher [and] poet." The next year, Norman started Street Level Productions, Inc., a legal corporation with the mission to "reach into the streets; to avoid the lofty climes and the commercial heights and to labor instead at street level."
In 1971 Norman produced an album (Born Twice) for Randy Stonehill, who had been converted in August 1970 in Norman's kitchen. In early 1972 One Way Records released Bootleg, a double album retrospective covering the previous four years of Norman's career. The album compiled demo recordings from Norman's time at Capitol with private recordings from his friends and various interviews and live performances. In 1999 Norman explained the unpolished nature of Bootleg: "Many songs which ended up being released on Bootleg...weren't really finished but I had to release the album immediately so it wouldn't violate the terms of my MGM contract which was soon going to be in effect."
MGM/Verve (1971–1973) 
Despite the offer of a revised contract from Capitol, in 1971 Norman signed a contract with MGM Records, although he accepted a publishing agreement with Capitol. In November 1971, Norman recorded "Without Love You Are Nothing" (also known as "Righteous Rocker") and "Peace, Pollution, Revolution" in Los Angeles for MGM.
In 1971 Norman visited England for the first time and lived there while writing a number of songs including "The Great American Novel", and the as yet unreleased "Living on Park Lane". Norman had an influence on the emerging English gospel music scene. Early in 1972 Upon This Rock was released in England, and sold 5,000 copies in its first three months, making it the top selling religious album in England. In March 1972 Norman performed 38 concerts in 35 days, including a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in the Spring of 1972, for which he claims he was only given about $700 by the tour promoter. His song "Stop This Flight" describing the vicissitudes of touring and record companies was inspired by this tour.
In September 1972 Norman began recording his second studio album, Only Visiting This Planet, the first album in a projected trilogy, in George Martin's London AIR Studios. Often ranked as Norman's best album, Only Visiting This Planet "mixed his Christian message with strong political themes", and "was meant to reach the flower children disillusioned by the government and the church" with its "abrasive, urban reality of the gospel". In 1990 CCM magazine voted Only Visiting This Planet as "the greatest Christian album ever recorded".
By 1973 over 200 covers had been recorded of Norman's songs, including by Cliff Richard, Jack Jones, Petula Clark, Sammy Davis, Jr., Pat Boone, The Imperials, and The Oak Ridge Boys.
On January 6, 1973 Norman was one of three named as Best New Male Artist of the year by Cashbox and performed in two sold-out concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. That summer he toured South Africa and the UK and released a songbook, titled "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?", featuring songs from both his studio albums.
During August and September 1973, Norman returned to AIR Studios to record what would be his favorite album, So Long Ago the Garden. According to John J. Thompson, "lyrically, as the title suggests, the album reflects on the nature of the human condition. The songs deal with characters ... knee deep in the madness of life without God". However, MGM was on the brink of financial collapse and more focused on corporate survival than promoting the album. According to Norman, MGM culled several Christian songs in favor of more lightweight tracks; the squabble led Norman to leave the company, which folded soon afterward.>
The release of So Long Ago the Garden in November 1973 caused controversy in the Christian press primarily due to its album cover, which featured a seminude Norman, as well as some songs in which Norman took the persona of a backslider. Many religious bookstores refused to sell Norman's albums, and his concerts were cancelled for several months until he was invited onstage by Noel Paul Stookey.
Festivals (1972) 
In June 1972 Norman was one of the featured performers at "probably the high-water mark of the Jesus Movement", Explo '72, a six-day Dallas, Texas, event which has been called the "Jesus Woodstock", "Godapalooza", or "Godstock". Norman played on the conference's final night to an audience estimated at 200,000 people. At the conclusion of his set, Norman encouraged those attending: "Don't let this week of love pass away – let it be for a lifetime". Norman is included on the subsequent commemorative album, Jesus Sound Explosion, singing his "Sweet, Sweet Song of Salvation".
Norman also performed at the Festival of Light-sponsored Festival for Jesus held in Hyde Park, London, in September 1972. The event was filmed and released as a 50-minute documentary Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? after Norman's song of the same title, written in response to comments by American evangelist Bob Larson.
Films (1972) 
On June 21, 1972 Beware! The Blob (also known as Son of Blob), in which Norman appeared briefly, was released in the United States. A cover of Norman's 1969 song "I Wish We'd All Been Ready", performed by a group called The Fishmarket Combo, was featured in the 1972 Christian end times film A Thief in the Night.
Solid Rock Records and booking agency (1974-1980) 
In 1974, Norman Norman founded Solid Rock Records to produce records for Christian artists who, like himself, had "no commercial value." As John J. Thompson describes, "Solid Rock became an important moment in the history of Christian rock music since it was the first truly artist-driven label". According to Norman, the purpose of Solid Rock was "to help other artists who didn't want to be consumed by the business of making vinyl pancakes but who wanted to make something 'non-commercial' to the world".
In addition to his own recordings, Norman produced music on his Solid Rock label for Randy Stonehill, Mark Heard, Tom Howard, Pantano/Salsbury, David Edwards, and Salvation Air Force. Norman also produced artists who were signed to other labels, such as Malcolm and Alwyn, Bobby Emmons and the Crosstones, Lyrix, and James Sundquist. While Norman received production credits for two songs on Sheila Walsh's first album Future Eyes, he remixed several songs that were already recorded. Around 1978 Norman produced an album, Moving Pictures, for British poet and musician Steve Scott that was never released.
Also in 1974, Norman perceived a need for a Christian artist booking agency that "could really be much more Christian. It could be much more free of financial motives and goals", which led him to found Street Level Artists Agency. Norman and his manager Phillip F. Mangano had "a vision to raise up artists to be truly creative and take the message of Christ into a mainstream environment." Some of those he felt led to help "were on drugs so he spent time helping them with their personal life and bringing them to a converted lifestyle".
Bible study (1974) 
In 1974, Norman and Kenn Gulliksen started a Bible study for musicians and actors, including regulars Jerry Houser and Julie Harris. The Bible study met in Norman's apartment, and after six months became known as "The Vineyard." It later became part of the founding congregation of the Association of Vineyard Churches. This Bible study met at his home until 1977, when Norman and his wife left on a seven-month world tour. By March 1975 Norman was attending the Little Brown Church in Studio City.
ABC/Word/AB (1974–1978) 
Norman signed a deal in 1974 with the mainstream label ABC Records, who agreed to distribute Solid Rock's releases. According to Norman, Orphans From Eden, his first album submitted to ABC, which included collaborations with his sister, Kristy, was never released. In 1976, ABC Records bought Word Records and switched Norman to its Word subsidiary, infusing it with $17 million in capital. Solid Rock records would be distributed by Word until 1980, giving them a more direct distribution into Christian bookstores.
Word rejected Norman's album Streams of White Light Into Darkened Corners, a documentary album that took "a satirical look at the early 1970s 'religious pop music' trend", and featured Norman singing covers of religious songs by Norman Greenbaum, Paul Simon, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Randy Newman, Leon Russell, Jackson Browne, and the Rolling Stones. The album was not released until 1977 by AB Records.
In 1975 Norman recorded In Another Land, the third album in his trilogy, which was released in 1976 by his Solid Rock Label and distributed through Word Records, making it "the first of his albums to be released on a Christian label". Norman later said the album was "executorially censored by the 'mother company'." In Another Land was Norman's best-selling album ever, and had the best reception of any of his albums from the Christian establishment. By 1985 In Another Land had sold 120,000 copies in the USA alone, compared with average sales of less than ten thousand for other gospel albums,
After In Another Land, Norman had completed his first cycle of seven albums, and wanted to change musical directions in favor of "a more street-orientated, guitar-based, trash can orchestra of angry and honest songs"; however, the record company wasn't interested in such a change. In 1976, Norman recorded songs for a proposed Red, White and Blues anthology that would explore the roots of American music from both white and black cultures; this project was also not approved for release.
In 1976 Norman recorded Something New under the Son, a blues-rock concept album that some regard as his tour de force, and as "one of the roughest, bluesiest, and best rock and roll albums of his career or the whole industry", Norman had intended it to be a double album, with the second album featuring an extended version of his 1971 song "The Tune," but Word refused as they believed two separate albums would be more profitable. The album was not released until 1981.
In 1977 Norman signed an agreement to release some Solid Rock Records through AB Records of Hollywood, an affiliate of Bob Cotterell's Sonrise Records, which released Streams of White Light Into Darkened Corners in 1977, and Mark Heard's On Turning to Dust in 1978.
In May 1977 Norman commenced a seven-month world tour, during which he wrote and recorded another album, Voyage of the Vigilant. The album, which combined live recordings with hotel tapes and studio stopovers, included discussion of the Hindu religion, early Christian martyrdom in Rome, and religious media. It was not released by Word.
Street Level Records 
In 1978 Norman started Street Level Records as an alternative label to release albums which Word had no interest in distributing. Paul N. Lindner's Consolidated Gospel Inc. distributed Street Level Records to stores in America and Europe. The company advertised a Christmas 1978 release of "The Compleat Trilogy", all forty uncensored songs originally intended for Norman's first three studio album, but this was never released.
Plane accident (1978) 
At the end of his tour in 1978, Norman was about to sign with Warner Brothers when he was injured during a plane landing at Los Angeles International Airport. Norman claimed to have suffered mild brain damage due to being hit by parts of the cabin's roof, and that this damage left him unable to complete projects and focus artistically. His then-manager Philip Mangano, who was seated next to Larry on the plane, denied the incident was that serious. In a 1989 interview, Norman indicated that his condition had gone undiagnosed for several years, but doctors had now "isolated it as is a bi-polar trauma, which means the accident caused an interruption in the information from one side of my brain to the other; the neurons spark but sometimes don't make a connection."
William Ayers wrote in 1991:
"As family, friends and fans watched, his life spiraled downward. He was unable to record a bonafide album from the time of his airplane accident in 1978 until, with the help of therapy and chemical treatment to increase electro-neuron brain activity, he attempted to release the badly produced Home At Last [recorded in 1986]. He never expected to be healed and thought he would have to continue chemical therapy until the day after John Barr came into his life and laid hands on him.
Greenbelt and White House (1979) 
In August 1979, on his Roll Away the Stone tour, Norman made his first appearance at the Greenbelt Festival, a British Christian festival of "arts, faith and justice" that attracted 16,000 people that year. Norman brought Randy Stonehill, who subsequently became "a major Christian artist in Europe." Norman appeared at Greenbelt again in 1980, 1981 and 1984.
In September 1979, Norman performed his "The Great American Novel", "a Dylanesque protest song", for U.S. president Jimmy Carter and about 1,000 guests at the Old Fashioned Gospel Singin' concert held on the south lawn of the White House.
Decline of Solid Rock and SLAA (1979-1981) 
In December 1978 Norman signed Christian rock band Daniel Amos to both Street Level Productions and Street Level Artists Agency. At the time of their signing, the band's third album Horrendous Disc was almost complete; after some changes, Norman released a test pressing in September 1979. In May 1980, Norman released Daniel Amos from their contract with Street Level Productions, resulting in estrangement and legal action.
In June 1980, Solid Rock's business manager Philip F. Mangano and a group of Solid Rock musicians, including Stonehill, Taylor, and Howard, organized an intervention with Norman. Their concerns included delays in album releases, issues with royalties and publishing rights, and rumors that Norman had engaged in an extramarital relationship with Stonehill's wife. The meeting led Norman to begin the process of closing the company and severing his business association with Mangano. Norman also sold his interest in Street Level Artists Agency to Mangano, who resigned in October 1980 to begin a new career in helping the homeless.
At the Youth for Christ music festival in August 1980, Norman filled in for Daniel Amos' lead singer, who had laryngitis, so that the rest of the band could still be paid; at Greenbelt a few days later, Daniel Amos withdrew from their agreement to back Norman, due to the pending legal proceedings. During his Greenbelt performance, Norman sang for the first time "May Your Feet Stay On The Path," as a benediction to Solid Rock artists he had released; he explained in 2001, "It's a song I wrote for all my artists because I wasn't going to work with them any more. So I stayed up one night praying all night and working on this song asking God to help me bless the artists one more time so that they would know that I loved them even if I didn't want to work with them". Horrendous Disc was finally released by Solid Rock in April 1981, ten days before the band's follow-up ¡Alarma!, was released on Newpax Records. In 2000 Norman sang "Hound of Heaven" on the Daniel Amos tribute album, When Worlds Collide: A Tribute to Daniel Amos.
Christian rock historian John J. Thompson identifies several possible factors in Solid Rock's collapse, including an overreliance on Norman's celebrity; Norman's penchant for controversial music; his over-commitment to producing and performing on almost all Solid Rock albums; and his emphasis on releasing music of high quality rather than marketability. Religious history professor Randall Ballmer attributed the company's demise to "idealism, marital difficulties, and financial naivete -- as well as changing musical tastes." Norman said later that he had concerned himself primarily with the creative side of the company, while trusting Mangano to handle the business side.
By October 1981 Norman was still represented by Word and was the only artist signed to Solid Rock. In a 1982 interview he said:
I have very few plans for Solid Rock at all. Originally, I started Solid Rock as a way of helping other young artists become established. My plan has always been to provide them with an intense education, support their efforts with concerts and record production, and then graduate them into the mainstream where they can stand on their own feet...I've helped about fifteen people get contracts so far, and all the old Solid Rock crowd has graduated and I'm working with new and younger artists now.
Phydeaux Records (1980) 
Following the demise of Solid Rock and his September 1980 divorce, Norman moved to England. In 1980 he and his father started Phydeaux Records (pronounced "Fido"; Norman joked that "if Christian music was going to the dogs, then he wanted to remain on the cutting edge"). Phydeaux was designed to compete with a market of bootlegs of Norman's music by selling rarities from Norman's own archives, such as Roll Away The Stone -- And Listen To The Rock and The Israel Tapes. According to Norman's liner notes, "Phydeaux helped distribute Street Level Records on behalf of Street Level Prod., Inc. to stores in Europe and America and also by direct mail. Through the mail he found that he could go directly to the people who well and truly understood music and his ministry."
In the early 1990s, Norman's father sold Phydeaux to family friend and employee Bill Ayers. At that time, Street Level Records came under the umbrella of the Christian Community Placement Centre, a foster care organization.
Chapel Lane (1981-1984) 
Norman signed a distribution deal with British label Chapel Lane. While at the Chapel Lane studio in about 1981, working with the Barratt Band, Norman recorded several Bob Dylan covers for a planned Dylan tribute album titled Before and After. Norman considered Dylan's 1979 album Slow Train Coming, written following Dylan's conversion to Christianity, to be "the best Christian album ever recorded.", As he described in a 1984 interview, "That album is like a prayer, it's a beautiful prayer, a social communion. It's a communion for all the disenchanted people that are angry."
In May 1981, Norman performed at the Dominion Theatre in London, which was recorded and released later that year as Larry Norman And His Friends On Tour. In the same year, four Norman songs were included on the compilation album Barking At The Ants.
In 1983, Norman released two albums benefiting the Calcutta Mission of Mercy: The Story of the Tune and Come As a Child, an acoustic live solo album.
In 1984, Norman toured internationally with the band The Young Lions, which included his brother Charly. A June concert in Melbourne, Australia was released as the 1985 album Stop This Flight. Also in 1984, he released the album Quiet Nights, which included eight songs composed by Tom Howard, some with Randy Stonehill. At the beginning of 1985, Norman announced that he and his second wife, who was pregnant, would return to the United States to live.
Anthology (1986) 
In 1986, Norman conceived the idea for a multi-volume collection celebrating his three decades writing Christian music, accompanied by videos, soundtracks and t-shirts. To facilitate distribution of this merchandise, Norman signed an agreement with Royal Music of Sweden to distribute in Europe, and with a newly established Christian distribution company for North American distribution. The collection included Norman's 1986 retrospective album Down Under (But Not Out), which had previously been given free to new subscribers of Australian Christian magazine On Being.
White Blossoms from Black Roots: The History and the Chronology: Volume One, was planned to be the first of five albums that would form a chronological retrospective of Norman's songwriting. However, soon after the CD pressings of White Blossoms from Black Roots had been sent to the distribution company, "the FBI arrested the head of the company for check forgery and seized all of the merchandise", resulting in loss of access to his artwork, and digital tape masters, as well as to the material prepared for other Solid Rock Imports artists. The collapse of the distribution company affected other Christian artists and smaller gospel labels. While White Blossoms was released in 1989, it would be re-released in a modified form in 1997 as part of a 40th anniversary The Best of Larry Norman project.
Benson (1986-1989) 
In 1986, Norman was signed to Benson Records and made a cameo appearance in a music video with Christian artist Geoff Moore and the Distance for a cover version of his song "Why Should the Devil (Have all the Good Music?)". In August 1988 Norman toured the United States with Swedish Christian metal band Leviticus.
During 1986, Norman recorded the album Home At Last, which was not released until 1989 due to legal problems. Although Norman considered Home At Last to be the third album in his "Second Trilogy", it was released first because it was considered a more marketable "comeback album" than the others in the trilogy, Stranded in Babylon and Behind the Curtain. Norman's first album on a major American CCM label, Home At Last was a personal and "autobiographical album" that contained "a loose collection of songs written between 1956 and 1989...[that] covered the years of ground between his childhood, career, divorce, and dysfunctional family life", The song "Somewhere Out There", which was written for his infant son Michael, reached No. 12 on Christian radio charts in 1989.
Despite extensive promotion by Benson, Home At Last generally received negative reviews, including that of Rupert Loydell who described it as "a disorganised, half-produced, and ultimately unsatisfying hotchpotch of songs". It was also criticized for its lack of political statements. Norman himself later dismissed this album in a Belgian press conference as "just a collection of tapes I had... some were even recorded before the plane accident." In 1989 Norman wrote that he was "extremely happy with Benson. I've never had so much support and commitment from a record company before".
Health issues (1988-1989) 
In November 1988, just before the fall of the Soviet Union, Norman and his brother Charles were scheduled to play a concert in Leningrad. Norman said that he and his brother became ill after eating a meal that had been prepared as a "special menu" for them. Shortly afterwards, a trio of nurses ("built like football players") appeared in his room and wanted him to go to the hospital. Norman became suspicious and refused. The concert was canceled by Soviet army personnel twenty minutes after the band began to play. After this incident, Norman and Charles were ill for a year. After returning to Russia in April 1990 and performing several successful shows, Norman decided to open a branch of Solid Rock Records in Moscow.
In February 1989, Norman collapsed while playing at the JAM (Jesus and Music) Festival in Melbourne, Australia. As the tour promoter recalled, "He was never well on that tour, and on that very hot day, I think he had heat exhaustion to contend with, on top of his other health issues". Norman recovered after being taken to the hospital, but the promoter was still concerned at the time as to whether the tour could continue.
Lifetime Achievement Award (1989) 
Norman was awarded the Christian Artists' Society Lifetime Achievement Award in a surprise ceremony at Estes Park, Colorado, in 1989.
Spark Music (1989-1990) 
In 1989 Norman began a distribution arrangement for Europe with Spark Music, a small Dutch indie label. In August of that year Norman appeared with his brother and the Finnish band Q-Stone at the Flevo Totaal Festival in the Netherlands, which was recorded and released by Spark in 1990 as Live at Flevo with Q-Stone. According to Norman, within a month of its release "it was already the biggest-selling live Christian album ever released". He returned to Flevo in 1998 to a mixed reception, under pressure from the label to debut a new set of songs for another live album, Shouting in the Storm; the album's poor sales in Europe led to GMI dropping Norman from the label.
Faith healing and resurgence (1991) 
At the close of his February 1991 British tour, in the Surrey home of another musician, Norman received prayer for his long-term health problems from Pastor John Barr of London's Elim Way Fellowship. Norman maintained that through this prayer God repaired the damage to his brain and he was able to function again,
saying in 1993:
A man prayed for me. I heard a lot of noises in my head, a lot of heat and from that day the man prayed for me my brain has become so clear, so I've been excited, wondering how quickly can I make a new record now I have my old brain back, it's a good brain, not the damaged brain that I had. That's also a comparison that now my brain is healed so I can make music like I used to make.
In 1991, Norman released through Spark Music the album Stranded in Babylon, on which he had collaborated with his brother Charles. Hailed by both critics and fans as one of his best albums, Stranded in Babylon was named Album of the Year by Christian rock journals. Following its release, Norman and his band toured Europe on the "Babylon Tour" before returning to the United States.
Coronary issues (1992-1995) 
Norman's creative resurgence was cut short by a nine-hour heart attack in February 1992, initially misdiagnosed as esophagitis, and resulting in permanent heart damage. Norman sold Solid Rock to help pay medical bills. That June, Norman performed an acoustic concert in Texas, also to raise funds for his medical expenses. Two days after the concert, Norman was hospitalized again due to heart failure.
After these coronary events, Norman struggled to perform live and often predicted his performance career would soon be ending. In June 1993, after a concert in Holland, Norman was hospitalized for ten days due to another heart attack. He performed in Sweden in July, which was recorded and released in 1994 as "Larry's farewell rock and roll band concert."
In February 1994, Norman was hospitalized again in Los Angeles. He subsequently moved into his parents' house in Oregon due to damage of his home from the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, and to provide care for his father, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease. While in Oregon, he campaigned for the Stop Child Pornography initiative on the state ballot.The Simpsons parody comic of Larry Norman
Despite significant physical limitations, Norman continued to perform to raise funds for heart surgery. In June 1994, Norman released A Moment in Time, a concept album of songs written during his hospitalization, which raised funds for battling child pornography. The same year, The Simpsons comics illustrator Bill Morrison published a limited edition lithograph print of a "Simpson-ified" Norman to benefit Norman's medical fund.
In 1995, Norman responded in an interview to rumors questioning the veracity of both his 1978 airplane accident and his more recent heart problems:
If I can display my medical files and x-rays and prove my airplane accident and heart attack, then the millionaires in the Christian media, who seemed to have implied that I'm a liar, can buy me the defibrillator which I need to help me stay alive. I've been in the hospital many times in the last three years...You can examine my EKG on the back of the Totally Unplugged album.
By early 1995, Norman had been hospitalized thirteen times and had a defibrillator implant, which enabled him to perform occasional small concerts. In August, ForeFront Records released One Way: Songs of Larry Norman, a tribute album of covers by ForeFront artists including dc Talk, Audio Adrenaline, Grammatrain, and Rebecca St. James, daughter of Norman's former concert promoter.
Tourniquet (2001) 
Norman reunited with his brother for the 2001 album Tourniquet, which was intended as a prequel to Behind the Curtain, the unreleased first album in Norman's second Trilogy. Tourniquet was described by Dougie Adam as "perhaps Larry's deepest, most articulate album ever."
Gospel Music Hall of Fame (2001) 
In November 2001, while still hospitalized from quadruple-bypass heart surgery, Norman was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame; his son Michael appeared at the ceremony to accept the honor on his behalf. The Gospel Music Association said: "Larry Norman's music – an unlikely mix of love songs, the Gospel message, and wry commentary on American culture – exemplified the goals, ideals, and standards of everything the original architects of contemporary Christian music intended for it to be."
The Essential Series (2002-2004) 
Norman's medical expenses prompted an acceleration of releases (and re-releases) of his recordings in order to raise funds. In November 2002, Solid Rock Records began releasing the Essential Series, a set of seven Norman albums (Instigator; Agitator; Liberator; Collaborator; Emancipator; Infiltrator; and Survivor) including 16 previously unreleased songs.
Final performances 
In 2003, "a very thin and frail" Norman performed his first concert in two years at the Church of the Nazarene in Beaverton, Oregon. The concert recording was released as The Final Concert, but later re-released with the title 70 Miles from Lebanon along with a DVD of the same name. In 2004, Norman received new defibrillator and pacemaker implants and released the album Sessions, which was sent to those who contributed $100 or more to his medical fund. By 2006 Norman was almost blind in his right eye due to dozens of retinal hemorrhages, causing him to crash his car that October.
Norman performed his last official concert on August 4, 2007, in New York City, which was recorded and released as the FINALé DVD. Among the last songs he recorded were "Back to the Dust" and "Walking Backwards" with German singer/songwriter Sarah Brendel, for her album Early Morning Hours; and "Ya Gotta Be Saved" with the Crosstones, which was recorded in July 2007 and released in January 2010.
After a lengthy illness, Norman died on February 24, 2008, at the age of 60 at his home in Salem, Oregon.
The previous day he had posted on his website:
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. 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...I want to say I love you. I'd like to push back the darkness with my bravest effort...Goodbye, farewell, we will meet again.
Following a public memorial on March 1 at the Church on the Hill in Turner, Oregon, Norman was buried in Salem's City View Cemetery. His tombstone reads: "Larry Norman / Evangelist Without Portfolio / 1947–2008 / Bloodstained Israelite".
Awards and honors 
In 1989 Norman was awarded the Christian Artists' Society Lifetime Achievement Award. On November 27, 2001 Norman was inducted into the Gospel Music Association's Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium, and was voted into the CCM Hall of Fame in January 2004 by the readers of CCM magazine. In 2007 Norman was inducted into the San Jose Rocks Hall of Fame, both as a member of People!, and as a solo artist. At that time Norman reunited for a concert with People!
On April 24, 2008 Norman was honored at the 39th GMA Dove Award ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee, which was broadcast live on the Gospel Music Channel. On February 8, 2009 Norman was among those honored in a tribute segment of the 51st Grammy Awards broadcast on the CBS television network.
Pamela Fay Ahlquist 
Norman met Pamela Fay Ahlquist in the summer of 1971. She had been a finalist in the 1971 Miss Minnesota Universe Pageant, then a stewardess for Northwest Orient Airlines. Pamela indicated in September 1972 that she had been involved in "the fast life of the jet set" which included illegal drug use. After "a brief whirlwind courtship", Norman and Pamela married on December 28, 1971 in Minnesota. After their wedding, Pamela worked as a model and actress in commercials.
The couple separated in 1978 and divorced in September 1980. Norman discussed the marriage in several interviews, and attributed their divorce to Pamela's infidelity, drug addiction, and deception; he also said she "had decided she wanted to marry somebody else." Pamela married musician Joey Newman in November 1981 and subsequently appeared as an actress in several television programs. She now runs a modeling agency. In the 2008 documentary Fallen Angel, Pamela blamed Norman for their divorce.
Sarah Mae Finch 
Norman married Sarah Mae Finch on April 27, 1982 in Santa Barbara, California. Sarah was the sister-in-law of Stephen J. Cannell and had previously been married to Randy Stonehill from 1975 to 1980. They first met at the Cedar Lake Camp religious retreat in 1969 and later dated while she was still a high school student.
Norman described his marriage to Sarah in an interview in On Being magazine in 1985:"In April I married a wonderful Christian woman...She was raised in a wealthy family and privately educated. She's a really creative musician from a family of artists...When she became a Christian she turned her back on that world and began working with troubled children at a Montessori school. She was married to a man who liked his liquor and other women more than her. He squandered her life's savings and then left her for another woman. He got remarried two months after his divorce. She's been mending a broken heart for years. She refused to date anyone because she wasn't interested in ever getting married again, and I felt the same way. I just couldn't imagine starting a relationship with anyone ever again."
In August 1985 the couple had their only child, Michael David Fariah Finch Norman, who was born ten weeks premature. After Michael's birth Sarah was diagnosed with post-partum depression, which inspired Norman's song "Baby's Got the Blues", released on Stranded in Babylon in 1991.
Their marriage ended in divorce by 1995. Sarah subsequently re-married.
Following his second marriage, Norman was engaged briefly to Heidi Bartruff in the 1990s.
Paternity allegation 
In July 2008, the Christian magazine World reported that Norman had allegedly fathered a child with an Australian woman, Jennifer Wallace, during a 1988 tour that Wallace had helped to organize. Charles Norman dismissed the allegation, while Randy Stonehill's wife Sandi Stonehill claimed that she and her husband had met the boy and she "knew" he was Norman's son. Singer Sammy Horner wrote and released a song called "Larry's Son" soon after Wallace's claims became public.
Relationship with Randy Stonehill 
The relationship between pioneer Christian rock musicians Larry Norman and Randy Stonehill, sometimes described as the Lennon–McCartney of Christian rock, was a controversial one during its more than forty years from its inception in 1967 until Norman's death in February 2008. For over a decade Randy Stonehill was Norman's protégé, colleague, collaborator, and one of his best friends, but disagreements about finances and relationships resulted in a twenty-year estrangement, followed by a brief reconciliation.
Fallen Angel documentary 
Fallen Angel: The Outlaw Larry Norman: A Bible Story is a controversial 2008 documentary on Norman's life by filmmaker David Di Sabatino. Di Sabatino had sought to include Norman's music in his previous film, a documentary about evangelist Lonnie Frisbee, but had not been able to secure permission from EMI. Fallen Angel includes interviews with many people who had been close to Norman thirty years earlier, including his first wife Pamela Newman, Randy Stonehill, Terry Scott Taylor, and Philip Mangano.
Norman and his second wife had refused to participate or cooperate in the project. A cease and desist notice initiated by Norman's family temporarily prevented the film's public screening, and prompted Di Sabatino to file his own lawsuit against Solid Rock in March 2009. Four months later, the case was settled out of court, allowing the film to be shown. While interviewing Stonehill, Cross Rhythms' Mike Rimmer said the film portrayed Norman as "Machiavellian, particularly in his dealings with his artists."
Randy Stonehill's album Paradise Sky, the official soundtrack to Fallen Angel, was released in December 2008 by Red Road Records. The album was advertised as "a tribute to Larry Norman," prompting one reviewer to comment: "It’s hard to see how Randy Stonehill recording new versions of his own songs, but this time without the involvement of the late Larry Norman, is in any sense a tribute." Ten of the soundtrack's songs originally appeared on albums produced by Norman; the eleventh, "Even the Best of Friends," alludes to the breakdown in Stonehill and Norman's relationship.
In April 2010, Norman's friend and authorized biographer Allen Flemming created the website "Failed Angle: The Truth Behind Fallen Angel", which uses material such as letters, tape recordings, and legal documents to dispute some of the claims made in the film.
Analysis and evaluation of Norman's music 
In 1991 Norman explained the philosophy behind his music:
All of my albums had been made for the pre-Christian mind, the non-believer. Side One was always an introduction of gospel concepts; the existence of God, the reasonable personality of Christianity, the sanity of faith in Jesus and trust in His Holy Spirit. Despite the listener's possible aversion to Church because of experiences from their past, I wanted them to know that I was on their side; a believer understanding their non-belief, but encouraging them to give their life to Jesus. Side Two of my albums were always more assertive, didactic, and opinionated just on the chance that the listener might be interested in exploring the message more deeply. I considered myself a sort of rock and roll missionary, rather, a spy behind enemy lines; intending to help subvert the rule of the realm through personal witness. I took this missionary stuff very seriously but thought of myself in the position that a warrior might find himself if he didn't have the support of his own regiment; from 1956 to 1970 I had felt pretty much alone. By 1975 I no longer felt alone, but did somehow feel angry that records weren't being made for non-believers but aimed specifically "in-house" for a growing commercial Christian market.
According to American Christian music historian John J. Thompson:
Norman’s albums were richly layered in the best tradition of acts like The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Crosby, Stills and Nash, with a dark, apocalyptic streak that referenced nightmares, visions, broken relationships and the constant understanding that he, and the rest of his fellow believers, were truly not of this world. His message engaged the culture with authenticity and conviction, and his imagination articulated the disconnectedness felt by so many people in the aftermath of the 1960s. He seemed to be reclaiming Jesus from the Pharisees and universities and bringing Him back to the streets. He found common ground between the left-of-center political culture of the Vietnam era and the radical message of Jesus Christ. It was a perfect storm of culture and creed, and it set the stage for an entire movement to come up behind him—and eventually pass him by.'
Relationship with the Church and the CCM industry 
Throughout his career, Norman had a contentious relationship with the wider Christian church and with the Christian music industry. He wrote in September 2007, "I love God and I follow Jesus but I just don't have much affinity for the organized folderol of the churches in the Western World." Norman's music addressed a wide range of social issues, such as politics, free love, the occult, the passive commercialism of wartime journalists, and religious hypocrisy, that were outside the scope of his contemporaries. In the words of Barry Alfonso, "Norman's message was confrontational, challenging conservative Christians as well as nonbelievers. Onstage, he criticized churches for their lack of commitment to the disadvantaged." His views on poverty and racism led to receiving multiple death threats in the 1970s.
As Philip Cooney described in 2008:
One of the problems for the church establishment was that Norman did not seem to be writing hymns. Not only was the music rock, the words were full of strange images or open references to subjects such as sex and drugs, and he often failed to "name the name" of Jesus. In understanding the reasons for this, it becomes easier to see that Norman was using principles that are still important for Christians today...Like all those who are serious about mission, he tested God's call, prepared through Bible study and prayer, made sure that he understood the gospel, and chose to speak in a language that would be understood by those he sought to reach in Jesus' name.
Norman defended his approach: "My primary emphasis is not to entertain. But if your art is boring, people will reject your message as well as your art." He said in a 1979 interview that his goal for himself and the artists he mentored was "to break down the limited concepts of what Christian music should be and show what it can be and must be if it's ever to reach people like us. Basically [we] write songs that we can recommend to street people, harlots, junkies, politicians...businessmen." In the 1980s, he complained that Christian music generally meant "sloppy thinking, dishonest metaphors and bad poetry," and that he had "never been able to get over the shock of how bad the lyrics are."
Norman also criticized what he saw as the "commercialization of Christian music in America." He disapproved of Christian musicians who were unwilling to play in secular venues or to "preach" between songs. He commented in 2008 about the role of copyrights and licensing in modern religious music: "God doesn't charge us a fee to worship Him. Isn't it enough that the publisher and writer make money from the CD sales? Do they also have to be paid every time a congregation sings their song? They also get paid for the sheet music which choirs use to memorize their compositions. Isn't that enough money?"
To contemporary Christian music 
In a 2008 interview in Christianity Today, Entertainment Tonight writer Chris Willman asserts that Norman's "influence outweighed his sales so much that it's comical....He really could've been a star if he were singing about something other than Jesus." British pop singer Cliff Richard, who recorded three of Norman's songs on his 1977 Small Corners album, indicated: "Larry was one of our greatest contemporary Christian songwriters, who made it his business to prove that the devil did not 'have all the good music'!" Christian Rock historian John J. Thompson assessed the significance of Norman and his career in 2008: "It is certainly no overstatement to say that Larry Norman is to Christian music what John Lennon is to rock & roll or Bob Dylan is to folk music". and previously in his Raised by Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock & Roll:
Despite the controversy, hype, and low points, Norman's impact on Christian music cannot be overstated. As a songwriter, Norman crystallized the heart of the Jesus Movement; as an artist, he pushed the creative envelope well beyond what had been considered appropriate; as a producer, he brought to prominence some of the most significant artists in Christian music; and, as a businessman (undoubtedly his weakest suit), he ran a label that brought some of the most important albums into the world. He also modeled a successful independent recording career as an alternative to working for a label."
After many years of a negative relationship with Norman, many CCM artists have credited Norman as an influence on their music, particularly in the sub-genre of Christian rock. He is often cited as influencing both Keith Green and Randy Stonehill in their conversions to Christianity. Both eventually became Christian music artists. Stonehill has commented: "If not for Larry Norman, we might all be doing Christian polka or something, but not Christian rock." Susan Perlman, one of the founders of Jews for Jesus traces the beginnings of her conversion to Norman sharing his faith with her on the streets of Manhattan in 1972. Grammy-nominated Australian singer and songwriter Paul Colman, who has covered Norman's "Sweet, Sweet Song of Salvation", on his 2009 album, History, acknowledges Norman's influence on his music.
Others who were influenced by Norman include American CCM musician Steve Camp, who co-wrote "If I Were a Singer" with Norman, which appeared on Camp's 1978 debut album, Sayin' It with Love, who describes Norman as his mentor, and with whom he lived for several months learning the craft of songwriting; Canadian CCM musician Carolyn Arends. Songwriter Bob Hartman, credits Norman and his 1972 song "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?" in his establishing Petra; Peter Banks of British progressive rock/New Wave band After the Fire traces his involvement in "the mainstream music business" to Norman and his album, Only Visiting This Planet. Others who acknowledge Norman's influence on their career or music include American drummer Hilly Michaels, who recorded with Norman and Randy Stonehill in 1970; Grammy Award-winning recording artist and rapper TobyMac, who described Norman as "socially relevant, spiritually significant and passionate about challenging his generation to new heights of love", considered Norman his "greatest lyrical influence"; Mark Salomon, the lead singer of Christian metal band Stavesacre and thrash metal band The Crucified, who reveals that it was Norman's concert performance that connected him to Christian music; and Welsh singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph.
Norman has granted interviews to magazines covering Contemporary Christian music and accepted industry awards. When asked about the relationship between CCM and his own music, Norman has replied "I'm happy if I've been an encouragement to other artists." British poet and musician Steve Scott, who worked closely with Norman at Solid Rock, maintains:
"Regardless of the pros and cons of Solid Rock and all the stories that swirl around Larry Norman, I do think he's made an immensely valuable, foundational contribution to the whole contemporary Christian music industry... and I don't understand how someone that everyone nods towards and acknowledges as seminal ends up apparently scrabbling to pay for medical bills. In my opinion, the ccm industry owes that guy so much for opening the door for so many people. ... The guy took all the bullets, created the market.... I'm just saying that in real world terms... he's owed a lot more than he's currently getting from those parts of the machine that benefited most from his pioneering work."
To rock and folk music 
Larry Norman was "the first artist to successfully infiltrate rock music with a heartfelt, blatant christian message". By 1971, Time magazine was reporting on the growth of the Jesus movement, the magazine stated, "It's like a glacier...it's growing and there's no stopping it." Time went on to say of Norman: "(he was) probably the top solo artist in the field", Norman later distanced himself from Time's characterizations of his involvement.
Over 300 artists have covered his songs, including Sammy Davis, Jr.
According to rock historian Walter Rasmussen, Pete Townshend once said that The Who's 1969 album Tommy was inspired by the rock opera "Epic" by People! (which he could behold every night when on tour with People!). However, Townshend has since denied the connection.
To punk/alternative rock 
Following tours by the first wave of punk musicians in the British Isles in the mid-1970s, the post-punk band U2 was formed in Dublin, Ireland. Active simultaneously in the local punk music scene and the "Shalom Fellowship," some members of U2 eventually became "fans" of Larry Norman's music. Both artists performed, making unannounced appearances, at the U.K.'s Greenbelt Festival in 1981.
Charles Thompson IV discovered Larry Norman's music at age 13 after moving to California and seeing him in concert. Thompson said of Norman during this period: "I don't think Larry Norman was necessarily respected by religious people...he had more of a rebellious rock'n'roll kind of an image." "I dressed like him, I looked like him, he was my total idol." While at college in Massachusetts, Thompson adopted the stage name Black Francis, and formed Pixies along with Joey Santiago, Kim Deal, and David Lovering. According to Kim Deal, the title of Pixies' 1987 mini-LP Come On Pilgrim, as well as a similar line from the song "Levitate Me," derive from a Norman catchphrase used during live performances. In the 1987 recording and subsequent performances of Pixies' song "Levitate Me," lead singer Black shouts "Come on Pilgrim, you know He loves you!" while imitating Larry Norman's accent. While recording Pixies' album Surfer Rosa, producer Steve Albini recognized Pixies' references and realized that he and Black both "had an affection" for Norman's music. They discussed Larry Norman at length during the recording process of the album. With the increased popularity of alternative rock in the 1990s, Pixies earned increased recognition for their work. They were invited by U2 to join them on the Zoo TV tour in 1992. At one show, Black was introduced to Larry Norman by members of U2, who had informed him beforehand that Larry would be coming to the show. Black's solo album Frank Black and the Catholics, recorded in 1997 and released in 1998, featured a cover of Larry Norman's song "Six-Sixty-Six." Beginning in 2004, Pixies embarked on a reunion tour. During this time, in June 2005, frontman Black joined Larry Norman for what was expected to be his final US concert. The pair performed Norman's 1978 song "Watch What You're Doing."
Emil Nikolaisen of indierock/shoegazers Serena Maneesh fame has publicly stated that he is fond of Larry Norman's So Long Ago the Garden, and also took part in several tribute concerts following Larry's death.
Select discography 
Since the 1960s, Norman's work has appeared on over 100 albums, compilations, and concert bootlegs. These recordings have been released under various labels and with various artists. Some of his principal albums are:Upon This Rock (1969)Street Level (1970)Bootleg (1972)Only Visiting This Planet (1972)So Long Ago the Garden (1973)In Another Land (1976)Something New under the Son (1981)Home at Last (1989)Stranded in Babylon (1991)Tourniquet (2001)