Thanks Larry … Goodbye

Larry_Me.jpg

I’ve just read the sad news that Larry Norman has passed away at the age of 60.

I’ve been listening to his music for over 30 years. I had the privilege of seeing him in concert twice when he visited Perth. The first time when I was about 15, the second back in 1988 when the photo above of me with Larry was taken.

Larry was known as the Father of Christian Rock and he paved the way for many musicians who came after him who wanted to use contemporary music to tell others about Jesus.

He had been in declining health for many years and yesterday the time came for him to head home.

The following statement was issued from his brother Charles.

Hello everybody.

Our friend and my wonderful brother Larry passed away at 2:45 Sunday morning. Kristin and I were with him, holding his hands and sitting in bed with him when his heart finally slowed to a stop. We spent this past week laughing, singing, and praying with him, and all the while he had us taking notes on new song ideas and instructions on how to continue his ministry and art

Yesterday afternoon he knew he was going to go home to God very soon and he dictated the following message to you while his friend Allen Fleming typed these words into Larry’s computer:
________________________________

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
________________________________________

Thank you to all of you who were so nice to my brother over the years. Kristin and I will post funeral information in the next day or two. Right now we’re not able to function very well, but the whole family is here … our mother Margaret, our sisters Nancy and Kristy, Mike Norman and his new wife Tiffany, and Silver.

We miss him beyond words. Thank you for everything.

Peace to you all in Christ,

Charles Norman

Larry gave me many, many hours of enjoyment. His songs have not only provided enjoyment, they’ve caused me to think, they’ve given me hope and inspired me.

The world won’t be the same without Larry Norman but I’m sure there’s a great concert just getting underway in heaven.

I’m shedding a tear or two tonight because he’s gone but I’m so pleased that he can now enjoy paradise without all the pain he’s experienced over several years.

Thanks for all the good times, Larry, and goodbye.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist and blogger from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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15 Comments

  • What a loss! Larry was a statesman for Christian rock and folk music. I remember picking up his records in a store back in 1977 and being encouraged that there was a bridge between the sacred music culture of my parents’ generation and the emerging popular culture of my own generation. Larry, with his colleagues, sand and talked about real things in their concerts and albums.

    Thanks for posting this Rodney.

  • Thanks Duncan.

    I’d known that Larry was unwell for quite some time and that this day would inevitably come but it was still a shock to hear that he’d gone and I’m finding it quite emotional.

  • A sad day indeed. An end of an era really. I have been a fan of Larry Norman’s most of my life. I have many of his albums, have seen him several times, and believe it or not even wrote a paper on him in high school. God used him in my life in some profound ways. He will be missed.

  • Wow how cool that he could write that note to everyone – that he could almost ‘enjoy’ his deathbed! Singing, praying and talking with his loved ones in his final hours. I must admit I hadn’t heard of Larry Norman til yesterday (yes i’m from that uneducated Generation Y) but after doing some research he seems like a really interesting guy who paved the way for a lot of my favourite Christian artists today.

    On the whole “deathbed” thing…if you haven’t already, you NEED to hear the last track on Relient K’s latest album (Five Score & Seven Years Ago), it’s called Deathbed – it’s the most amaaaaaazing song about…well a guy on his deathbed and what is running through his head. Almost like a Christian version of Bohemian Rhapsody….almost…one to get you thinking, anyway.

    Thanks for posting Rodney.

  • Sad news! He will be missed. I only have a few of his songs but they are really special.

    You both look very cute (and young) in the photo.

  • This is a great tribute, Rodney. I, too, had posted just a few short lines this morning when I first heard the news. He leaves a wonderful musical legacy, and his final words are a fantastic witness to the new life he was ready to enter.

    I first heard Larry when I was a young teenager, and then I saw him in concert in 1972 (while attending Campus Crusade for Christ’s Explo ’72 in Dallas, Texas, that summer). I smile when I think of the fantastic concerts going on in Heaven now!

  • Good to hear from you again, Shelley.

    Yes, Larry influenced many singers and songwriters. He really was a pioneer.

    I’ll have to check out that Relient K song.

  • I am so jealous of your picture! I would have loved to have met Larry Norman. He had such an impact in my life. It was because of him (and a few others like him) that I really first saw Christianity as a “real” thing.

  • Hey Rod

    I remember in my bad old days talking with you and Andrew Phillips and doubting that Larry was even a Christian. Guess I’ve changed a lot since then. Managed to see him in Northern Ireland years ago and when he asked for requests this really “Ulster” voice yelled out “Yeah, Cut yer hair” to which he responded “What did you want to step outside and say to me?” Sure beats the saccharine wanna-be singers doing the rounds today (Christian AND secular). Got a picture with him too, but it’s gotten lost along the way. BTW – he doesn’t look that much older than you in the photo – is there something you’re not letting on to?

  • Hey Matt, I loved the tribute to Larry on your blog.

    Did you notice that he was wearing the same shirt in one of those video clips as he was in the photo with me?

  • Steve, I never ‘really’ doubted his faith … on the other hand I’ve always had my doubts about you. 🙂

    Seriously – he certainly didn’t conform to what most people would expect from a Christian but he loved Jesus. He made mistakes along the way but he’s certainly not alone there.

    As for the ages …. he would have been around 40 in that picture and I would have been around 24. Either I looked old for my age or he looked young.