Larry Norman, the legendary Contemporary Christian musician, died early yesterday morning at his home in Corpus Christi, Texas, from heart failure. During his remarkable and often turbulent career, he was variously referred to as the "Father of Christian Rock" and the "Frank Zappa of Christian Rock." According to the appreciative obituary in Harp Magazine, the Portland-based Arena Rock label already had plans to issue a 20-song retrospective of Norman's work.
Norman's groundbreaking album, Only Visiting This Planet, popularized the Martin Luther phrase, “Why should the devil have all the good music?” making it a kind of raison d'etre for the fledgling Contemporary Christian Music movement. In 2001 he was inducted into the Gospel Music Association’s Hall of Fame. Then just last year he was also inducted into the San Jose Rock Hall of Fame.
Knowing that his all too short "visit" on this planet was nearing its end, he posted a farewell on his website:
Goodbye, farewell, we'll meet again
Somewhere beyond the sky.
I pray that you will stay with God
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye.