He was a man who wouldn’t let anyone off the hook. A rocker on the outside but a broken pilgrim within.
This was how I described Larry Norman, a character that I wrote about in the book Revival’s Symphony. This controversial musician is not your typical figure that plays a part within the revival narrative, but when placed within the radical Jesus Movement of the 60’s and 70’s that devoted their service to the un-compromised message of the One True Rebel, his lyrics start to take on a different form.
Rolling Stones are millionaires, flower children pallbearers, Beatles said ‘All you need is love’, and then they broke up. Jimi took an overdose, Janis followed so close, the whole music scene and all the bands are pretty comatose. This time last year, people didn’t wanna hear. They looked at Jesus from afar, this year he’s a ‘superstar.’
… your money says in God we trust, but it’s against the law to pray in school. You say we beat the Russians to the moon and I say you starved your children to do it. You say all men are equal, all men are brothers, then why are the rich more equal than others. Don’t ask me for the answer, I’ve only got one. That a man leaves his darkness when he follows the Son.
The cries of justice from a broken heart sound different to opinionated and arrogant howls. The frailty of Larry’s own life was plain for him and his fellow travellers to see, yet his devotion to God continually addressed the personal contradictions. His boldness to declare the truth to a world that preferred a lie meant that some shunned or rejected his message, but he continued to travel that path of honesty until his death in 2008.
He truly was a rocker on the outside and a broken pilgrim within.