Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In Another Land: the death of Larry Norman

I think it was 1972. Larry Norman arrived in Scotland to play for the first time, at the militantly traditional, eccentrically evangelical Tent Hall in Glasgow's Saltmarket. It was the moment rock'n'roll in all its glamour, hairiness, colour and American vigour, arrived in the midst of Scottish fundamentalism. Nothing would ever be the same again, not least for me.

Larry died, after a long illness, on Sunday. Some of his songs were stark warnings about the imminent rapture - one now-irritating aspect of his theology he shared, alas, with George Bush (not that their politics were even remotely similar. I hope...) - but others stand as rock classics that both affirm and transcend their religious standpoint. And he was a truly mesmeric, sometimes hilarious performer.

Whatever, for many of us, he changed everything.


LNfan said...

I wasn't born until 1973 but have heard a few other people mention the same Tent Hall gig and there only being one microphone available to use for a combination of Larry's vocals and guitar and so he perched on the lectern and tried to balance the levels that way!

I saw him at Motherwell Civic Centre in 1991 and was dragged along with the rest of my youth fellowship by some people who had seen him at Greenbelt a year or two earlier. 3 hours after enetering the building with no expectations of a good gig from an unknown middle aged hippie i left an avid fan! Saw him one more time in Motherwell later that year and then travelled to Belfast in 1998 and 2000 to see his gigs there, and had perhaps the best 2 weeks of my life travelling with Larry and some of his family on his final UK tour in August 2001... during which a 4 hour concert at the Edinburgh Festival was a highlight... with Larry playing half his set in a homemade highland dress outfit and getting away with it! He performed most of the tour on crutches after being run over by the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour bus on the second day of the tour. Truly one of a kind... and forgetting about the songs and concert a great, warm, and very caring friend.

illustrationISM.... said...

His greatest line was “The Beatles said ‘All You Need Is Love’, and then they broke up!”
The aftershocks will be felt for months...years to come.
Pray for us, ‘Triumphant Saint Larry’, for us ‘Militant Saints’ still here on earth (eph. 6:18..)

mark @