1960s and 70s
UPON THIS ROCK, 1969 When Upon This Rock was first released in 1969 it didn't fit into any genre of commercial music. There had never been an album like it, and no one knew what to do with it or quite what to make of it. Its vinyl grooves contained the Christian message presented with modern modalities in a rock and roll syntax, which had never been done before, and it came as a shock to conservative Gospel Music fans. But it struck a chord with a small handful of people whose numbers swelled in the following years... ..quickly, other Christian Rock artists and groups sprang up, inspired and encouraged by Larry's vision, and over time a nascent Christian "Music Industry" ballooned into the multi-million dollar genre it is today, thanks in no small part to the clarion call contained in the songs on this, the first real Christian Rock record.
STREET LEVEL, 1970 Remastered from available source material, this re-release of Larry's classic album comes in a six panel Digipak cover. Larry independently released Street Level while he was in between major label contracts. The first and second versions of the LP had different songs on side two of the vinyl, but this CD has all of the songs from both versions. It's a classic Jesus Music album and an integral part of any Larry Norman collection. [Description relates to 2015 CD release]
BOOTLEG, 1972 In early 1972 One Way Records released Bootleg, a double album retrospective covering the previous four years of Norman's career compiled from demonstration recordings made while at Capitol Records, private recordings from his friends, and various interviews and live performances. It was deliberately recorded to sound like an unauthorized bootleg recording to ensure reception by street people. who were wary of slick major label products.
ONLY VISITING THIS PLANET, 1972 In April 2014, Only Visiting This Planet was announced as one of 25 sound recordings inducted for 2013 into the Library of Congress National Recording Registry, citing it as a "cultural, artistic and historical treasure, representing the richness and diversity of the American soundscape". More than four decades after its release, Planet is also regarded as a landmark recording in the history of contemporary Christian music. Originally released in 1972, the album was voted in 1990 by CCM magazine as the greatest Christian album ever recorded. We can't say we disagree ;-) The All Music Guide says that "this record truly shines with great lyrics sung to great melodies... the power and passion of "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" is unmistakable and understatedly intense. Other songs such as "The Outlaw" take on the ballad song form to sing about Jesus in a timeless Dylan-esque manner. "The Great American Novel" sings through tears of despair about hypocrisy among both Christians and non-Christians alike. This is the record that begat a thousand cliches, but the sincerity with which Norman's message is delivered belies any skepticism for the triteness of his words. Sarcasm and humor also grace this record in the form of "I Am the Six O'Clock News" and "Reader's Digest." This record is a one-of-a-kind collection.
SO LONG AGO THE GARDEN, 1973 So Long Ago The Garden, part two of a trilogy that included Only Visiting This Planet and In Another Land, was attacked by the Christian press when it came out in 1973. Controversial at the time for both its lyrical content and "provocative" album cover, it has gone on to become one of the most respected releases in Larry Norman's career. Many people call it their favourite. "...there are plenty of highlights, including "Christmas Time," with its footloose Rolling Stones swagger, and the incredible "Meet Me at the Airport (Fly, Fly, Fly)." Lyrically, this is one of Norman's more elliptical efforts in terms of its Christian references; however, the message is quite clear. Just underneath the '70s British rock dialect and shimmering songwriting is a defiant sermon that staunchly proclaims Norman's identity as a devout Christian outsider." - All Music Guide
IN ANOTHER LAND, 1976 In Another Land is honest, raw and humble. Larry Norman, with this album, showed he was a force to be reckoned with in mainstream Christian music. 1972's Only Visiting the Planet had already taken root and shook the hallowed doors of CCM. 1976's In Another Land took it farther, producing a seminal inspiration to musicians for over 30 years. Now, as his songs have been covered by everyone from DC Talk to Frank Black (Pixies), it is worth looking at the originals. In Another Land contains some of his most well-known songs, including "The Rock That Doesn't Roll," "Righteous Rocker #3," "Why Don't You Look Into Jesus," and "I Am a Servant."
STREAMS OF WHITE LIGHT INTO DARKENED CORNERS, 1977 In 1974, frustrated by the music industry's intention to dilute the impact of Jesus rock through the many religious songs that mainstream artists chose to record and the fallacious rumours that celebrities like Clapton had been saved, Larry Norman wrote various hard hitting features that magazines and papers wouldn't print. As a second line of attack he decamped to his home with a pile of recording equipment and a few friends to record a series of tongue in cheek cover version. Randy Stonehill introduces the songs in the style of an over-the-top egotistical West Coast DJ, The Surf Duke, and frankly this has some hysterically funny moments! Their acoustic version of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit In The Sky" is absolutely hilarious! Larry's imitation of Mick Jagger on the Stones' "Shine A Light" is outrageous and the segue of "Bridge Over Troubled Water", "Let It Be" and "My Sweet Lord" is suitably respectful, until we get to the disco break in the latter song and Larry again adopting Mick Jagger mode starts singing, "I'm So Bored". Call me iconoclastic but these songs deserve to be ripped apart! After the Clapton rumours of conversion which surface every five years or so, "Presence Of The Lord" is given a straight rendition although it's worth bearing in mind Larry reports that Clapton wrote it to express escaping from the police who wanted to bust him for drugs! This CD release closes with two bonus tracks which did not appear on the original vinyl release. This time they're introduced by Larry's Big Bomber DJ alter-ego on Radio K.R.A.P. and include another great Mick Jagger impersonation on "I Am Waiting". Mischievous yet making an important contribution cataloguing counterfeit "Christian" culture. Another album for Larry completists! - (Description from Cross Rhythms Magazine)