Larry Norman Message Board

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Post Info TOPIC: Larry's songs....
Kevin Phillips

Larry's songs....

At 14 years old, growing up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, a friend played me a tape of an unknown musician that he got at a garage sale, and my world changed... I was a new Christian struggling with the clash between my new found faith and my passion for music, which seemed to need to be in opposition with each other... and then I heard "Why Should The Devil", and I heard my own thoughts clearly expressed... wow! then, came the search for more music by this amazing writer... before the internet. It took months to find out that this unknown fella was "Larry Norman", and then we tracked down Phydeaux and tryed to order a few of the tapes of music we'd heard on this mixed tape... most of the albums were discontinued, and before digital media, Phydeaux couldn't just print some off for us... in fact, to get some of the tapes that were discontinued, we could have still ordered them, if we wanted to buy 100 of them so they could afford to reprint a batch! I don't remember which album it was, but one of them we wanted so badly we tryed to drum up 98 other possible buyers so we could try and make it happen... it didn't work, and we were pretty frustrated! We ordered everything we COULD get our hands on, and we learned them all. These songs transformed my faith... took me from "church" to a desire to really know God, gave me strength, but also helped me come to terms with my faulted humanness, so that when I failed I learned to be motivated by conviction rather than crushed under guilt. What's more, the music was so good, that when I played it for unsaved friends, they wanted to hear more, and it sparked many cool conversations.
Fast forward to being an adult and a musician living in British Columbia, Canada. I got a chance to see Larry play live for the first and last chance that I would get, (a friend of mine and I almost got the chance to see Larry a few years before, but the show was cancelled because of his health..) but watching a huge church packed with people in complete silence hanging on his every word, I saw that he had made the same deep impact on many other lives, too, and then (as all you die-hard fans know), he invited people to join him for coffee afterwards, and I got to go for coffee with this man who had such an impact on my life... what a blessing!
I found out from a friend in Abbotsford that Larry had passed... I knew his health had been challenging for some time, and I guess I wasn't surprised to hear that it had got the best of him... what did surprise me, though, was how hard it hit me. It feels like a family member is gone, or one of my best friends... I am going to do a little concert for some of my friends who are missing Larry, too, and we'll sing his songs, and remember that Jesus is everything we need, and we need to help others find that out the way Larry did for us. It's going to be a few days before I can really put together a set though, cause right now I can't sing half the songs without choking up... Thank you Larry, so much, for the songs, the foundation, the grace, and the great example of how to live in the world but not be of it. See you when I get there. Kevin

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