I'm not sure how many of you know or have even heard of Larry Norman. He's considered the "father" of contemporary Christian Music; but don't think for a minute that he's responsible for all the prosaic pablum that you find in most of this genre's music today. I'm not saying that Larry was the second coming of Isaac Watts or the Wesley brothers, but he had more Luther in his song writing than you'd find in 99% of the trite and insipid nonsense that passes for Christian music nowadays.
I'll have to admit that there are some contemporary artists that come to mind that have somewhat carried the torch: DC Talk, Rich Mullins, Phil Keaggy, Waterdeep, Ken Tamplin and Sixpence None the Richer come to mind, as well as the hard rock band REZ (excellent band and very relevent) and maybe a handful of others that I can't think of right now that you'll also never hear on Christian radio. These artist wrote great songs--musically and lyrically!
Larry died back in February of this year and his legacy lives on whether this generation realizes it or not. He was able to write very interesting (popular) music that transcended "Christian" ideas. He was able to be critically acclaimed in the secular music industry while at the same time challenging the Church to be the Church! He was able to write powerful and emotional music and lyrics but also had a great sense of humor and irony. He didn't take himself too seriously, as you can tell from some of the material I uploaded; but at the same time he took his Christian responsibility very seriously, as is evident in his worlwide ministry to the poor and outcast of the world as well as to the Christian community at large through his music and writings. He wrote from personal experiences as well as prophetically--challenging Christians from Scriptural Authority. He wrote songs to challenge and songs to simply enjoy; but all of his music ministered to the soul. Simply put, the man was Brother, teacher, minister and evangelist; qualities that should make up all of God's people as we share with Larry in being a light of the Gospel to the world! I may not have agreed with every position of his theologically, but I agreed with his heart--he loved the Lord and His people and the world that Jesus died for.
I have uploaded just a very small sampling of Larry's music that I own. I do so in the hope that others will appreciate the man and his music. I never met him personally, but I look forward to the day when I can see him face to face and thank him for his ministry to me.