Larry Norman died today.

I just heard some sad (happy for him) news. Larry Norman is dead. He died this morning at 2:45 a.m. If you haven’t heard of Larry, you should know that he’s literally the guy who started Christian rock and roll.

The original Jesus Freak. He didn’t do the peace sign, but as a leader of the Jesus Movement, pointed the index finger toward Heaven, signifying “One Way.” He helped lead a movement.

A legend. With Jesus. The Jesus Freak met Jesus face to face this morning. Would’ve been fun to see.

Some memories…

  • In college I hosted a “Thief In the Night” party. We all sat in the Wilkie basement with Kevin on the guitar and sang, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready,” a song he helped make famous.
  • We saw DC Talk sing the song a few months later…and saw the video where they reverently met him.
  • I was sitting at a concert during GMA Week in Nashville in ’95 and a man behind me asks if I’d watch his jacket while he stepped out to take some medicine. It was Larry. I was in shock. We talked all through the show…Rebecca St. James debuted “God” that night.
  • That night he was asking a mutual friend about taking a cab to the Dove Awards. I asked if he needed a ride. He did. I took him. How cool? I woke him up with my 3 p.m. confirmatioin phone call.
  • We talked for the 30 minute drive to the Grand Ol’ Opry. Got McDonald’s. We got there and we went to the security desk to get back stage. I had press credentials…he didn’t. They weren’t going to let him through. I told the security guard, “This guy started this industry…you can ask anyone here.” She leaned in and asked if I was serious. They let him through.
  • Back stage he introduced me to the hordes that were walking up for hugs and hellos. “Have you met my good friend Matt?” he often asked. Seriously. It was amazing. Among the those that night, guys ranging from Toby Mac to Andre Crouch.
  • A few months later he played at my church. He played the Dave Weston piano. Incredible night.
  • He called a few times after the show. I had a message on my answering maching, “Hello, Matt, this is Larry Norman…”

Forgive my name dropping…but that was one cool guy and I was freaked out I got to know him if even for a bit.

He loved his fans…never sold out. Was a little quirky (understatement). Had some extreme opinions. Loved Jesus.

Rest in peace my righteous rocking friend.

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