Larry Norman - Only Visiting This Planet

Published Wednesday 25th February 2009
Larry Norman - Only Visiting This Planet
Larry Norman - Only Visiting This Planet

STYLE: Jesus Music
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 51303-14840
LABEL: Solid Rock SRDX002
RRP: £14.69

Reviewed by Philip Woodward

When Christian pioneer Larry Norman finished his visit early last year, he left behind a music world that had been greatly touched by his presence. His was a life that accomplished much, and that undoubtedly brought many people to Christ. Here then, is 'Only Visiting This Planet', a 1972 re-release of what is considered by many to be Norman's magnum opus, the first of his 'trilogy' of great Christian rock albums. The question is - as with all re-issues - has 'Only Visiting This Planet' aged well? There was no doubting its popularity in the mid-'70s, but does it still carry weight? Unlike his hair on the cover sleeve, the answer for Norman is a resounding yes. His lyrics are biting, garbed in truth and delivered with a real punch, and could well have been written this millennium. Songs about media exposure ("I Am The Six O Clock News") and drug-addled pop stars ("Why Don't You Look Into Jesus?") are just as relevant as they were in Norman's heyday. Which is not to belittle the music. The production at London's Air Studios is wonderful. Norman's songs are timeless, akin to those of Neil Young, Bob Dylan or The Beatles, but crucially, never falling into pastiche. "I've got to learn to live without you", Norman wails on the opener, in a manner reminiscent of his protégé, The Pixies' Frank Black, a lament that millions will find themselves howling back at the much-missed icon.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Jerry Thompson in Essex, UK. @ 18:01 on Aug 3 2010

I enjoy many types of music from The Byrds, Bob Dylan, The Four Seasons and Tomita to name only a few.
However when it comes to my favourite album of all time it is Only Visiting This Planet.
The earlier Upon This Rock hinted at Larry's song writing abilities and vocal delivery, but this is his greatest release.
Where to start, well the front cover shows Larry in, I think, a San Fransico street and the back is Larry dwarfed by Stonehedge.
All the songs are of the highest quality including 2 love songs, I/ve Got To Learn To Live Without You and Pardon Me.
The lounder songs include Why Don't You Look Into Jesus and Why Should The Devil have All The Good Music.
Rightous Rocker could have been the template for Bob Dylan's Gotta Serve Somebody while The Great American Novel is a hard hitting bash at American society for religious hypocrisy.
Reader's Digest is a semi humorous look at the music scene of the early 1970s, all very perceptive.
I Am The The Six O'Clock News is a monster of an anti war song as you are ever likely to hear.
The Outlaw is a collection of views regarding the life of Jesus Christ and I'd Wished We'd All Been Ready is a heartfelt plea to all listerners to respond to His call on our lives.
The production is fantastic and look out for a short hidden track after Reader's Digest.
If you have never heard this album, I hope you will give it a try.

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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