It’s quite strange that I’ve only just caught up on the news of his passing a month or so late but that just goes to prove how relatively obscure he always was to the mainstream. He still commanded an obituary in The Guardian and The Times this side of the Atlantic.
He described his output as having too much Jesus for the mainstream but too much rock for the church – something he seems to have suffered for throughout his career. The 70s were without doubt his heyday artistically with the trilogy of Only Visiting The Planet, So Long Ago The Garden and In Another Land (aka as Planet, Garden and Land to fans). These albums pushed back the limits as to what could be achieved within the relatively confined realms of Jesus rock – an area that Norman pretty much scooped out himself. In later years, his output became a lot harder to track down but also became a lot less focused with occasional peaks of brilliance such as Stranded in Babylon.
It’s quite sad to see him pass away so young but by all accounts he was more than ready to go so farewell Larry and thanks for the great music, your passion, flair and inimitable delivery style.
You can take your diamonds and lock them in your vault,
And you will lose everything you save,
You can take your flowers and lay them on his tomb,
But I know he rose up from the grave.
(Diamonds, In Another Land, 1976)