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Library of Congress Honors the Work of Early Christian Rocker Larry Norman

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Only Visiting This Planet album coverby Jeff Koch, The World

The Library of Congress recently added the work of Christian rock innovator Larry Norman to the National Recording Registry, an elite collection of recordings marked for special preservation as “cultural, artistic, or historical treasures.” Norman is the first Christian rock artist to be chosen, making the list with his groundbreaking 1972 folk-rock album Only Visiting This Planet. Of the 25 artists selected this year, Norman keeps company with the likes of Stephen Sondheim, Bing Crosby, and the Everly Brothers.

Many Christians today have never heard of Norman, though his influence on Christian music is vast: More than 300 artists from Rebecca St. James to DC Talk have covered his songs. CCM Magazine assessed, “it is certainly no overstatement to say that Larry Norman is to Christian music what John Lennon is to rock-and-roll or Bob Dylan is to folk music.”

The Library of Congress noted Norman’s somewhat “controversial” tenure. Indeed, he was a veritable lightning rod in his day, for a couple of reasons. First was the rock music itself, which excited profound suspicion among people of faith. It was through rock-and-roll, after all, that the social and sexual revolution of the 60s thrived and found expression.

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© 2014 World

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