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Upon This Rock

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Album Review

Long before the days of CCM and the cross-pollination of rock and gospel, Larry Norman and a small group of California musicians began the "Jesus music" movement. With his haggard appearance, sly wit, and street savvy, Norman was almost a pariah within the formal world of gospel, but a real-life godsend to open-minded music fans. With liberal amounts of sarcasm and a respect for religious skeptics, Norman delivered his church-weary message with skilled pop/rock songwriting. The "Christian Sgt. Pepper" comparisons might be a little overdone, but Norman's solo debut, Upon This Rock, is perhaps the first truly accomplished and relevant Christian rock testimony ever recorded. Tracks like "Walking Backward" and "Forget Your Hexagram" have an undeniable grooviness and a ringing message that, for its time, is amazingly unapologetic and free of dogma. Upon This Rock is more than a novelty; it is a bold announcement from a man who wasn't satisfied to simply create a music subgenre — Norman reshaped an industry and the lexicon of the modern gospel.

Customer Reviews

A genuinely grounbreaking album

Larry Norman was in the band People! who had a hit across America in the late sixties with their single I Love You, a Zombies cover. Larry and the band parted ways soon after and, still signed to Capitol he embarked on a solo career. It is difficult nowadays to imagine just how big an impact this album had when it was released almost forty years ago. But there had been nothing like it before, and it changed pretty much everything that followed in christian music. It was controversial, being banned by churches and in many bible bookstores. But it wasn't intended for those already safely parked on church pews. It was meant to be heard by the hippies and beatnicks out on the street corners. Upon This Rock and its creator reached out to the lost, lonely and confused, and were central figures in the Jesus Movement in California, a move of God still talked about often today. So, an immensely important album historically, at least within its genre. And I would dare to say that it has rarely been bettered since by anyone. Forget all the fashion fodder so prevalent in christian music now and go check out the album that started it all!

The Start of it all

First heard this in 1972 after seeing Larry live in Liverpool. It became one of those 'must own' albums of the 70s. Every track is a classic - particularly nothing Really Changes, the haunting I wish We'd All Been Ready and brilliantly tongue in cheek Moses. I lost my 'signed' vinyl copy years ago. Glad to see it finally gracing iTunes!

A classic that's still fresh

Heard this first time in '76 when I was 15, and it was one of the few albums that made me start a band playing Christian rock. Good songs, amazing lyrics, and the voice was already fantastic. A must have for anyone interested early 70s rock. If you are playing in any Christian band, especially writing songs, this is compulsory listening.


Born: 08 April 1947 in Corpus Christi, TX

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The founding father of Jesus Rock, Larry Norman wed the rhythms of pop music with the spiritual and social outlook of Christianity to create a kind of flower-power gospel. While his efforts were instrumental in shaping the sound and themes of contemporary Christian rock, Norman never enjoyed the commercial success or acceptance afforded to his musical descendants, admitting his sensibilities were "too secular for the Christians and too Christian for the secularists." Born in Corpus Christi, TX on...
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Upon This Rock, Larry Norman
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Customer Ratings