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Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?

Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock
Narrated by: Stephen R. Thorne
Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In 1969, in Capitol Records' Hollywood studio, a blonde-haired troubadour named Larry Norman laid track for an album that would launch a new genre of music and one of the strangest, most interesting careers in modern rock. Having spent the bulk of the 1960s playing on bills with acts like The Who, Janis Joplin, and The Doors, Norman decided that he wanted to sing about the most countercultural subject of all: Jesus.

Billboard called Norman "the most important songwriter since Paul Simon", and his music would go on to inspire members of bands as diverse as U2, The Pixies, Guns N' Roses, and more. To a young generation of Christians who wanted a way to be different in the American cultural scene, Larry was a godsend - spinning songs about one's eternal soul as deftly as he did ones critiquing consumerism, middle-class values, and the Vietnam War. To the religious establishment, however, he was a thorn in the side; to secular music fans, he was an enigma.

In Why Should the Devil Have all the Good Music?, Gregory Alan Thornbury draws on unparalleled access to Norman's personal papers and archives to narrate the conflicts that defined the singer's life, as he crisscrossed the developing fault lines between Evangelicals and mainstream American culture - friction that continues to this day.

©2018 Gregory A. Thornbury (P)2018 Tantor

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Hagiography not Biography

I have loved Larry Norman’s music for 45 years, and saw Solid Rock as a magical place in the late 70’s. Still, I know Norman was unreliable and, at times, almost pathological in his name-dropping stories. I’d expected this book to explain the contradictions in an artist’s life. Instead,it reads like a biography written by a son waiting for a will to be finalized.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful