See copyright notice at

Norman, Larry

J. Streck:
I agree wholeheartedly, but I think this cuts both ways. The statements about Norman that have been made here (he started the Vineyard Church, he converted Dylan, he is directly responsible for U2 getting started) are no more proven than the arguments that have been made to the contrary. Why then should we be repeating them here? It strikes me that absent proof one way or the other, our inclination should be not to repeat them at all much less in a way that suggests they are to be accepted as fact (i.e, without any reference to the fact that there are those who believe the claims to be false).

Greg Wilson:
>1. is it true?  
> Right.  And that question is what I'm trying to address.  At least two 
> statements in Larry's bio (the Dylan comments and the Vineyard comments) 
> were lies.  
Suggesting that these are lies is a strong indictment. Exactly what are your sources. Is it possible that the statements are at worst exaggerations or even true? Bob Dylan, who says so little on stage anyway (at least in the dozen times I've seen him over the years) did mention Larry Norman by name at a concert in 1980 in Knoxville, Tenn. Nothing about conversion, just a quick mention "I told Larry Norman, mumble, mumble.." before he played "When He Returns" on piano. To be honest, I'm not even sure what he said. My friends and I just sort of looked at each other and said "What did he just say about Larry Norman?" With Dylan's diction I suppose it's possible he just put together sylables that sounded like Larry Norman. Not exactly evidence that would hold up in court. But neither is Dylan's failure to mention LN in interviews about his conversion. I know for a fact he had serveral long discussions with Keith Green (Keith told me so), which I've never seen written about or discussed in interviews. In fact, Dylan interviews of late seem to be of little consequence concerning matters of faith.

Andy Whitman:
I would tend to view the Dylan statements in Larry's bio as exaggerations. Larry *does* know Dylan, and there's no doubt that they have *some* kind of relationship. But doesn't it seem reasonable that if Larry *did* indeed play a major role in Dylan's conversion, as Larry's bio suggests, that Larry's name would appear at least *once* in the series of interviews after Dylan declared himself Born Again and in the ten-page chapter of Dylan's biography that deals with his conversion?

Read the "Rolling Stone" interview with Dylan from March of 1980. Read the chapters on Dylan's conversion in Clinton Heylin's _Bob Dylan: The Man Behind the Shades_. See what you think. Dylan is hardly reticent on the topic. He provides names, dates, church names, etc. But Larry Norman is nowhere to be found.

As you note, a *lack* of a mention cannot necessarily be equated with the fact that Larry wasn't around. But Larry claims to have been instrumental in Dylan's conversion. And the lack of a mention in that case leads me to seriously question Larry's story.

ADate: Sun, 22 Mar 1998 12:38:54 -0400
From: "Dr. Juan Carlos Romero"
To: karlerik
Subject: Re : Larry Norman and Bob Dylan

Hi. Thanks for the page on Dylan. I haven't read the whole thing, but I have enjoyed what I have gone through.

Just one comment. I found a couple of articles on Larry Norman on the "Who's Who" section which are quite deceiving. It is not true that Larry has ever made the statements attributed to him about Dylan, U2 or The Vineyard Church.

Larry has been the source of great controversy since 1970; a lot of false rumors about him have been around since then. People usually twist what he said and use it as "evidence" to prove that Larry is "lying."

What Larry has actually said about Dylan is that Dylan became a Christian at the church Larry used to go to (he has never stated that he "led" Dylan to the Lord). On another occasion, Larry stated that his brother had met Dylan at a party and Dylan wanted to know when Larry would be releasing a new album (back in 86) because Dylan "liked" Larry's music. As you can see, what Larry has actually said and what Larry is accused of saying are not necessarily the same thing.

Thanks for the info on Dylan.

Juan Carlos

These Larry Norman quotes are from an 1984 interview:

LN: Well people used to tease me and say Oh, you're a Christian Bob Dylan and then when Dylan became a Christian in my Bible study they'd say to him Oh you're a secular Larry Norman.

Do you know Dylan?

LN: Not really well. I'd been through several life-times in music and so had he. He'd come out of folk, the early Woody Guthrie, and then went through protest and then went through rock. So he's had several life-times of music and my early music was a lot different from my late 60's music, and then my early 70's music was a lot different from my late 70's music and my music now."

Larry Norman on Dylan's work:

I wanted to mention Dylan - what do you think of Infidels as an album?

LN: I love it.

Do you like the way its more ambiguous than before?

LN: I don't think it's ambiguous - do I like the way it's more artful?

Yeah, maybe that's the word.

LN: I like him reaching more for allegory and parable but I thought Slow Train Coming was the finest gospel album ever written. I'll never write one as good as that, He'll never write one as good as that, - nobody will. It touched me in every area. You know men in conflict, like Dylan was when he was dying to self and becoming a Christian are very interesting. And because he wrote that album when he was a baby in his crib, but he had a lot of knowledge from the world, it was an album that he can never reproduce. He can never re-experience those songs. I first heard it over here in '79 and all weekend I was on a cloud. I thought This is the greatest album I've ever heard. We were all afraid that he would be overly affected by the evangelical simplicity of American mindlessness and write an album that wasn't really worth his gift for poetry. That album is like a prayer, it's a beautiful prayer, a social communion. It's a communion for all the disenchanted people that are angry.

Find it on:

From Sven Knutsen, May 17, 2004

Who's Who