Posted April 18, 2010 by The Underground Staff in Culture

Controversial Documentary on Larry Norman, “Father of Christian Rock” Will Finally be Shown

The controversial documentary on the life of Larry Norman, the “Father of Christian Rock,” will be screened on Tuesday, 6:30 pm at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville.

After the screening of “Fallen Angel: the Outlaw Larry Norman,” director David Di Sabatino and Randy Stonehill, a longtime friend of Norman, will answer questions from the audience.

Controversial documentary on Larry Norman, ‘father of Christian rock’ to be shown after years of legal wrangling

“Fallen Angel: the Outlaw Larry Norman,” will be shown after a court judgment favoring Di Sabatino was made recently.  Norman’s family tried to block the film claiming violations of the copyright law and denying some allegations that were made in the film.

“Fallen Angel: the Outlaw Larry Norman” pays tribute to Norman’s musical genius, but also tackles his dark side, citing Norman’s relationship with Stonehill’s estranged wife, allegations of cheating his business partners out of royalties, and fathering a child out of wedlock with another woman.

Norman was a San Francisco hippie who wrote songs about Jesus, sex, drugs, war and the end times.  His music made him a hero of the 1970s Jesus freaks and his albums such as Upon This Rock, Only Visiting This Planet and So Long Ago the Garden became Christian rock classics.

From 1966 to 1968 Norman performed in concerts with The Doors, The Who, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix, among others.  His band People! scored a Billboard hit in 1968 with a cover of The Zombies’ song “I Love You.”  However, Norman left the band the day People!’s debut album was released.

His 1972 release, Only Visiting This Planet, is considered one of the best albums in Christian rock, and his music influenced that of U2, John Mellencamp, and the Pixies.

Time Magazine called Norman “the most significant artist in his field.” Over 300 cover versions of his songs have been recorded by artists such as Petula Clark, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Black, and Cliff Richard.  His songs have also been recorded by contemporary Christian artists like DC Talk, Rebecca St. James, and Audio Adrenaline.

Norman performed for The White House twice, and also performed in the Hollywood Bowl, the Sydney Opera House, the Palladium and London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall, which he sold out six times. In the last 40 years Norman has released nearly 100 solo albums.

Of “Fallen Angel: The Outlaw Larry Norman,” Stonehill said he believed the documentary has a redemptive message and celebrates Norman’s brilliance as a musician.   Of his stormy friendship with Norman he adds, “You see us (in the film) on our best days as friends and collaborators, and on our worse days.  It’s a picture of God’s faithfulness.”