Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky”, the Doobie Brothers’ “Jesus Is Just Alright”, George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”, Blind Faith’s “Presence of the Lord”, The Beatles’ “Let It Be”.
All mainstream songs. All songs that deal with Christianity, or at the very least, spirituality.
But slap a label on someone like Larry Norman as being a “Christian rocker”, and it turns people off.
Larry Norman was arguably the first “Christian rocker” and he really hit his stride with his second album, Only Visiting This Planet.
It’s a classic rock album. No question about it. But one that’s filled with spirituality, politics (“The politicians all make speeches while the news men all take notes / And they exaggerate the issues as they shove them down our throats / Is it really up to them whether this country sinks or floats? / Well I wonder who would lead us if none of us would vote“), and controversy. You wouldn’t expect a song with the title “Why Don’t You Look Into Jesus” to contain the line “Gonorrhea on Valentine’s Day, and you’re still looking for the perfect lay.”
The spirituality contained within this classic rock album is obvious, but it’s not cringe-worthy (though “Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music” gets close). It’s on par with “My Sweet Lord” and “Let It Be”, and a lot of the songs are just as good as the ones mentioned above.
It’s a great album. One that the was inducted into the Library of Congress National Recording Registry in 2014.
Feeling adventurous? Start with Side One of Only Visiting This Planet. It’ll only take 20 minutes of your time. Who knows… you may like it. You may have a new guilty pleasure. You’ll certainly wonder how “I’ve Got to Learn to Live Without You” wasn’t a hit!