Only Visiting This Planet

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Only Visiting This Planet
Studio album by Larry Norman
Released 1972
Recorded AIR Studios, London
Genre Christian rock
Label Verve
Producer Rod Edwards, Roger Hand and Jon Miller
Larry Norman chronology
Bootleg
(1972)
Only Visiting This Planet
(1972)
So Long Ago the Garden
(1973)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]

Only Visiting This Planet is an album recorded by Larry Norman in 1972. The album was selected as the second album in CCM Magazine's The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music.[2] In April 2014 the album was announced as one of 25 sound recordings inducted for 2013 into the Library of Congress National Recording Registry, that preserves as "cultural, artistic and/or historical treasures, representing the richness and diversity of the American soundscape",[3] making it the first Christian rock album chosen for the registry.[4]

History[edit]

On 8 September 1972 Norman began recording his second studio album,[5] Only Visiting This Planet,[6] the first album in a projected trilogy,[7][8] in AIR Studios in London.[9] Only Visiting This Planet, often ranked as Norman's best album,[10] "mixed his Christian message with strong political themes", and "was meant to reach the flower children disillusioned by the government and the church" with its "abrasive, urban reality of the gospel".[10] In a 1980 interview, Norman explained its purpose:

Only Visiting This Planet is the first part of the trilogy, and represents the present. On the front cover, I find myself standing in the middle of New York City, with buildings and traffic pressed around me and my hand on my head kind of saying, What is going on in this life? Is this really earth?, and the back cover is me visiting the site of a previous civilisation with its own monoliths, not skyscrapers, but amazing, architecturally sound structures just the same. The Druids apparently constructed Stonehenge to help them observe or worship the sun, and their civilisation is now as dead as will someday be New York. And I'm just standing there, looking around, wondering what happened to kill off this culture and reduce its entire recorded history to a few standing structures.[11]

On 6 January 1973 Norman was one of three named as Best New Male Artist of the year by Cashbox.[12] By February 1973 songs from Only Visiting This Planet had been recommended by Billboard for "heavy Top 40 airplay",[13] and were being played on WVVS-FM, KSHE-FM, and WKTK-FM.[14] In 1990 CCM magazine voted Only Visiting This Planet as "the greatest Christian album ever recorded".[15] Only Visiting This Plane was one of 25 sound recordings inducted for 2013 into the Library of Congress National Recording Registry, that preserves as "cultural, artistic and/or historical treasures, representing the richness and diversity of the American soundscape."[16] A statement by the Library of Congress called the album "the key work in the early history of Christian rock," describing Norman as one who "commented on the world as he saw it from his position as a passionate, idiosyncratic outsider to mainstream churches."[17]

After a tour of South Africa in June and the UK in July,[18] and the release in July of his "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?", a songbook featuring some of Norman's songs from both Upon This Rock and Only Visiting This Planet.[19]

In the song "Reader's Digest" Norman sings the following verse: "Dear John, who's more popular now? I´ve been listening to some of Paul's new records. Sometimes I think he really is dead." (see Paul is dead) "Who's more popular now?" makes reference to John Lennon's famous claim that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. The album features King Crimson prog-rock bassist and Asia frontman, John Wetton on bass guitar.

A three-LP boxed set containing the entire trilogy in their originally intended forms and titled The Compleat Trilogy (as mentioned on the insert of the Street Level reissue of Only Visiting This Planet) has never been released.

Tracks[edit]

All tracks composed by Larry Norman

Original LP release
Side 1
  1. "I've Got to Learn to Live Without You"
  2. "The Outlaw"
  3. "Why Don't You Look Into Jesus"
  4. "Righteous Rocker #1"
  5. "I Wish We'd All Been Ready"
Side 2
  1. "I Am Six O'Clock News"
  2. "The Great American Novel"
  3. "Pardon Me"
  4. "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music"
  5. "Reader's Digest"
  6. "Oh, How I Love You" (not listed)
Additional tracks on subsequent releases
  1. "PeacePollutionRevolution" (1971 single)
  2. "Righteous Rocker" (rough mix) or (Hard Rock Version) or (Delta Swamp Version)
  3. "The Outlaw" (demo) or (Rock Remake) or (Peace Mix Remake)
  4. "Digest" (rock version) or "Reader's Digest" (Hard Rock Remake) or (Solid Rock Studio Remake)
Maximum Planet (The Anthology Series)
  1. I've Got To Learn To Live Without You - Basic Master Track
  2. Why Don't You Look Into Jesus - Master Track
  3. I Wish We'd All Been Ready - Basic Master Track
  4. I Am The Six O'Clock News - Basic Master Track
  5. Six O'Clock News - Jet Fade-In with Stewardess
  6. Six O'Clock News - Jet Fade-Out Jam
  7. The Great American Novel - Demo #2 With Faint Vox
  8. Pardon Me - With Vox & No Orchestra
  9. Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music - Vox 2.0
  10. Uncredited, Unidentified Song - Spiral Out-Groove
  11. The Great American Novel - Warm-Up Demo
  12. I-ve Got To Learn To Live Without You - Basic Track
  13. The Outlaw - With Electric Guitars And Guide Vocal
  14. I Am The Six O'Clock News - Basic Track With Guitars And Guide Vocal
  15. I Wish We'd All Been Ready - With Orchestra & No vox
  16. Why Should The Devil - With Guide Vocal
  17. Why Don't You Look Into Jesus - On Stage


MaximumPlanet.jpg

Personnel[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allender, Mark W. B. "(Review) Only Visiting This Planet". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  2. ^ Granger, Thom (2001). The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music. Harvest House. ISBN 0-7369-0281-3. 
  3. ^ "Hallelujah, the 2013 National Recording Registry Reaches 400", "News from the Library of Congress" (April 2, 2014).
  4. ^ "U2, Linda Ronstadt among 25 albums to be preserved", The Washington Post (April 2, 2014).
  5. ^ Michel Ruppli and Ed Novitsky, The MGM Labels: A Discography, 1961 - 1982 Vol. 2 (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1998):762.
  6. ^ For comments about each song, see "PLANET: SONG BY SONG", http://www.onlyvisiting.com/music/discography/Only_Visiting/visiting.songs.html
  7. ^ Only Visiting This Planet, So Long Ago the Garden, and In Another Land are commonly referred to as "The Trilogy."
  8. ^ Larry Norman - So Long Ago The Garden newmusicplease.com 2006-08-28 retrieved 2007-12-27
  9. ^ "Larry in the UK", http://www.larrynorman.uk.com/inuk.html
  10. ^ a b CBNmusic, "Larry Norman", http://www.cbn.com/cbnmusic/artists/norman_larry.aspx
  11. ^ Larry Norman, in "New Music Interview 1980 Part 3", http://dagsrule.com/stuff/larry/intvw80c.html To see the cover and its various releases and versions, see Robert Termorshuizen (with updates by Jim Böthel), "Only Visiting This Planet (1972)", http://www.meetjesushere.com/Only_Visiting_This_Planet.htm
  12. ^ Marc Eliot and Mike Appel, Down Thunder Road: The Making of Bruce Springsteen (Simon & Schuster, 1993):101. The others were Bruce Springsteen and Elliott Murphy.
  13. ^ "Special Merit Picks", Billboard (10 February 1973):64.
  14. ^ "Billboard FM Action", Billboard (17 February 1973):18.
  15. ^ Matthew Dickerson, "Home At Last", in Larry Norman, "Blue Book", (1989):16; Bob Gersztyn, "Jesus and Larry and Me", The Wittenburg Door, http://www.wittenburgdoor.com/larry-norman
  16. ^ "Hallelujah, the 2013 National Recording Registry Reaches 400", "News from the Library of Congress" (April 2, 2014).
  17. ^ "Christian rock pioneer’s album added to National Recording Registry", The Washington post (April 2, 2014).
  18. ^ "Norman Tour of U.K., S. Africa", Billboard (26 May 1973):22.
  19. ^ Larry Norman, Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music Songbook (Los Angeles, CA: One Way, 1972), http://www.meetjesushere.com/songbooks_&_sheet_musics.htm; The songbook was published by One Way Publications (see "Inside Track", Billboard (7 July 1973):66) and released in 1972 (see Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music (1972?), http://www.meetjesushere.com/songbooks_&_sheet_musics.htm)