Only Visiting This Planet
|Only Visiting This Planet|
|Studio album by Larry Norman|
|Recorded||AIR Studios, London|
|Producer||Rod Edwards, Roger Hand and Jon Miller|
|Larry Norman chronology|
On 8 September 1972 Norman began recording his second studio album, Only Visiting This Planet, the first album in a projected trilogy, in Beatles producer George Martin's AIR Studios at 214 Oxford Street, London. Only Visiting This Planet, often ranked as Norman's best album, "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". 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.
On 6 January 1973 Norman was one of three named as Best New Male Artist of the year by Cashbox. By February 1973 songs from Only Visiting This Planet had been recommended by Billboard for "heavy Top 40 airplay", and were being played on WVVS-FM, KSHE-FM, and WKTK-FM. In 1990 CCM magazine voted Only Visiting This Planet as "the greatest Christian album ever recorded".
After a tour of South Africa in June and the UK in July, 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.
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.
This album was supposed to be number six in a series of fourteen albums, as mentioned on the inner sleeve of "Something New Under The Son" (albums number nine through fourteen have not been released, see part II). A three-LP boxed set containing albums #6, #7 & #8 and titled The Compleat Trilogy (as mentioned on the insert of the Street Level reissue of "Only Visiting This Planet") has never been released.
All tracks composed by Larry Norman
- Original LP release
- Side 1
- "I've Got to Learn to Live Without You"
- "The Outlaw"
- "Why Don't You Look Into Jesus"
- "Righteous Rocker #1"
- "I Wish We'd All Been Ready"
- Side 2
- "I Am Six O'Clock News"
- "The Great American Novel"
- "Pardon Me"
- "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music"
- "Reader's Digest"
- "Oh, How I Love You" (not listed)
- Additional tracks on subsequent releases
- "PeacePollutionRevolution" (1971 single)
- "Righteous Rocker" (rough mix)
- "The Outlaw" (demo)
- "Digest" (rock version)
- Maximum Planet (The Anthology Series)
- I've Got To Learn To Live Without You - Basic Master Track
- Why Don't You Look Into Jesus - Master Track
- I Wish We'd All Been Ready - Basic Master Track
- I Am The Six O'Clock News - Basic Master Track
- Six O'Clock News - Jet Fade-In with Stewardess
- Six O'Clock News - Jet Fade-Out Jam
- The Great American Novel - Demo #2 With Faint Vox
- Pardon Me - With Vox & No Orchestra
- Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music - Vox 2.0
- Uncredited, Unidentified Song - Spiral Out-Groove
- The Great American Novel - Warm-Up Demo
- I-ve Got To Learn To Live Without You - Basic Track
- The Outlaw - With Electric Guitars And Guide Vocal
- I Am The Six O'Clock News - Basic Track With Guitars And Guide Vocal
- I Wish We'd All Been Ready - With Orchestra & No vox
- Why Should The Devil - With Guide Vocal
- Why Don't You Look Into Jesus - On Stage
- Larry Norman – vocals, piano
- John Wetton – bass
- Keith Smart – drums
- Mickey Keen – guitar
- Rod Edwards – piano and backing vocals
- Roger Hand – backing vocals
- Gordon Giltrap – guitar
- Bob Brady – piano
- Bill Price – engineer
- Allender, Mark W. B. "(Review) Only Visiting This Planet". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
- Granger, Thom (2001). The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music. Harvest House. ISBN 0-7369-0281-3.
- Michel Ruppli and Ed Novitsky, The MGM Labels: A Discography, 1961 - 1982 Vol. 2 (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1998):762.
- For comments about each song, see "PLANET: SONG BY SONG", http://www.onlyvisiting.com/music/discography/Only_Visiting/visiting.songs.html
- Only Visiting This Planet, So Long Ago the Garden, and In Another Land are commonly referred to as "The Trilogy."
- Larry Norman - So Long Ago The Garden newmusicplease.com 2006-08-28 retrieved 2007-12-27
- "Larry in the UK", http://www.larrynorman.uk.com/inuk.html
- CBNmusic, "Larry Norman", http://www.cbn.com/cbnmusic/artists/norman_larry.aspx
- 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
- 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.
- "Special Merit Picks", Billboard (10 February 1973):64.
- "Billboard FM Action", Billboard (17 February 1973):18.
- 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
- "Norman Tour of U.K., S. Africa", Billboard (26 May 1973):22.
- 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)