April 28, 2010

"Why should the Devil have all the good music?" - Bruce Atchison

"You mustn't listen to that ungodly racket," elderly Christians often admonished me when I was a teen. Those church members had absolutely no grounds for concern. My commitment to God was so strong that I often sang along with the radio, replacing the secular lyrics with praises to Jesus. Those elders never understood that rock music fed my soul in a way that Christian Contemporary Music utterly failed to do. In my upcoming How I Was Razed memoir, I tell how I found a record that provided me much-needed encouragement in the spring of 1978. Though the manuscript still needs extensive editing, here is how I discovered that the Devil didn't have all the good music after all.


To keep from sinking into the depths of despondency, I borrowed records from the Edmonton Public Library's downtown branch. After a hard day of visiting firms and filling in application forms, I made a point of stopping there on my way home. Among the secular records, I found an album called Bootleg by Larry Norman. I had heard of this Christian rock star while attending high school but I couldn't afford to see him in concert. When I put the first disk of the double LP on the turntable, I felt like the ugly duckling discovering he was a swan all along. Here was somebody actually playing serious rock music with lyrics about Jesus. Songs like I Think I Love You, Ha Ha World, What Goes Through Your Mind, Blue Shoes White, and Why Don't You Look Into Jesus? "fed" my soul. Larry's tunes had none of the condescending attitude of Sister E's "young people's" LP, or the corniness of Sister R's "spritely tunes." Though "home taping" is technically theft, I recorded the songs I liked best and listened over and over to them. Three decades later, I bought the album directly from Larry's Solid Rock label and asked the Lord for forgiveness.


Please visit the Larry Norman website to learn more about this remarkable Christian rock pioneer. Though he died on February 24, 2008, his music lives on. As for information about me and my books, Please visit my Inscribe writers group page.


  1. We must have grown up in a similar era because I, too, remember the consternation and fear people had about that new 'wild' music coming out.

    I appreciated learning a little about your journey as you remind us that God's not afraid to use what some folks might consider 'on the fringe' to minister hope during our troubled times.

  2. I'm with Larry Norman -- why should the devil have all the good music? Or the good books? Or movies?

    I'm so thankful the "new, wild music" got hold of me before I discovered it was on some people's "bad" lists. What blessings I'd have missed if I let them should me into fearing it! (Makes me think twice before agreeing about anything else they put on their lists, but that's another story.)

  3. Elizabeth9:37 am GMT-7

    Dear Bruce, I'm glad I found this blog. Gideon was a wonderful bunny and he opened your heart for so many others. A bunny that lives with you Bruce is truly blessed, you care for them so well.
    I get frustrated to see you are STILL UNABLE TO FIND RIDES to the vets and for your shopping. It looks like you've had this problem forever. I'm so sorry about this, if I was nearby I'd bring you out daily.
    Elizabeth and the free roam house bunnies Cinder and Lily


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