Throwback Thursday – Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill & B.J. Thomas

I guess i had to do one throwback thursday, so tonight i’ll feature Christmas music from Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill and B.J. Thomas (all from the 70’s).

Larry Norman was the pioneer of Christian rock and roll. He was born in Texas, raised in San Francisco and was pretty much a product of his surroundings (umm, a hippie).

Before becoming a Christian, Norman was in several bands and had a huge hit with People! (“I Love You” was #1 around the world except in the states where the song charted at #14). “I Love You” was actually a cover of a Zombies tune but People! had much more success with the song.

In 1973, Norman released the record So Long Ago In The Garden which contains the song, Christmastime. Christmastime was co-written with Randy Stonehill (see below), was originally a b-side and not intended to make the LP. The studio heads however insisted that Christmastime and Fly, Fly, Fly (also a b-side) be included because they were more commercial.

Randy Stonehill was the first person to sign with Larry Norman on his record label, Solid Rock. Released in 1976, Stonehill’s first record on Solid Rock was Welcome To Paradise. It’s rated #13 on CCM’s The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music. I’ll feature Stonehill’s Christmas Song For All Year Round from that record tonight.

In the mid to late 70’s (my Navy days), Chris Christian was a singer, songwriter and producer. Chris Christian is the guy who discovered and signed Amy Grant when she was just 16 years old. In addition to  Grant, Christian wrote songs and produced records for  The Pointer Sisters, Patti Austin, Al Jarreau, Natalie Cole, the Dallas Cowboys, B J Thomas, Dan Peek, B W Stevenson, Debby Boone, Steve Archer, Bill Gaither, Marilyn McCoo and dozens of others.

In 1979, he released a compilation Christmas record titled, On This Christmas Night. The record featured songs from BW Stevenson (he of My Maria fame), Dan Peek (from America), Amy Grant, Tennessee Ernie Ford, the Boone Sisters, BJ Thomas and a few others.

Thomas sang two tunes on the record, both written by Christian, the title track, On This Christmas Night, and God Bless The Children. A few years ago I put together a video for God Bless The Children and uploaded it to youtube. Christian commented on it saying, “Wonderful job!  That’s the most touching video I’ve seen of this song.  You captured the essence of what I was trying to say!” (Which is always nice to hear.)  I’ll feature both of the BJ Thomas songs from that record tonight.

Purchase On This Christmas Night, Here

So Long Ago In The Garden, Here

Welcome To Paradise, Here

Christmastime – Larry Norman

Christmas Song For All Year Round – Randy Stonehill

God Bless The Children – BJ Thomas

On This Christmas Night – BJ Thomas

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