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In 1969 Norman returned to Capitol Records, now headed by Mike Curb, to  honor his original 1966 contract with the understanding that he would have  complete artistic control. Believing that "Kids just don't want to listen to God's  empty songs anymore", in December 1969 Capitol released Norman's first  solo rock album, Upon This Rock, "the first major label record to marry rock  music with the gospel". "the Sergeant Pepper of Christianity", widely  regarded as "the album that first recruited rock in the service of salvation",  later cited as being "one of the roots of the current Contemporary Christian  Music"; and now considered to be the first full-blown Christian rock album".  Upon This Rock, whose music was "a blend of folk, psychedelic, and rock influences",  combined "street language and gritty imagery". In August 1970 he described the album as  "Simply, twelve love songs to Jesus", whereas Don Cusic believes that "these songs tended  to be darker than the early Christian cheerleader type of songs coming from other early  Jesus music artists". In this album, "Norman brought a mixture of reverence and rebellion,  spreading word of an impending Judgment Day in the midst of war and moral decadence and  speak to the psychedelic generation without sacrificing their spiritual gravity". Believing that  "Christian music could be powerful in its message yet relevant to the times", Norman  explained his  thinking behind the album in 1969:  "Upon This Rock" was written to stand outside the Christian culture. I tried to create songs  for which there was no anticipated acceptance. I wanted to display the flexibility of the gospel  and that there was no limitation to how God could be presented. I used abrasive humor and  sarcasm as much as possible, which was also not a traditional aspect of Christian music. I  chose negative imagery to attempt to deliver a positive message, like "I Don't Believe in  Miracles" is actually about faith. "I Wish We'd All  Been Ready" talked about something I had  never heard preached from a pulpit as I grew up. "The Last Supper" and "Ha Ha World" used  very surreal imagery which drug users could assimilate. My songs weren't written for  Christians. No, it was not a Christian album for those believers who wanted everything  spelled out. It was more like a street fight. I was saying to Christians, "I'm going to present  the gospel, and I'm not going to say it like you want. This album is not for you." Speaking to the magazine Contemporary Musicians, Norman later expressed his intentions  and feelings about the record:  I wanted to push aside the traditional gospel quartet music, break down the church  doors  and let the hippies and the prostitutes and other unwashed rabble into the sanctuary, ... I  wanted to talk about feeding the poor, going into the world.... I wanted  the church to get  active and go out and do what Jesus told us to do. I felt that while the hymns had great  theology soaked into their lyrics, that most of the modern music was anemic and needed a  transfusion".
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