This is the third and final in our look this weekend at some “Christian” songs that appeared in the days that even predate the Jesus Music era. There are some things that don’t need to be mentioned here because they are still part of our modern consciousness: Put Your Hand in the Hand by Ocean, and Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum being but two examples. But The Lord’s Prayer by Sister Janet Mead was a Top 40 Chart phenomenon that surprised everyone, probably including Janet Mead. Here’s what Wikipedia says about this one:
- “The Lord’s Prayer” is a rock setting of the Lord’s Prayer with music by Arnold Strals recorded in 1973 by the Australian nun Sister Janet Mead. Mead was known for pioneering the use of contemporary rock music in celebrating the Roman Catholic Mass and for her weekly radio programs.
- This recording could be considered one of the links in the development of what would become known as contemporary Christian music.
- After reaching number three on the charts in Australia, it went on to become an international smash, selling nearly three million copies worldwide and making the upper reaches of the pop charts in territories as diverse as Canada, Japan, Brazil, Germany, and the United States.
- It made Sister Janet the first Roman Catholic nun to have a hit record in the United States since Jeanine Deckers, the Singing Nun, hit #1 with “Dominique” in late 1963.
- It also became the only song to hit the Top 10, whose entire lyrical content originated from the words of the Bible. More specifically, it is the only Top 10 hit whose lyrics were attributed to Jesus Christ.
- Mead was nominated for a Grammy for Best Inspirational Performance (although she lost to Elvis Presley’s How Great Thou Art)
- [she] became the first Australian artist to sell one million U.S. copies of a record produced in Australia
In many ways the song was a study in contrasts with the almost acid-rock intro giving way to the choir-like clarity of her voice. Youth groups, both Catholic and non-Catholic, suddenly had a new friend on the charts.
I tried to find a YouTube version with more interesting visuals, but decided to stick with this one. And no, I don’t feel the need to publish the lyrics!