Jesus Christ, Superstar, Jason and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Godspell – the Lord with a capital ‘L’ was back in town in the 70s and He was one rockin’ dude.
Pope Pius XII’s radical Vatican 2.0 had ditched the Latin and handed over the church keys to road crews setting up for rock mass.
Little wonder then that a prayer in this new, groovy Lord’s name should rocket to the top of the pop charts. No wonder at all that it should emanate from Australia’s own ‘city of churches’, Adelaide and even less wonder that it should be recorded by one of the Lord’s many brides – the greatest exponent of the rock mass in Australia, Sister Janet Mead.
In 1963 Jeanine Deckers A.K.A. Soeur Sourire, the Singing Nun, topped the charts with that toe-tapping French ditty Dominique (knicker, knicker…) but a decade late Sister Janet went one better and recorded The Lord’s very own Prayer.
Sister Janet Mead was the first Australian artist to make a million (for the Lord) from a record that reached No.3 in the Oz charts, spent 13 weeks in the US Billboard charts, peaking at No.4 during Holy Week 1974 and narrowly missing out on a Grammy to that other Jesus-to-some, Elvis, with his How Great Thou Art.
With music by Arnold Strauls The Lord’s Prayer was but one cut from an entire album of religious songs, With You I Am, produced in Sydney for Festival Records by Martin Erdman.
Sister Janet did not enjoy all the fuss of the accompanying fame but she genuinely loved music and continues to gig to this day. We have her to thank for encouraging many an aspiring young female musician – notably drummer, Clare Moore - during her tenure as music teacher St Aloysius College.