Janet Mead, the #1 Pop-Rock Hymn Sister, has passed away

Sister Janet Mead, an Australian nun whose beautiful voice catapulted her to the top of the charts in the 1970s with a pop-rock version of “God’s Prayer,” died on January 26 in Adelaide. She is over 80 years old.

Her death was confirmed by the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide, which did not provide further information. The press said she was being treated for cancer.

Janet’s recording of “God’s Prayer”, with her pure solo vocals over the drums – she has a perfect three-octave and perfect pitch – became an instant hit in Australia. , Canada and the United States. It rose to number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in time for Easter 1974, and she became one of the few Australian recording artists to go gold in the United States.

The record has sold more than three million copies worldwide, two million of them to Americans. Nominated for a 1975 Grammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance, but it lost out to Elvis Presley and his version of “How Great Thou Art.”

Along with “Turn! Turn! Turn !,” which was famously covered by the Byrds in 1965, “The Lord’s Prayer” is one of the very few popular songs with lyrics taken from the Bible.

Sister Janet is the second nun to have a pop hit in the United States, after Jeanine Deckers of Belgium, guitarist “Budau Girl” whose “Dominique” reached number 1 in 1963. She died in 1985.

When she rose to stardom with Sister Janet, she was a Catholic nun who was practicing teaching music at St. Aloysius in Adelaide. The video for “God’s Prayer” was filmed on campus.

As a humble intern who is dedicated to social justice, she donates her share of her royalties to “God’s Prayer” to charity. She has long helped raise money for the disadvantaged, homeless and Aboriginal people and works on their behalf.

She later described her record success as a “terrible time”, largely due to media inquiries.

“It was quite a stretch because there were always radio interviews and chats and TV people coming in and camera people coming in,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Sparkling the limelight, she turned down most interview requests and all offers to tour the United States.

She gained some local fame by staging rock groups in Church of Saint Francis Xavier, has long been the center of Catholic life in Adelaide. Her goal is to make the Gospel more accessible and meaningful to young people, which she has done successfully by presenting religious hymns in a rock ‘n’ roll format. and encourage participants to sing like Elvis or Bill Haley. Her Mass drew up to 2,500 people and was fully supported by the local bishop.

Janet Mead was born in 1938 in Adelaide (exact date unknown). At the age of 17, she joined the Sisters of Mercy and became a music teacher at local schools.

She studied piano at the Adelaide Conservatorium and formed a group, which she called simply “The Rock Band”, to provide music for weekly Mass at her local church.

She was making records for school when she was discovered by Martin Erdman, a producer at Festival Records in Sydney. The label has her record as the cover “Mr. Sun, Miss Moon,” which Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan wrote and sang for Franco Zeffirelli’s film of the same name about Saint Francis of Assisi. It was released as an A-side of 45; “The Lord’s Prayer” is the B side.

But Australian poker players prefer the “Prayer of God”. The listener calls to request a replay and the stations that have been broadcast repeat. It became one of the best-selling singles in history.

Its phenomenal success led to Sister Janet’s debut album, “With You I Am”, which peaked at number 19 in Australia in July 1974. Her second album, “A Rock Mass”, was a A complete recording of one of her Masses.

Sister Janet then withdrew almost entirely from the public eye, and her third album, recorded in 1983, was kept in the Festival Records vault. The tapes, which included the 1983 version of “The Lord’s Prayer” and covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Cat Stevens, were rediscovered by Mr. Erdman in 1999 and included on the album. A Time to Sing” was released that year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Sister Janet’s hit single.

Sister Janet explains her philosophy of using rock music to amplify religious themes in her backing notes for her album “With You I Am”.

“I believe that life is one and therefore not divided into many compartments,” she wrote. “It means that worship, music, entertainment, work, and all the other ‘small boxes’ in our lives are truly inseparable, and this is why I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to worship God in the language and music that is a part of their normal lives. ”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/03/arts/music/janet-mead-dead.html Janet Mead, the #1 Pop-Rock Hymn Sister, has passed away

Fry Electronics Team

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