Sister Janet Mead, Who Earned a Pop Hit With ‘The Lord’s Prayer,’ Dies

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This ad for the single appeared in the Feb. 16, 1974 issue of Record World

Sister Janet Mead, the Australian Catholic nun who earned an unlikely pop hit inn 1974 with her rock recording of “The Lord’s Prayer,” died Wednesday (January 26, 2022) in Adelaide, Australia. She was 83; reports indicate she died from cancer.

Mead’s surprising hit was just the second Top 10 single in the history of the Hot 100 performed by an active nun. The first was by the performer Jeanine Deckers known as “the Singing Nun,” who had a #1 hit in 1963 with “Dominique.”

Mead recorded her song in 1973 and it reached #3 in her native Australia, where it had originally be released as the B-side. (The A-side featured her cover of a Donovan song, “Brother Sun, Sister Moon.”) The single, with “The Lord’s Prayer” as the A-side, was released in the U.S. by A&M Records, where it ultimately reached #4 on the Hot 100. The single went on to sell in excess of a million copies in the U.S., earning Gold certification.

Mead had taught music in local schools including St. Aloysius College in Adelaide and offered rock music during services at St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral. In the music trade magazine, Record World, an advertisement described her as “an accomplished musician whose rock masses are highly regarded in her own country.”

Mead was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Inspiration Performance, losing to Elvis Presley for his album, How Great Thou Art.

Related: 11 Surprising 1970s Radio Hits

Mead’s obituary on Legacy.com noted that she recorded several albums but preferred to stay out of the spotlight and focus on her religious calling and her work as a teacher. In 2004, she was named South Australian of the Year for her work helping the homeless.

Related: Musicians we’ve lost in 2022

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