Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Lord's Prayer

Yesterday morning I wound up going down an Internet rabbit hole regarding bubblegum pop music from the early '70s. This happened because here on the blog we were talking about Archie, the new royal baby, and Archie comics, and that got me thinking about The Archies, the band that produced the ridiculously simple and annoying hit song "Sugar, Sugar" in 1969. That, somehow, led me to reading about various songs, bands and record labels of the time, which brought me to the song "Put Your Hand in the Hand," which was a No. 2 hit for a band called Ocean in 1971.

I vaguely remember "Put Your Hand in the Hand." Along with "Sweet Caroline" and "American Pie," it's one of my earliest radio memories. I'm sure we later sang it in Sunday School or at church youth group meetings or summer camp. And as a Jesus-themed hit song, it made me wonder about another song from my childhood, a musical version of "The Lord's Prayer."

Do any of you remember this? Whenever I mentioned it to friends later in life, no one seemed to know what I was talking about. I began to think I'd made the whole thing up. But I distinctly recall being over at a friend's house in the early '70s, listening to the radio, and hearing this "Lord's Prayer" song. I even vaguely remembered the tune.

I'd Googled it years ago and come up with nothing. But when I tried again yesterday it appeared right away. (Is Google search better than it used to be, or is there just vastly more stuff on the Internet nowadays? Probably both.) It turns out there was, indeed, a musical version of the Lord's Prayer recorded by a nun named Sister Janet Mead, which became a gold record and a top-ten hit in the spring of 1974. And it sounds exactly how I remember it.

Well, I'm glad I'm not crazy.

I found lots of images of the record label and even one truly bizarre mashup from Thailand -- a record that combined Sister Janet's "Lord's Prayer" with Andy Williams, Carly Simon, James Taylor and Looking Glass, with cover art from Fleetwood Mac!

And I found another blogger who included "The Lord's Prayer" on his amusing list of the Ten Worst Songs from 1974. (Along with "Seasons in the Sun" -- ugh.) Wikipedia points out that it's the only top-ten record with lyrics creditable to Jesus Christ!

Doesn't it seem wildly improbable that such overtly Christian songs -- with relatively amateurish production values -- would be mainstream musical hits? I guess this was before the days of specialized Christian rock, and no doubt religious people appreciated hearing those songs on pop-music radio. But clearly they appealed to mass-market listeners too. They were catchy and easily singable. I had "The Lord's Prayer" stuck in my head all day yesterday, after hearing it just once!

(Photo: A cafe in Penge, South London, a few weeks ago.)


  1. God has brought you back to "The Lord's Prayer" my son. Renounce thy sins and live in the light of The Lord once more. HE will forgive your trespasses if you commit to HIM this very day. All you have to do is send me $100 for a copy of "The Guidepost" - Yorkshire Pudding's travel guide back to God. Hallelujah!

  2. Before TLP hit the airwaves, there was thr Singing Num whose song, in French I believe, was in the top ten.

    Yesterday I found myself mesmerized by YouTube when I was looking up a clip from the 1980s movie Fame to use. I'd forgotten how fabulous the dance scenes -and music - was from that. I'm now stuck with "I'm going to live forever" in my head.

  3. I remember all those and vaguely remember The Lord's Prayer. I shall not look any of them up as I'm happy not having any of them stuck in my head.

  4. Well, that was a pretty odd video. Nuns in polyester habits singing a rock version of the Lord's Prayer. Seems like there was a segment of time when Jesus was getting his due in the popular music scene. Jesus Christ Superstar. Godspell. Etc.
    My favorite Jesus song from that era was probably Spirit in the Sky. Who can forget that one?
    Weird times.

  5. That was quite a musical rabbit hole you went down. I hadn't thought about some of those songs in ages but I do remember the musical Lord's Prayer.

  6. I remember that version now that i've listened to it, but what i had in my head was the Barbra Streisand one.

  7. Hey, I liked Sugar Sugar. Yes it was simple but it was upbeat and happy. And yes I look up all kinds of old music. It is a rabbit hole.

  8. I never heard the Lord's Prayer song. Wow! How did I miss that? When I was growing up in Newark, NJ in the 1950s we said the Lord's Prayer every morning in our public school. Interesting to be reminded of those days.

  9. I do remember Sugar Sugar and Put Your Hand.... Now I'm going to have one or both stuck in my head for a week. Which might be better than Freddie Mercury's Fat Bottomed Girls, which has been in residence for over a week. You do go down some of the most interesting rabbit holes!
    What, pray tell, is pie and mash?

  10. HAHAHAA nun rockin it with jesus all up in there! LOVED IT.

  11. I was happily humming along "Sugar Sugar" etc. until I got as far as "Seasons in the Sun" - grrr, my day has been ruined, can't get it out of my head now. Thanks a lot.

  12. I just tasted eacj song you linked. None of them appealed to me. For my "spiritual" uplift, I prefer the music from "Jesus Christ Superstar".

  13. Thank you, I think (or maybe not) as all I have had in my head since I read this post a few hours ago is "Sugar, Sugar" Ugh!

  14. I remember hearing the Lord's Prayer sung by a choir it was much more uplifting, the thing with links they lead you to more links and a 2 minute song can keep you tied to the computer for an hour before you know it, enjoy your weekend everyone.

  15. Hello from a fellow blogger and first-time visitor who came here after reading a comment left on Robin's blog..that was a rather long intro I know, but brevity sometimes escapes me. I remember the bubble gum group, The Archies, and a few of the song's mentioned, but never heard The Lord's Prayer unless in a church service.

  16. I really like "Sugar, Sugar" and "Put Your Hand in the Hand" and as a matter of fact we have them both on one of our jukeboxes! But we don't have The Lord's Prayer. I remember a time when it was cool to be a "Jesus freak" - I think it was around the time of Jesus Christ Superstar, but may have been a little earlier.

  17. Yes, I remember The Lord's Prayer song well. It was very catchy and she had the perfect voice to sing it. I may no longer believe but I still like the tune :)

  18. YP: OK, you're reading WAY too much into this! And what a Capitalist you are! Donald Trump would be impressed.

    Marty: Yes, I remember the singing nun and her song "Dominique." I even have it on my iTunes! She had a better voice than Janet Mead, I think.

    Ellen: Ha! Probably wise.

    Ms Moon: Wasn't that a strange video?! You're right -- Jesus' trend curve was on the upswing there for a while. I forgot about the Broadway shows, too.

    Sharon: It's easy to do. One thing leads to another and pretty soon you're reading and listening to songs you haven't thought of in years!

    Bug: Now, see, I don't know the Streisand one at all. I listened to it just now and I don't think I've ever heard it before.

    Red: Well, obviously a lot of people agree with you -- I think "Sugar Sugar" was a No. 1 hit!

    Robin: We used to say it at church, but never in school! I'm surprised that was legal. But then, that was before Madalyn Murray O'Hare!

    Allison: Pie and mash is basically a meat pie (often steak and kidney pie) and mashed potatoes. There is nothing worse than an earworm, particularly when it's a song you don't even like all that much.

    Linda Sue: She really tried her best to make that song rock-n-roll!

    Sabine: Yeah, I have to apologize for that. I wouldn't wish "Seasons in the Sun" on anyone.

    Catalyst: Jesus Christ Superstar is a GREAT musical. I'm with you on that one. And of course it spawned some radio hits, namely "I Don't Know How to Love Him."

    Elizabeth: Ha! Sorry about that. It is possibly the catchiest song ever recorded.

    Comox: That's exactly true! It's amazing how much time the Internet can burn up! But I learn a lot that way, too.

    Beatrice: Hello and welcome! We always spoke The Lord's Prayer at church, but we never sang it. And certainly not in such a hip way! LOL

    Sue: Yeah, Jesus was a thing for a while there in the early '70s. Maybe the hippies were looking for something new and they moved on to religion?

    Jenny-O: It definitely stays with you, doesn't it? As I said, I could sing it for years, even having not heard it in a very long time.