Wait long enough and it’ll show up: Sister Janet Mead’s “The Lord’s Prayer”
I’ve written about finding lost things from my childhood before, among them, the short stories “Obstinate Uncle Otis” and “The Light of Other Days.”
Also on my list of “long lost things to find” has been a song I played on a 45 album repeatedly when I was between the ages of three and five. I recalled it as a sort of “disco” version of The Lord’s Prayer, and I assumed it was probably called “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Even though the last time I’d heard this song was probably close to forty years ago, every single note and nuance of it would run through my head on occasion. I also recalled that I didn’t like the B-side song on the album, but that it had something to do with Father Sun and Sister Moon. Or something like that. This would always spark an Internet search, which would turn up nothing.
But, as has been proven to me many times, just wait long enough and you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Earlier this year, my housemate, Charles, played keyboard in the pit for Warner Theater in Torrington, Connecticut’s production of the musical Disaster!, a spoof on 1970s Allen-style disaster films featuring the most popular hits of the era (including “Nadia’s Theme”—who remembers that from, among other things, The Young and the Restless? That was the second song I learned to play on the piano). If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can listen to that here: https://youtu.be/Vlv32UEazGc
I won’t give spoilers for the show, but early on, there is a scene in which a nun appears on stage. She strums on her guitar and sings.
Out of her mouth comes “The Lord’s Prayer.” I recognized it immediately! It was one of those moments when I wished I could jump up and down and scream, “Oh my God! I know that song! I’ve been looking for that for years! I can’t believe somebody’s playing it!”
In Disaster!’s program booklet, it’s standard practice that all of the music be given the proper credit due to rights considerations. When Charles got home that night, I asked him about the song, but had forgotten about the booklet’s informational listing.
It turns out it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. When Charles and the production band’s director started looking into it, they discovered that the information in the program booklet—which comes straight from the company from which you purchase the performance rights—was incorrect. Somewhere along the line, the piece of music had been improperly attributed and was listed as being the more well-known classical version by Albert Hay Malotte.
After some searching, though, they were able to track it down. The second Charles told me it was by “Sister Janet Mead,” I remember having seen her name on the label of my 45 (sure enough, I was too young to read the label when I’d been listening to it, although it’s likely that damn album kicked around in my room for a few years). And I’d also been almost right about the B-side: It was “Brother Sun and Sister Moon.” So I’d been close.
Another lost thing from childhood, found. I was able to watch the video on YouTube and was also surprised to find that my brain had been completely accurate in terms of the arrangement, the lyrics, and vocal nuances.
It also turns out that this song played quite a large role in what would become, as we know today, contemporary Christian rock.
It was good to hear it again! If you’d like to listen to the song (and please, watch this 1970s video of nuns dancing around with children, it’s pretty fantastic), you can do that here: https://youtu.be/DZF9rsgKZHw
There’s also a brief Wikipedia article that gives you a few details about the song and its history: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lord%27s_Prayer_(Sister_Janet_Mead_song)
Here’s the B-Side—“Brother Sun and Sister Moon”—which I didn’t like back then, but listening to it now, it’s fun. https://youtu.be/YGi7ehqgM50
Posted on September 1, 2019, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff and tagged Brother Sun and Sister Moon, Disaster! The Musical, finding lost things, popular 1970s songs, Sister Janet Mead, The Lord’s Prayer. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
I clicked on the YT video to hear the song, and my husband from the next room yells, “Hey, you found some good music!” I have to admit, it’s catchy. Now I have an earworm!
Yeah, right? It’s catchy…a little too catchy. Good luck with that earworm. I’ve been trying to get rid of it for forty years…