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Mead, Sister Janet (1938 - )

Born
1938
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Occupation
Musician and Religious Sister
Website
http://www.sisterjanetmead.com/

Summary

Sister Janet is a Roman Catholic nun who is best known for recording a rock version of The Lord's Prayer. Made in 1973, the recording became the first single to achieve gold record status in both Australia and the United States at the same time. It earned her a Grammy Award nomination in 1974.

Today Sister Janet continues to sing regularly at the Adelaide Rock Mass services. She is a part of the Romero Community in Adelaide, working for the relief of the poor and disadvantaged of that city. In 2004 she received the Yamaha Golden Gospel Award in recognition of her services to Australian Christian music at the Australian Gospel Music Awards in Canberra. In 2005 she was named South Australian of the year in recognition of her deep commitment to social justice.

Details

Interested in musical performance from a young age, and with a strong Christian faith, Janet Mead combined the two interests with she formed a group when she was just 17. "The Rock Band" provided music for the weekly mass at her local church.

A musical child prodigy, she studied piano at the Adelaide Conservatorium and had a three octave vocal range with perfect pitch, she no doubt could have had commerical success as a musician, but never sought it f=or herself. Sensing a higher calling, she joined the Sisters of Mercy and became a music teacher at two local Catholic schools.

She began to explore the "rock mass" concept in the early 70's, wishing to make the Catholic church services more accessible to a younger audience. There was a broader context for this, given the success of rock operas based on Christian stories, such as Jesus Christ, Superstar and Godspell.

Events

1973
The Lord's Prayer is recorded by Sister Janet Mead
April 13 1974
The Lord's Prayer peaks at No. 4 on the American Billboard Singles' Charts
2004
Sister Janet Mead receives the Yamaha Golden Gospel Award in recognition of her services to Australian Christian music
2005
Sister Janet Mead is named South Australian of the Year

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Sister Janet Mead', in SA Memory: South Australia Past and Present, For the Future, State Library of South Australia, Government of South Australia, 2006, http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?c=824; MILESAGO: Australasian Music & Popular Culture 1964-1975 ; http://www.milesago.com/Artists/janet-mead.htm [2009-06-05].

Nikki Henningham

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