Hot hits from the Bible

Apr 5, 2012

Pop stars and Nuns. They don’t usually go together, with some notable exceptions.

But in 1973, Sister Janet Mead, a Roman Catholic nun from Australia had an international smash hit on her hands with her single “The Lord’s Prayer."

Selling over two million copies, Sister Janet donated all the sales proceeds to charity and continues to record to this day.

But she wasn’t the first nun to strike pop gold. That would be Jeanine Deckers, “The Singing Nun” who came out with “Dominique” in 1963. The song was so big she sold more records than Elvis Presley during the 4 weeks it was on the charts. Fame wasn’t as kind to “Sister Smile”, as she was known. She left the convent and tried to keep her music career afloat. But her producer took her earnings, she lost the rights to use her own name, and was pursued for tax evasion.

She and her lover later took their own lives. Here are some filmed fragments of Jeanine Deckers, The Singing Nun:

Possibly the best known song that comes from the Bible can also claim to have the oldest lyrics in pop music history. “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, set to music by Pete Seeger and made famous by the Byrds in 1965, has lyrics almost entirely from the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Coming out during the midst of the Vietnam War, it became associated with the peace movement. Here’s a bizarre music video of the Byrds on horseback singing “Turn! Turn! Turn!”: 

But if Record Bin Roulette had to choose one song to represent the Bible’s influence on pop music it would have to be the world’s only Christian football waltz…

“Drop Kick Me Jesus (Through the Goalposts of Life)” by Bobby Bare:

End over end, neither left nor to right
Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights…