80’s Flashback

The Singing Nun, Dominique (Disco Version), 1982. In 1963 Belgian nun Sister Luc-Gabrielle (real name: Jeanine Deckers) became a worldwide sensation as The Singing Nun when her album of original songs (recorded to be souvenirs for visitors to her convent) topped the charts across Europe. In the U.S. Dominique topped the pop charts for four weeks in December 1963, partially aided by the assassination of JFK as radio stations turned to softer and religious-themed selections. After a treacly 1966 biopic starring Debbie Reynolds (which Deckers denounced as complete fiction) and a failed second album, Deckers left the nunhood and became a birth control advocate, releasing the controversial single Glory Be To God For The Golden Pill, which also failed. In 1982, after a decade-long battle with the Belgian government over back taxes for income Deckers claimed had been taken by her former convent and her manager, she released the below disco version of Dominique in desperation. The single failed, despite its camp allure to gay men, who had become fans of Decker after she came out as a lesbian. (Full disclosure: I too bought the 12″.) Three years later she and her partner of ten years committed suicide together by overdosing on downers.

TRIVIA: The Singing Nun remains the only Belgian act to have hit #1 on the U.S. pop chart. In 1988 Technotronic came close, reaching #2 with Pump Up The Jam.

MORE TRIVIA: Sally Fields’ The Flying Nun debuted in 1967 as a spoof of the Debbie Reynolds movie.