The Millennium Prayer

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"The Millennium Prayer"
The Millennium Prayer.jpg
Single by Cliff Richard
B-side "Two Worlds"
Released November 15, 1999
Format CD single, Cassette single
Recorded August 1999, Skratch Studio/Surrey & Whitfield Street Studios/London
Genre Pop
Length 4:41
Label Papillon
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Nigel Wright
Cliff Richard singles chronology
"The Miracle"
(1999)
"The Millennium Prayer"
(1999)
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
(2001)
"The Miracle"
(1999)
"The Millennium Prayer"
(1999)
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
(2001)

"The Millennium Prayer" is a song recorded by English singer Cliff Richard, where the words of "The Lord's Prayer" are set to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne". It was released in November 1999 as a charity single in the lead up to the new millennium. The single became a surprise hit reaching number 1 in the UK Singles Chart, number 2 in Australia and New Zealand, number 3 in Ireland, and the top 20 in a number of European countries.[1][2]

The original adaption of "The Lord's Prayer" to "Auld Lang Syne" was created by composer Paul Field and writer Stephen Deal as the finale to the Christian musical Hopes & Dreams (a Share Jesus International production). The original recording of the song, also sung by Richard, featured on the musical's soundtrack album Hopes & Dreams: A New Musical For A New Millennium released in January 1999.[3][4][1] Paul Field had also told Richard of his wife's suggestion, "that it would make a great Christmas single for Cliff." Richard took up the suggestion and recorded a new version for release as a single in the lead up to Christmas, with Field hearing of the recording from Richard after it had been recorded.[5]

Controversy began even before the single was released. Richard's own label EMI refused to release it, so Richard used the independent record label Papillon Records for the release, with the proceeds of the single going to the charity Children's Promise.[1][6] Upon release, the song was panned by the critics and many radio stations refused to play it.

Richard performed the song exclusively on the TV program An Audience with... Cliff Richard before a music video had been made for it. Richard reportedly asked, during breaks, for a room with a camera and green screen; he would then record all of the footage of him to be used in the video for "The Millennium Prayer" in less than an hour.

The song was beaten to the British Christmas number-one single for 1999 by Westlife, having been No. 1 for the three preceding weeks. It was also Richard's 14th UK No. 1 hit, his 112th hit overall, the third highest-selling single of his career. However, a 2004 VH1 poll labeled it the worst No. 1 record of all time.[7] The song also reached No. 2 in a similar poll in 2003 run by Channel 4.[8] The song won the Ivor Novello Award for the best selling single of 1999.[9] Richard released the single with neutral view stating it was a way in which people could unite, regardless of their belief system or religion they adhere to.[citation needed]

The version Richard released as a single was not taken from any album, however the following year the song was included in Richard's compilation album The Whole Story: His Greatest Hits and in 2003 on his album Cliff at Christmas.

Chart performance and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Burden, Ralph. "Cliff Richard - The Miracle of the Millennium Prayer". reallifestories.org. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  2. ^ a b "Cliff Richard: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  3. ^ Ian C. Bradley (2005). You've Got to Have a Dream: The Message of the Musical. Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 6–. ISBN 978-0-664-22854-5. 
  4. ^ Davis, Paul. "Hopes & Dreams: A New Musical For A New Millennium". crossrhythms.co.uk. Cross Rhythms. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  5. ^ Cummings, Tony. "Paul Field: Field Of Dreams". Cross Rhythms. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  6. ^ [1] Archived May 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "A sleeker Tina is crimply the best". Dailymail.co.uk. 2013-09-17. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  8. ^ "All-Time Top 100 Worst Singles". everyHit.com. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  9. ^ "The 45th Ivor Novello Awards 25 May 2000 (Best Selling UK Single)". theivors.com. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  10. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Cliff Richard – The Millennium Prayer". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  11. ^ "Ultratop.be – Cliff Richard – The Millennium Prayer" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  12. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Cliff Richard – The Millennium Prayer". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  13. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – The Millennium Prayer". Irish Singles Chart.
  14. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Cliff Richard" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  15. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Cliff Richard – The Millennium Prayer". Top 40 Singles.
  16. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Cliff Richard – The Millennium Prayer". Swiss Singles Chart.
  17. ^ "1999 Annual Singles Chart - Australia". www.ariacharts.com.au. ARIA. Retrieved 5 June 2018. 
  18. ^ UK Best Selling Singles of 1999
  19. ^ "British single certifications – Cliff Richard – The Millennium Prayer". British Phonographic Industry.  Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Enter The Millennium Prayer in the search field and then press Enter.
  20. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1999 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  21. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Cliff Richard – The Millennium Prayer". Recorded Music NZ.