In Rome, they call him (sometimes) "Johnny Superstar." He will be here in town next Saturday and Sunday as Pope John Paul II. But he has already hit Washington as the newest recording star on a release called "Pope John Paul II Sings at the Festival of Sacrosong."
It was taped last June when the pope went back home to Poland. "Sacrosong" is an annual festival that the pope started when he was Cardinal-Archbishop Karol Wojtyla of Krakow. On the new record the rugged papal baritone comes out loud and clear in six of the nine songs on the first side. His Holiness has no problem whatsoever with the pitch and his words have the easy clarity of the best pop singers.
Over accompaniments of guitar and light band, the songs include one, "The Moment of the Entire Life," for which the pope wrote the words. He sings, "The Moment at its greatest intensity is as real to me now because I find You again."
In some songs the pope barely gets started before he is joined by the spontaneous clapping of thousands of hands. In "Peter's Song," there are exuberant outbursts from John Paul II at the end of each verse when he adds his own "Loo, loo, loo."
Local shops have the same record on two labels: a German import, Crystal (056CRY45725), which is called "Lieder des Pabst," and on the U.S. Infinity label (INF9899). Proceeds from the latter will go to the Pontifical Mission Society and the National Conference of Christians and Jews. The Crystal sells for $8.99. The Infinity may be discounted.