21 Facts About Amazing Grace


Amazing Grace was pressed into service with the Royal Navy, and after leaving the service, he became involved in the Atlantic slave trade.

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Amazing Grace's father was a shipping merchant who was brought up as a Catholic but had Protestant sympathies, and his mother was a devout Independent, unaffiliated with the Anglican Church.

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Amazing Grace's had intended Newton to become a clergyman, but she died of tuberculosis when he was six years old.

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Amazing Grace was sent to boarding school, where he was mistreated.

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Amazing Grace deserted the navy to visit Mary "Polly" Catlett, a family friend with whom he had fallen in love.

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Amazing Grace was himself enslaved by the Sherbro and forced to work on a plantation in Sierra Leone near the Sherbro River.

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Amazing Grace came to believe that God had sent him a profound message and had begun to work through him.

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Amazing Grace sought a place on a slave ship bound for Africa, and Newton and his crewmates participated in most of the same activities he had written about before; the only immorality from which he was able to free himself was profanity.

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Amazing Grace was turned down by John Gilbert, Archbishop of York, in 1758, ostensibly for having no university degree, although the more likely reasons were his leanings toward evangelism and tendency to socialise with Methodists.

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Amazing Grace was involved in his parishioners' lives and was much loved, although his writing and delivery were sometimes unpolished.

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Amazing Grace struck a friendship with William Cowper, a gifted writer who had failed at a career in law and suffered bouts of insanity, attempting suicide several times.

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Amazing Grace is recalled three times in the following verse, culminating in Newton's most personal story of his conversion, underscoring the use of his personal testimony with his parishioners.

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The greatest influences in the 19th century that propelled "Amazing Grace" to spread across the US and become a staple of religious services in many denominations and regions were the Second Great Awakening and the development of shape note singing communities.

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Common meter hymns were interchangeable with a variety of tunes; more than twenty musical settings of "Amazing Grace" circulated with varying popularity until 1835, when American composer William Walker assigned Newton's words to a traditional song named "New Britain".

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Moody and Sankey began publishing their compositions in 1875, and "Amazing Grace" appeared three times with three different melodies, but they were the first to give it its title; hymns were typically published using the incipits, or the name of the tune such as "New Britain".

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Publisher Edwin Othello Excell gave the version of "Amazing Grace" set to "New Britain" immense popularity by publishing it in a series of hymnals that were used in urban churches.

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The ability to record combined with the marketing of records to specific audiences allowed "Amazing Grace" to take on thousands of different forms in the 20th century.

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Amazing Grace's chose an a cappella arrangement that was close to Edwin Othello Excell's, accompanied by a chorus of amateur singers who were friends of hers.

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Somehow, "Amazing Grace" [embraced] core American values without ever sounding triumphant or jingoistic.

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Since 1954, when an organ instrumental of "New Britain" became a best-seller, "Amazing Grace" has been associated with funerals and memorial services.

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Bruce Hindmarsh suggests that the secular popularity of "Amazing Grace" is due to the absence of any mention of God in the lyrics until the fourth verse, and that the song represents the ability of humanity to transform itself instead of a transformation taking place at the hands of God.

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