The words were written by a reformed British slave trader turned Anglican minister, John Newton, who wrote it to accompany a New Year’s Day church service in 1773.
Amazing Grace is the most covered song in history. Over 3200 different recordings exist.
The tune we now associate with Amazing Grace wasn’t matched to the words until 1835 in William Walker’s Southern Harmony. Until then it was set to a variety of tunes.
The final stanza—‘When we’ve been there ten thousand years’—was added by Edwin Othello Excell in 1909 and was taken from another hymn.
Amazing Grace is considered to be the anthem of the Cherokee Nation because the song was sung on the Trail of Tears during 1838-39.
The first gospel recording of Amazing Grace was made in 1926 by Rev. H. R. Tomlin.
Most of the recordings of Amazing Grace have been made since Judy Collins had a surprise pop hit with the song in 1971.
A survey of British teenagers in the mid-1970s found that the majority thought that Amazing Grace was a love song about a girl named Grace.
The popular bagpipe version recorded by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards was based on the hit version by Judy Collins and was only added to an album as an afterthought. Later released as a single, it became a huge international hit.
Amazing Grace was sung as the funerals of Richard Nixon, Sonny Bono, Barry Goldwater, Joe DiMaggio and John Kennedy Jr.