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Amazing Grace at Woodstock and Other Weird A.G. Tunes & Facts

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Amazing Grace at Woodstock?  What?!?!  Sure. Amazing Grace is played everywhere.  Funerals, Weddings, Folk Festivals, Live Aid and Church.  Arlo Guthrie performed it at Woodstock as one of his three songs.  One of the others was "Coming into Los Angeles bringing in a couple of keys (as in kilos of marijuana) don't check my bags if you please Mister Customs Man." Oh well... And you know Willie Nelson has performed it. It's as though Amazing Grace was written for his voice. Even Rod Stewart (You've got to be kidding!) performed it! It's an amazing song (pun intended.)

John Newton might not appreciate it, but some of us have discovered that his song, Amazing Grace, - the most recorded song ever- can be sung to a variety of tunes.  Today in our church we sang the song in its original form, and then I moved us to some more creative forms, including "The House of the Rising Sun,"  to the tune of "Gilligan's Island," and then my newfound arrangement of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."  While goofing around with these together  somebody shouted out "Happy Birthday!" Combining the two seems too difficult on the spot, but when I got home I tried it.  Sure enough Happy Birthday works!  So does "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow," "Old MacDonald"  "The Brady Bunch Theme" and even to "Jesus Loves Me!" It's real kick.  What songs can you think of?

On serious side the song itself IS amazing! Here's the story:

"Early in 1748 he was rescued by a sea captain who had known John's father. John Newton ultimately became captain of his own ship, one which plied the slave trade.

Although he had had some early religious instruction from his mother, who had died when he was a child, he had long since given up any religious convictions. However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his “great deliverance.” He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Later in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him. (story taken from www.anointedlinks.com

Artists who have recorded the song

The hymn has been recorded by many artists over the last century. Two versions have made the UK Singles Chart; between 1970 and 1972, a version by Judy Collins spent 67 weeks in the charts, a record for a female artist, and peaked at number 5. In 1972, an instrumental version by the Pipes and Drums and Military Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards spent five weeks at number one, also reaching the top spot in Australia.

  • Aaron Neville
  • Alabama
  • Andy Griffith
  • Anne Murry
  • Ani Difranco: Dilate
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Arlo Guthrie: 1969. Woodstock Festival
  • Auld Town Band and Pipes
  • Avalon
  • BeBe Winans
  • Bill and Gloria Gaither
  • Billy Ray Cyrus
  • Blind Boys Of Alabama
  • Bluebells of Scotland
  • Byrds (Lyve Twytter 1969 Bootleg of Filmore SHow)
  • Canadian Scottish Pipes Regiment
  • Charlotte Church
  • Charlie Rich
  • Cherokee National Children's Choir
  • Chris Squire: Going For The One
  • Chris Tomlin
  • Crabb Family
  • Crystal Lewis on her Hymns CD (With Greg Laurie introducing her)
  • Daniël Lanois
  • Destiny's Child
  • Diana Ross
  • Dirty Dozen Brass Band
  • Doc Watson
  • Dropkick Murphys
  • Edinburgh Military Tattoo
  • Eiko Shimamiya: (I'VE) In EIKO SHIMAMIYA LIVE 2005 ULYSSES CD
  • Elvis Presley
  • Flatfoot 56: Knuckles Up (2004). Track 12. (A Celtic punk version which includes a verse of repeated "Praise God!").
  • Frank Ticheli
  • Glen Campbell
  • Golden Books Lullabies
  • Hayley Westenra: Pure
  • Hee HAw Gospel Quartet
  • Hubert Laws
  • Irish Tenors
  • James Galway
  • Janis Joplin
  • Jars of Clay
  • Jeff Beck (on All Star Christmas)
  • Jerry Garcia: The Pizza Tapes
  • Jim Brickman with Ginny Owens
  • Jim Nabors
  • Joan Baez: 1985. Philadelphia stage of Live Aid. Also often reserves the song as the closing number for the most appreciative concert fans.
  • John Fahey
  • Johnny Cash
  • Judy Collins: 1970; re-released in 1971 and again in 1972. Spent 67 weeks on the UK chart. Recorded at St Paul's Chapel, Colombia University.
  • Katherine Jenkins
  • Kikki Danielsson (on her 1982 album "Kikki")
  • Krishna Das: Pilgrim Heart (2005). Track 3.
  • Kylie Minogue: Performed on her Let's Get to It Tour in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo: with Paul Simon on various releases.
  • Laura Love
  • LeAnn Rimes
  • Leadbelly
  • Lee Greenwood
  • Lennon Sisters
  • Lincoln Brewster
  • Lisbeth Scott
  • Mahalia Jackson
  • Michael Crawford
  • Mika Nakashima: Crescent Moon single (2002) as track three, True album (2002) [with differing album version] as track one, Best album (2005) as track one. The version appearing on Best was re-recorded and rearranged (retitled "Amazing Grace (05)")
  • Nan Mouskouri
  • National Philharmonic of London
  • New Orleans Saxaphone Ensamble
  • Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  • Oak Ridge Boys
  • Odetta
  • Paul Coleman
  • Pete Fountain
  • Pete Seeger
  • Petra
  • Phil Vassar
  • Phish
  • Ralph Stanley
  • Randy Travis
  • Ray Charles
  • Renee Fleming and Mark O'Conner
  • Rod Stewart
  • Royal Scots Dragoon Guards: 1972. No 1 in the UK.
  • Ruben Studdard
  • Sandi Patty
  • Selah
  • Seven Nations
  • Shinobu Sato (World Music)
  • Shirley Ceasar
  • Sissel
  • Smith Siters
  • Soweto Gospel Choir
  • Statler Brothers
  • Steve Hall
  • Stryper
  • Steve Green
  • Sufjan Stevens
  • Susan Aglukark has recorded a version of Amazing Grace in Inuktitut.
  • Suzanne Balcom
  • Taliesin Orchrestra
  • Tennessee Ernie Ford
  • The Black Watch
  • The Charlie Daniels Band
  • The Groundhogs: Who Will Save The World?
  • Todd Agnew performs a rock version called Grace Like Rain
  • Tramaine Hawkins
  • Twila Paris
  • Walela
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Willie Nelson
  • Windham Hil Collection with John Doan
  • Vickie Winans
  • Victor Wooten: Live at Bass Day '98

Comments

Linda Dinerstein

I see I responded to your email about this blog too soon! You already have "Chris Tomlin" listd above. We sang his rendition at SoulFest. Nice! AND it's on his latest CD, See the Morning, a copy which just arrived at our book store TODAY -- and as always, will be sold at 25% off! (couldn't resist, in case anyone's heard me on the radio lately).
Blessings!

Christa

Crystal Lewis sang an incredible "Amazing Grace" on her Hymns album, and Chuck Smith is heard introducing her.

janet

AG has special meaning for me. When my dear friend Bette lay dying of luekemia 3 years ago- only 41 years old- four friends surrounded her and sang Amazing Grace. Bette passed on verse 3- "Twas grace that lead me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home." Can't sing it without thinking of her now- happy and whole in Heaven.

janet

AG has special meaning for me. When my dear friend Bette lay dying of luekemia 3 years ago- only 41 years old- four friends surrounded her and sang Amazing Grace. Bette passed on verse 3- "Twas grace that lead me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home." Can't sing it without thinking of her now- happy and whole in Heaven.

jp

The song has made the rounds and has touched people's hearts deeply. It's one of the early songs I learned to play when I was learning to play worship songs. I stil love it, it is fresh everytime we sing it!

Christa

I was not correct in what I said about the Crystal Lewis CD...she does sing "Amazing Grace"...it is incredible, but the CD is called Best of the Harvest and it is also on The Bride CD...and it is Greg Lauri that is introducing her. Sorry 'bout that.

Joyce

Snopes.com (an internet urban legend/hoax debunking site) actually has a more detailed story regarding John Newton ... about his slave trading, and his slow journey of surrendering his life to the Lord. I actually found the last statement full of hope, and a perfect example of God's "Amazing Grace":

"...Newton's story give us all hope — even the greatest of sinners can ultimately and meaningfully repent, and even the most half-hearted of conversions can over time work its magic."

You can read the full story here (it's worth the click!): http://www.snopes.com/religion/amazing.htm

On a side note, Jeff and I saw the Blind Boys of Alabama last month here in Cincinnati, and their "House of the Rising Sun" rendition of AG was indeed, well ... amazing!!


Linda Dinerstein

Just found another one this morning! Paul Colman recorded Amazing Grace also, on the compilation CD entitled "Bridges: Classic Hymns, Modern Worship", and I'll be playing it on the radio!

Jeff Eilenberger

You're right Joe, Amazing Grace can be sung to the tune of '99 bottles of beer on the wall' ... Peace and happy Thanksgiving to all ... Jeff

jp

Hey Jeff, Thanks for affirming that I was right about singing Amazing Grace to "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall." I would love it if I was right about something other thanjust that, but I'll take it where I can get it! :-) LOL! The Zackinator http://www.themagicalstoryteller.blogspot.com/ let me know you can sing it to "The Brady Bunch Theme" as well!

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