“Amazing Grace”


"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me." The singer describes how Jesus's grace gives him/her the confidence to face all the dangers and troubles of life.


As with many hymns, the threads [of this song's history] are a bit tangled. It's called "New Britain" in the "Original Sacred Harp" (1971 ed.), and this tune is the one commonly sung. No composer is listed for the tune, and a note states that the song was published in "Olney's Selections" as "Faith's Review and Expectation."

The lyrics also appear with a tune by R. F. Mann from 1869, under the title "Jewett," with the chorus "Shout, shout for glory/Shout, shout aloud for glory/Brother, sister, mourner/All shout glory hallelujah." - PJS

John Newton, according to Johnson, lost his mother at age seven and soon found himself serving his father on shipboard. Taken into the navy, he deserted, was recaptured, and finally ended up serving on a slaver. Then he read _The Imitation of Christ_, and gave up his career, eventually becoming an Anglican clergyman.

His major relic is the texts he contributed to _Olney Hymns_; there are nearly 300 of them, of which this one is by far the most popular. Other Newton sons in the Index are "Greenfields (How Tedious and Tasteless the Hours)" and "Glorious Thing of Thee are Spoken." - RBW

Same tune

  • The Frenchman's Cow (Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 59)


  • Howard Adams & congregation, "Amazing Grace" (on LomaxCD1704)
  • Jesse Allison & group, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 2684 A1)
  • Horton Barker, "Amazing Grace" (on Barker01)
  • Mr. & Mrs. N. V. Braley, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 2638 A2)
  • Rev. J. C. Burnett, "Amazing Grace" (Decca 7494, 1938)
  • Congregation of the Little Zion Church, Jeff, KY "Amazing Grace" (on Ritchie03)
  • Congregation of the New Hope Baptist Church, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 3042 A2)
  • Old Regular Baptist Church congregation, "Amazing Grace" (on MMOK, MMOKCD)
  • C. J. Evans Gospel Choir of Nicey Grove Baptist Church, "Amazing Grace" (on HandMeDown2)
  • Bill & Pauline Garland, Charlie Black & Marie Bennett, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 3941 A1)
  • Mrs. Henry Garrett, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 3175 A3)
  • Rev. J. M. Gates, "Amazing Grace" (Pathe Actuelle 7514/Perfect 114, 1926) (Victor 20216, 1926) (Herwin 92003, 1926; Gennett 6013/Champion 15199/Black Patti 8015/Silvertone 5021, 1927; Paramount 12782, 1929; all rec. 1926)
  • Rev. J. R. Gipson, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 3981 A1)
  • Harmonizing Four, "Amazing Grace" (Gotham G779, rec. early 1950s)
  • Old Harp Singers of Eastern Tennessee, "Amazing Grace" (on OldHarp01)
  • Horace Helms & the Shady Grove Partners, "Amazing Grace" (on HandMeDown2)
  • Mahalia Jackson, "Amazing Grace" (Apollo 194, rec. 1947; on Babylon)
  • Aunt Molly Jackson, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 821 B2, 1935)
  • Buell Kazee, "Amazing Grace" [fragment] (on Kazee01)
  • Vera Kilgore, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 2939 B4)
  • Mrs. W. L. Martin, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 2748 B1/2)
  • Lucy McKeever, Annie Harvey, Melinda Jones, Mary Davis & Elsi Martin, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 917 B2)
  • Blind Willie McTell, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 4071 B3)
  • Gilbert Pike, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 3189 B6)
  • Pilgrim Travelers, "Amazing Grace" (Specialty 847, n.d. but probably post-World War II)
  • Jean Ritchie, Doc Watson & Roger Sprung, "Amazing Grace" (on RitchieWatson1, RitchiteWatsonCD1)
  • School group, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 3109 B)
  • Pete Seeger, "Amazing Grace" (on PeteSeeger47)
  • Mary Shipp, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 3005 A1)
  • Carl Smith w. Carter Sisters & Mother Maybelle, "Amazing Grace" (Columbia 20986, 1952)
  • Students at Pine Mt. Settlement School, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 1383 B1)
  • Rev. H. R. Tomlin, "Amazing Grace" (OKeh 8378, 1926)
  • Mr. & Mrs. Richard Walker & Grover Bishop, "Amazing Grace" (AAFS 3104 A2)
  • Doc Watson, Clarence Ashley, Clint Howard, Fred Price & Jean Ritchie, "Amazing Grace" (on Ashley03, WatsonAshley01)
  • Wisdom Sisters, "Amazing Grace" (Columbia 15093-D, 1926)
  • Group of young and old people, "Amazing Grace" (on JThomas01)


  1. Ritchie-Southern, p. 45, "Amazing Grace" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Lomax-FSUSA 96, "Amazing Grace" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Lomax-ABFS, pp. 573-574, "Amazing Grace" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Darling-NAS, pp. 261-262, "Amazing Grace" (1 text)
  5. Silber-FSWB, p. 369, "Amazing Grace" (1 text)
  7. ADDITIONAL: Charles Johnson, One Hundred and One Famous Hymns (Hallberg, 1982), pp. 48-49, "Amazing Grace" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. Roud #5430
  9. BI, LxU096


Author: Words: John Newton (1725-1807)
Earliest date: 1789 (reportedly composed) or 1831 (printed in Virginia Harmony)
Keywords: religious nonballad
Found in: US(Ap,SE,So)