Amazing Grace is a hymn that I have heard in various forms throughout my life. I went to Knox Grammar – a Presbyterian (now Uniting Church) school. We used to sing Amazing Grace at chapel services and it was one of my favourite hymns.
Amazing Grace was written by John Newton, an 18th century Englishman, and based on his personal experience. Published in 1779, it gained popularity in the folk movement of the 1960s and 1970s with performances by Joan Baez and Judy Collins. The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (a Scottish regiment of the British Army) recorded an instrumental version in 1972 with a bagpipe soloist. Amazing Grace was my grandfather’s favourite song and it was sung at his funeral in 1983.
I think it is an intensely moving and powerful hymn. In this article I have gathered a variety of performances for your listening pleasure. Click on each of these YouTube links to watch and listen, and follow the lyrics and sheet music included later in the article.
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believ’d!
Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards – instrumental
My school had a pipe band and Amazing Grace was regularly played in their apparently small repertoire. The other tunes are Scotland the Brave and the Skye Boat Song.