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The Origin & History of “Amazing Grace”

“Amazing Grace” was written almost 260 years ago by a former slave trader – a hardened sailor and renegade, who wouldn’t have survived to write anything if it hadn’t been for some amazing acts of grace in his own life.

The song has been recorded over 6,500 times and is sung over 10 million times a year. It’s the most requested song at military funerals and is nearly always played at war-time memorials.

But the songwriter almost didn’t live to write it. And it would never have been written without the influence of ‘the greatest story ever told.’

The story of “Amazing Grace” is deeply connected to the biblical parable of the prodigal son. And Uncle Tom’s Cabin – the book that is credited for setting off the American Civil War – played a crucial role in the song’s history.

How do all these pieces fit together? How did this song come to be so deeply ingrained in the American fabric? Click here for an excerpt – or listen to the whole story and find out.