Judy Collins Premieres New Version of ‘Amazing Grace,’ Joined By the ‘Global Virtual Choir,’ Benefiting the W.H.O.’s Solidarity Response Fund


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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“Amazing Grace,” recorded by Judy Collins, remains a landmark recording in music history, her version esteemed among the many that have been laid to tape over the years.

On Friday, the legendary singer/songwriter re-released the track, accentuated this time by a chorus of singers and musicians from around the world.

The initiative was put in place recently as a means of culling support for the World Health Organization’s Solidary Response Fund in an effort to help continue the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Collins first made the call for participation two weeks ago, and received submissions from all over the globe in the coming days:

The song can be purchased on iTunes, so you might as well go ahead and do that now if you’re interested. 

Said Judy Collins recently regarding her version of “Amazing Grace”:

“I recorded Amazing Grace with a group of friends at Saint Paul’s Chapel on the Columbia University campus in New York City. When my recording of Amazing Grace was released in the UK it went to number one on the music charts and then became enormously popular all over the world. It was written by John Newton in 1772, a man who evolved from slave ship captain to a writer of powerful hymns, and changed his entire life, becoming a model for spiritual transformation.

Speaking with Rolling Stone in a quarantine chat that went up on Friday with the song premiere, Collins explained what she sees as the power of “Amazing Grace” that has allowed her rendition to endure all these years:

It’s been 50 years since I’ve been, quite often, ending my shows with “Amazing Grace.” I didn’t know where it came from in the first place. I had no idea that it was written by this guy [John Newton] who was an Englishman who was a slave-trading captain. [He] had a religious experience when his ship wrecked and he was saved, and he wrote this song. He became the inspiration for William Wilberforce, who finally got the bill passed in England to stop the slave trade.

When I was singing this song before I knew where it came from, I just understood that it was powerful. But after I found out John Newton’s history, I thought to myself, “There’s an even deeper reason for this.” Because this came out of a spiritual transformation that Newton experienced. From being a really terrible person, he changed his life and decided to devote himself to doing things that were going to be healing. That’s got to be part of that song’s power. It’s got to be.


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