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There are many urban legends told about the origin of the famous hymn Amazing Grace, and about its author, John Newton.
Here are the facts. John Newton was indeed captain of a slave ship, who quit his trade and converted to Christianity.
Legend has it that he wrote this most famous of all hymns during his conversion, during a raging tempest in a leaking ship. The truth is that he wrote the words some decades after his conversion. However, Newton always claimed the author of the melody was “unknown,” and many have speculated he heard the tune from belowdecks on his slave ships.
Regardless of when it was written, Amazing Grace remains the most widely recognized and well-loved hymn in the world.
Here is an audio file of the Mississippi Community Symphonic Band playing this arrangement on March 7, 2009: