“Fascinating history of the hymn” —Chicago Tribune
“Seductive demonstration of music’s power” —Los Angeles Times
“Spectacular” —Los Angeles Times
“Moving” —The New York Times
“Poignant” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
It’s one of the most popular and beloved songs in the English language. Transcending race, creed, geography, generation, and social station, “Amazing Grace” has been recorded more times than any other hymn and is widely credited with transforming lives. Written by John Newton, an English clergyman and former slave-ship captain, the poem was published in 1779 and took on its familiar tune during the Second Great Awakening in the United States. In this inspiring program, Bill Moyers explores the song’s origins and enduring power.
Produced and directed by Emmy® and Peabody winner Elena Mannes, this documentary features illuminating conversations and stirring performances by Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Jessye Norman, Marion Williams, the Boys Choir of Harlem, shape-note singers, prison inmates, and more. There are 24 renditions in all, no two alike, and each filled with emotion and conviction. With Jeremy Irons as the voice of John Newton.
About the Host
In a broadcasting career spanning nearly 40 years, journalist Bill Moyers distinguished himself at PBS, NBC, CBS, and Newsday. His many honors include lifetime achievement Emmy® and Peabody awards.