Amazing Grace: Just the Black Notes!

This will amaze you!

(HT: Rick Ianniello)

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

919 thoughts on “Amazing Grace: Just the Black Notes!

  1. I am so happy I listened to Amazing Grace in the Black Keys. It touched my soul. I had chills. I could not help but to imagine the slaves in the ships and the conditions they were subjected to. I had tears because that song touches the inner most part of your being. I love the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind, and body.

    Thank you for this tape

    • Thank you very much for Amazing Grace in the Black
      Keys. I’m so glad I listened to it, can’t stop crying it blessed me so much

    • Amazing Grace on just five black keys is trully Amazing. I cannot stop thanking the Lord for being sooo “Amazing” to me. I cannot survive without him, Amazing Yvonne

    • I cried at this beautiful soulful spiritual presentation. I long for the day, when we stand before the Lord, and there will be no color except light, no language except praise, no nationalities, just God’s people, as one with Him, no more hate, wars, crime, sickness, disease, famine, earthquakes, floods, sorrow, pain and death……….all because of His Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. If you don’t love that song now, you better start, if you plan to be in heaven, cause that’s one song that will never pass away.

      Glory to God! Thank you Jesus, our Lord!

      • What a Song of blessings? I love this song
        along with ” How Great Thou Are.

        God Bless us all

      • AMEN Brother!! The tears rolling down my face just let me know how blessed I am to be saved!

      • David your words were inspired…nothing could be added..
        Praise God that He keeps using His people to accomplish His mission..and we His children stand in awe at gifted ones whom God chooses to enrich our lives and teach us some of the beautiful truths…He gives grace to the humble!

      • Wow David, that was amazing insight! What a time that will be, when we shall all be color-blind. Truly, God is amazing. My eyes are red with tears. He saved wretched, decrepit, disgusting, revolting me! Hallelujah to the Lamb!

      • beautfully spoken!!! It’s all about the Lord Jesus Christ sacrifice at Calvary. His Grace IS trully amazing.

      • I am so touched and blessed. I too long for the day that we will all be one family of God!!!!! No fears, No threats, No wars,No hate of someone that appears different. I praise our Lord and His Amazing Grace. This song will always be my favorite. PTL! Thank you, Holy Father!!!!

      • Thank you for posting such a beautiful comment. I dream of what it would be like never having to worry about any of the things that go on here in this world. After reading your comment and hearing this bit of history (not just black history but everyone’s history) it has made me long even more for a relationship with our Lord. And waiting on the day when I can lay my eyes upon his face.

      • David – love your comments on the black notes.
        Won’t that be a glorious day!
        Am currently reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn
        and he gives us a good idea of heaven too.

      • When I think of how I was a slave to sin and was unable, not even capable of getting free. My awesome Savior came and rescued me. His amazing love for me in giving Himself for what He knew I was’nt able to do, gives me an appreciation of this history.
        I’m so glad that His death was so that He can now give me grace, amazing grace.

      • Awesome! what a chilling way to end the day with this amazing voice, amazing rendition, and five amazing notes.

        God’s Amazing grace to all the readers,


      • So beautifully said. This song is so beautiful and it brings tears to my eyes everytime I hear it. It was sung at my young brother’s funeral by a special friend of the family. Amazing Grace is what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is about. HE is sooooooo amazing!!! Thank you Jesus for your love for all of us.

      • God Bless This Blessed my soul… This day I needed this and surely the Lord answered…
        Thank You Cherry Love you


      • No more tears, no more pain, no more injustice, no more selfishness just God centered living; no more prejudice, no more aloofness, no bitterness….ALL is FORGIVEN and FORGOTTEN, ALL SWALLOWED UP by GOD’S HOLINESS!! HALLELUJAH!!

      • AMEN AMEN AND AMEN to every word you wrote. I’m so thankful to be a child of our LORD and Savior. My daughter Melissa played Amazing Grace on a violin when she was 10 and it was just by hearing. She couldn’t read notes so she memorized the song and played it at church and it was Amazing it was beautiful. But, this was really amazing thank you Lord for Your Blessing. Amen!!

      • You know, we get caught up in everyday living and forget to take time out to appreciate the beauty of His creation and the Preciousness of life. We need to remember that this is just a testing ground for the journey into utter bliss or eternal damnation…..loved this piece!


      • my dad lived to be 92, a recovered alcholic
        and served God faithfully and told his story
        for 40+ years, and left this world with his
        family and him in his weakness, singing
        “Amazing Grace” as he knew that grace
        affored to him by His crucified Saviour.
        I cannot her this song without be so moved,
        and I agree this wa s such an awesome and over the top for me. Thank you, Ginny

      • Even more amazing is He also loved the heartless profiteering brothers. I have watched this video several times this morning and cannot stop. It has changed my life knowing of what is shown to us here. Praise God!

      • I pride myself in learning something new every day of my life. I praise God for
        having turned on the computer today (which I don’t normally do on Saturday’s);
        I rarely if ever look at live pictures (or whatever you call these images); and, for the
        love of me, “I didn’t mean to turn on this machine today, 3/25/11.” Any rate, I know
        that God was and remains in charge of all our lives, so being the awsome God that
        He is, was and always will be, “He instructed me to look at this live picture.” After
        looking at the young man, listening intently to what he said, I knew why the I turned
        on the computer. “I am seven decades young; have seen and heard lots of things in
        my life; and, I have yet to see/hear anything more spiritually stirring and uplifting than this rendition of Amazing Grace.” I knew about the writer, but, what I didn’t know about the piano keys was and will remain my ‘lesson for this day.’ Thanks be to God for this young man, his talent and the history lesson; bless you young man as you blessed me and many others. May the spirit of God abide with you always; keep up the good work and know that you are on the right path.
        Most respectfully and gratefully,
        Miz Frankie

    • I have to humbly bow my head and kneel down when I hear this man sing that song. When you really think about what grace is and what Jesus left for us, you can say no more except thank you Jesus

      • As many times that we have sang this song and as many times as we have bowed our head to Gods Grace ,As we hear these words coming from this mans heart we can’t even start to know truly the Grace of God But thank God we can receive it as a gift trough His Son Jesus the blood He shed, the life He gave the hope we have in His resurrection is truly Gods Amazing Grace.

    • I loved this tape, The song has been uplifting generation after generation.

      If you want to feel the presence of the LORD I encourage you to visit and listen to HE WON`T LEAVE YOU which is sung with AMAZING GRACE.


      • I have been truly blessed by the singing of this song. I have not been able to sing this song because it was a favorite of my mother’s. Mom had been in an Alhemizer unit for 14 years. We were not able to talk in verbal sentences anymore but my mom would point to my mouth for me to sing. I would sing every hymn and she could sing right along with me. She had lost all memory of family members along with her speech, but she could sing on top of her lungs knowing each and every word. When we would sing Amazing Grace she would rally and almost jumg up out of the chair. The verse that says “I once was lost but now I am found had extra special meaning because with Alhemizer’s she was lost but when she went home to be with the LORD, I knew that she once again had been found. During moms final days she couldn’t sing but she still mouthed each and every word to “AMAZING GRACE”.


      • brenda i enjoyed your remarks as well, and i could feel these were your words… if its not your words in reply i dont know you as well as i thought… i agree this was beautifly sung with such a masterful humm..thanks for sending this one lets go to church sunday,august 1st. 2010…i would like you to ask your grandchild jonathan to see if he can add something after he has played with the black notes i wonder how a learned pianist would treat this with both black and white after he has added his own personal feelings…

      • Brenda…why did you have to say ‘black voice’? Isn’t it good enough to just say:::what an awesome voice?? I am NOT of the black race…but somehow found your comment offensive b/c you stated::
        Beautiful Black Voice.

        Am I the only one that finds this offensive…or at least ‘tasteless’???

    • So very awesome, Praise God. He is good, He has blessed us with so much beauty till He comes back for us.

    • So beautiful. What a great story of the black notes and the origin of Amazing Grace. Have always
      loved the negro spirituals … has music ever been
      so felt in the soul? Thank you so much for this story and the rendition of my favorite hymn.
      A couple of other favorite singers of the spirituals: Paul Robeson and Mahalia Jackson.
      Rise up my heart. Halleluja!

    • The story of John Newton and Amazing Grace was made into a movie. It was touching. It gave some history of Mr. Newton’s strugle. Tears flowed as I watched this movie.

    • I suppose I did this right . At least I hope I did because Amazing Grace the song has been sung by nyself and my sisters and family many many times and one time we were in a revival and the musicians began to play and I began to sing this wonderful old melody Amazing Grace How Sweet The Sound. The sound of the Trump of GOD will soon be heard all around the world and he will split the Eastern skies just as the scriptures tell us and with one foot on the land and one on the sea he will make his entrence. I have one question tonight for those of you out there. ARE WE READY FOR HIS COMING.

      • Amen, Amen, Amen. To God be the glory. When you listen to or hear this song, there should be no room in one’s heart for anything but love. Gods love and His amazing grace, how blessed are that he Loves us so. I declare this my national anthem. Amazing is His Grace. Josie

    • This is a wonderful hymn, from the bottom of the slaves heart, so profound that it touched the
      captain of that ship.
      the Lord moves in a mysterious way. he touched John Newton to writte the lettes of this hymn.

    • it has touch me so much ,I have tears as I type my feelings about the song.. how powerful words can be to touch the soul and reflect what is around me ! I think of all my love ones that I have lost in my life time, but knowing one day I will be with them to share the glory of God and his all mighty power of love !!

      the Amazing Grace in the black keys are truly AWESOME to hear !!


    • A dear foster daughter sent this to me, she knew I would like it, as to the writer, I knew that Mr. Newton was given credit for the words, but believe the soul of the music was straight from the heart of the Father of Grace, Hallelujah! and Amen!

    • All I have to say is it hits my heart and I am speechless mm mmmm mmmm mmmm Amazing mm mmmm mmmm m. Praise him

    • Jacqueline wrote exactly what I had in mind. So, I can’t write anything else than :

      I am so happy I listened to Amazing Grace in the Black Keys. It touched my soul. I had chills. I could not help but to imagine the slaves in the ships and the conditions they were subjected to. I had tears because that song touches the inner most part of your being. I love the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind, and body.

      Thank you for this tape


    • Praise the Lord! I Truly enjoyed this tape,Just the Black Notes,on Amazing Grace very Anointed,and inspirational, this is a song that everyone can relate to spiritually or Secularily, as a Musician, Piano teacher, and Pastor, I had not connected the dotes of the penatonic notes with negro spirituals. what a Blessing, a true saying we never to old to learn. keep on Blessing the people of God. smile! Blessings to U and Ur Ministry.

    • Folks, it makes you truly wonder how people can worship a higher power that requires its followers to go so far as to execute its members who fall short of its expectations.
      Is not the love of Christ, the knowledge we are forgiven, the encouragement of love for our fellow man and the promise of eternal life seem so much more in line with what the creator of the universe would want for His beloved people? I am so inspired right now, and, so grateful to my parents for passing on to me the love of God and his gift of forgiveness.

    • This gave me chills all over. Could not help but think about the slaves and the faith they had to survive what they went through…just takes my breath away! I have always loved Amazing Grace. it one of my favorite’s. It’s even more special now. thanks so much!

    • Isn’t God GOOD! GOD gives us notes, music, words and voices to praise him! THEN in turn he touches our hearts with LOVE and SALVATION, wretched sinners that we ARE! I LOVE the LORD JESUS CHRIST.
      Nancy Farquhar

    • God is truly awesome and amazing. He has touched me physically, I felt His powerful arms around me holding, assuring, warming, comforting and loving. He sent a loved one to tell me that he was with the Father, in light, love, no pain, no sorrow and that he was, in his very words from his lips, “I’m Happy”. I still miss my beloved Daddy very much but I know for certain I will see him again!!

    • I have listened to this so many times, and I love it even more, every time i do.

      Thank you for forwarding it to me.

      Thank you,

  2. PRAISE GOD Thank you so much for the amazing history. We all need to know the impact our music has had on the United States and people of all ethnic backgrounds and religions. Keep it coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I have not caught my breath yet! The goosebumps covered by body.This bit of history and
    this magnificent voice has touched my soul. How absolutely awe inspiring—how beautiful!

    What a way to start anyones day!
    Thank you

    • Tears are running down my face. What a wonderful way to begin ones day, filling the heart, soul and spirit of God’s awesomeness is AMAZING!
      Thank you!

  4. Thank you for sharing this. My spirit was touched and reminded of just how truly Amazing our God is.

    Thank you again.

  5. This is absolutely beautiful & a great tribute to the greatness of the black spirit that they have been able to overcome all that they have so that we can indeed appreciate their lovely music. May God bless Whitley Phipps for his telling of the Black Notes used to accompany the African Slave song we now know so well as Amazing Grace. It is amazing indeed to all us who love this spiritual so much.
    Thank you.

  6. I must begin with saying that I love the song, Amazing Grace. It brings me to my knees everytime.

    I do know that it was, and still is, a very powerful spiritual song. However, I must disagree with this sermon: as black notes are sharps and flats of a piano: and the slaves of the time of the song did not own pianos, nor did they know the scales of ANY musical score. (do ra me)

    They sung songs of their homeland among themselves in the slave boats to help keep them alive.

    They sung them in unison, and in harmony, from the heart and soul, and to their children at home, and on the slave boats to each other, mostly at night so not to be beaten. They sung melodies of the homeland to keep the spirit alive.

    Those MELODIES were copied and conformed/placed into piano scores later. I’m sure that the writer of the words of the song truely felt the passion of the melody.

    • I believe you are saying the same thing he is saying. The piano was designed from the vocal cord, as many other instuments were. The vocals came first, quite likely was sang/hummed by the slaves. Are you trying to teach the teacher. This was so moving, there is nothing else need be said. Thank God for the spirit of God I felt when I watched this.

      • Amen! Your response more than adequate, I agree that there is nothing else to be said. It would simply be a waste to do anything less than just enjoy such a moving oration, and rendition.

      • I believe your message too BUT I think you will find that the shepherd’s harp, or lute, was the first stringed instrument, also played by David, which eventually was enlarged and turned sideways to be plucked (as you pluck a lute), hence the harpsichord, which eventually evolved into the piano with strings to be struck by a hammer. Check it out. The vocal chords contribute to the flute and all wind instruments as it takes wind or air to make the vocal chords vibrate, hence your voice. Take care of it!! Don’t sing the present music, it strips the chords and destroys God’s great gift!!!! He wanted heavenly music, the Devil wants raucaus music. Such as Amazing Grace. Now choose!

    • Please remember that the Pentatonic Scale was known in Western Africa, and they did not know the do-re-mi scale. Also, John Thomas Newton be-
      came an Anglican Priest, and believe he wrote this poem the year Parliament banned slave trading.

      This was deeply moving and inspirational. Thank you.

      Carolyn Woods Usher Cooper
      Savannah, Georgia, USA

    • I think to prove the claim one would have to find a tune/chant that matches the one to Amazing Grace still being sung in Africa. The words would not be the same, of course, but the unmistakeable tune would. A search among the Bantu tribe would be a good place to start looking.

      • I think it would be fine to know it’s origin
        merely for the sake of history. But let’s face it folks , it’s origin is from the Heart of Jesus Christ Our Lord. And that’s why it has and always will endure thru time whatever comes our way . You can kill the Man but you will never kill His Spitit.God blesses us all if we ask him to . And that is our power over death .

    • It is always good to hear and know the truth. This makes the anonymoty of its true author interesting.

      I also hear the bag pipes with its streamline whine.
      “Who should know, but all
      the reverie of this soulful pulse,
      and cry of self through Christ…”

    • He used the reference to the black keys on the piano because as a simple visual you can SEE what he is talking about. The black keys on the piano are sharps and flats in a 12 tone scale but alone they make up a pentatonic scale. The pentatonic scale can start on ANY key on a piano and just follow the pattern of whole steps and half steps. The pentatonic scale is used in many cultures. It is very easy to sing pentatonic songs because of the absence of half steps in a pentatonic melody. Slaves did not write down melodies but passed on songs by singing to each other just as many other folk songs from all over the world have been passed on from person to person, generation to generation. “Jesus Loves Me” is also a pentatonic melody. You can play it on the black keys by starting on the 1st black key (on the left) in the set of 2 black keys. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is another.

  7. Ms. Greene, I don’t think you are actually disagreeing with the video. The sermon is not literally claiming that Negro spirituals were composed on the black keys. Indeed he went on to explain that the songs were developed on the so-called pentatonic scale—which shows up in many different musical cultures, and has existed far longer than the piano itself. The fact that this scale is captured precisely by the black keys of a piano is offered here simply as a beautiful symbolic coincidence.

  8. I receive a large amount of forwarded emails but never have I received one that brought such joyful tears to my eyes as did this rendition of AMAZING GRACE and the words of the Black preacher who sang the hymn.

    Thank you Tom Witherspoon, for forwarding it to me. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

  9. What a beautiful song. God is so good. I love Amazing Grace. It is amazing the grace God poured out on us. We deserve nothing but received grace and mercy. Praise God.

    I wept, it was so beautiful.
    The program brought back memories of my dear granma who lived in East Stt. Louis Il. Black Churches were all around her house and she would take me to visit and hear the beautiful music and sincere message. The Music and the people were so happy and the beat unforgetable.
    I am 87 years young now and the MUSIC ON THE BLACK KEYS touched my heart. AMEN

    • Gods grace is so great! It is amazing. I thank my sister Colleen for sharing this with me. The tears were flowing while I too was singing.

  11. This clip from a Gaither Homecoming video always grabs my heart and fills it with the Love of God. The way he begins the song makes me weep. I am sorry Ms. Green didn’t just let the love flow and forget the pros and cons of her opinion. Mr. Phipps is right about the origin of this song. But most of all, the song is right about the grace of our loving God. God bless you Ms. Green. I pray He lightens your days and opens your eyes to the beautiful love Mr. Phipps tried to show you.

  12. This song holds a great memory for me. I was holding my aged father’s hand and singing this song on Sunday night four years ago. That very night once home and snug in his bed, my daddy went on to be with his Savior : the one he had preached about for 56 years of his blessed life. He was an evangelist then a pastor. He was retired when he passed. This song always makes me cry thinking of him AND of my Savior’s grace for my unworthiness.

    It has also taken on a new meaning this past week. My first cousin to whom I was close committed suicide. I struggled for several days about where he was in eternity. Then a preacher told me that in God’s great grace He looks at the state of a man’s heart and the state of his mind when something like this happens.
    My cousin loved God and was striving to become a better person. He was raised as I was, in a pastors home. He had tragedies in his life that his mind could not handle. The last few months of his life was spent seeking answers in God’s word and seeking Godly counsel. A newer version of Amazing Grace was sung at his funeral. God opened my eyes that he is the final judge of man and what the preacher had spoken to me was the truth. My cousin and friend was in heaven because of God’s grace – His amazing grace.

    Now I have three reasons for this song to bring me to tears and into His presence. I am not sure why I went through all of this. Maybe someone out there is struggling and just needed to hear my testimony.

    This is somthing the preacher in the clip said that I have modified a bit. I entend on posting this on the wall of my house – If the mountains in your life were all smooth, you couldn’t climb over them to what God has on the other side for you.



  14. Absolutely the most moving speaker and history of black music in America. God does truly work wonders. This song was my mothers favorite. It was played at her funeral, and at my 34 year old daughters funeral as well. God has lifted the veil and we see his love and ability to change lives on a daily basis. Thanks so much for bringing this to me and everyone that has the good fortune to share in it.

  15. “Amazing Grace” means so much to so many people; but, to learn the history of the song and ‘the black note’ say alot about our people. It is truly amazing how God is and how He works and continue to move in our lives. As much and as often that we sing Amazing Grace in so many different arenas, it always come back to how God gives His children something that we do not deserve and are not deserving of. I love the Lord and am thankful that each time I hear or sing this song it confirms to me that I serve a risen Savior and if my people can create music and melody just from ‘the black notes’, that not just when we were brought to America in slave ships, but yet today, God still puts music and the love of music in our hearts. Thank you for the history lesson, but more than that, thank you Lord for your Amazing Grace!

  16. This touched me in a special way. I am white; and one of my daughters is married to a wonderful black man, and I have several beautiful, precious racially mixed grandchildren whom I love dearly. She had previously been married to a white man who died in his late 20s. Her new husband not only accepted her children from that first marriage as his own, ‘proposing’ to each of them individually before he asked her to be his wife, but doting on them, both in affection and in correct, Biblical discipline, in a way their biological father had been unable to do. Even though he was in the process of overcoming a very troubled and difficult past when they met, he is a believer and has been leading the family in Bible study and in seeing the Lord’s hand in events taking place in their daily lives. He has been a fine provider, and I thank God often that he and we are now in the same family. Your message in this discussion, emphasizing that we are all one in the Lord, is something I’ve already known, but it can’t be said enough.

    The history of this wonderful song, and of the difference between ‘black’ and ‘white’ music, also captivated me, as someone who has studied music, enjoys it, and loves learning more about it. The particular song you focused on, the beloved “Amazing Grace”, also holds special meaning for me, as it was the song we sang at the funeral for another of my grandchildren, my son’s little boy who died of SIDS in 2005, at age four and a half months.

    I appreciate this video, and I have forwarded it to my family so they can have the opportunity to enjoy it, as well.

  17. WOW! Just Beautiful, what a powerful sermon and wonderful voice. Tears are streaming down my face as I write this. “Amazing Grace” indeed is one of the most powerful Hymns to date. I love all hymns, but this one just grabs my heart and holds on to it.
    It was also sang at my Mothers funeral and this was her favorite as well as the “Old Rugged Cross”.
    We are all equal in the eyes of God , rich, poor, etc…
    God bless us all in these times!

  18. Thank you so much for this story. This hymn has always moved me to higher plains of thought and spirit.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  19. Like others that have left their messages before, I too am in awe by the message…every single word! Then, to hear the song vocalized by Mr. Phipps has left me with a feeling of humility like I haven’t felt in a very long time. I will make it a point to listen to this song every day from now on and will be instrumental in keeping me focused on the Lord Jesus Christ on a daily basis. Thank you Mr. Phipps for sharing your powerful voice to sing the praises.

    • This was forwarded to me and I tried to listen to it, but can’t get the sound to work. I had been playing a CD before opening this and the sound was fine. Does anybody out there know what I could be doing wrong? I’d really like to hear this after reading several of the comments. Thanks.

  20. This is GREAT ! Thank you. I’ll be sending this to my friends. We had a friend sing this at our Christmas feast in the prison where we have a meeting at. It really touched the men there. Many let me know that the following week. I had no idea the history of the song, wonderful.
    Blessings, Jim


  22. SIMPLY AMAZING! I can’t recall ever hearing ANYTHING that touched my soul like this did. Thank you for sharing it!

  23. Wonderful piece. Extraordinary.

    But my reading of the history of the slave ship captain is that he had some form of revelation in a storm coming across the Atlantic, quit the job, went back to England, and became a minister. It was there that he wrote the words. You can hear him talking about being blind and then his eyes openning. I believe it was later put to music and has become such a wonderful spiritual.

  24. My “mom” in Austin Texas sent me this this morning. I live in the Artic Circle, so I don’t ever get to hear such renditions often. I have loved and sung this song many times in my life and grew up as a child in Dalas hearing it, but still, this morning, it was as fresh as ever. I know the story of John Newton and share it with my students here on the mission field in various Bible Schools and Universities and people here, who sing in in finnish and swedish, most, have never known the truth story of the song. I will definitely be sharing this with many friends around the world!

  25. It was so touching, inspiring, awesome, so beautiful that I replayed it and tears did just flow down my cheeks. I always loved this song when it was sung in church or even at a prayer meeting, but just listening to this was really AMAZING. Thank you so very much for this piece of Amazing Grace which we Hope and Pray would bring us all as ONE People of God the Almighty.

  26. Wow! The touching beauty of this performance is exceeded only by the touching grace of God Himself. Thanks, RP.

  27. What a blessing! Interesting to know. I’ve been a musician all my life and didn’t know about this “black keys” theory. I’d like to use this piece in my church. Thanks for enlightening us.


  28. Amazing and Profoundly moving!

    Wow! Every now and then, there is a song or rendering which seems to touch and open heaven and we all get to witness it. The Giver of Grace, The King of Grace, the Author and Father of all as if it were nods in approval!

    This brought tears to my eyes and caused me to be still for that moment when you sense something is about to happen. It did. Praise God

  29. Words by a captain of a slave ship, melody by a forgotten slave, movement of the soul by the story told and the singing of God’s grace. From misery and chains came the Light of the Lord, sung for centuries now by believers everywhere, and rendered here beautifully again for all us sinners to share and remember that–black or white or any color–we are all God’s children.

  30. How beautiful, that a song that I have known and sung ever since I was 5 years of age, could have such an inspiring story attached to it! I just loved the movie, “Amazing Grace” and the characters who were portrayed in it. Having wonderful friends all throughout my life, who were part of the “melting pot” of America, I could never fathom slavery as it occurred, but know that it unfortunately did. What a relief — and wonderful difference it is to hear this man speak, rather than to consistently hear the negativity of what Rev. Wright has said. Praise God that there are actual preachers of His Word!

  31. I was very weak in my spirit today and decided to read some emails. Oh, how wonderful the Grace of God is to have me open this particular email. My spirit is renewed just listening to the old familire hymn.
    I can see the slaves in their struggle on that ship. Thank you for the reminder.

  32. Hallelujah! This touches my heart and soul so deeply I can’t find the words to describe it! Thank you Lord!

  33. Will someone please state where/when and what the event was in the video, and who is the wonderful orator/singer? It was so inspiring and I enjoyed every minute. Let’s get the credits out there, along with the glory to God!

      • This man didn’t even need a microphone! He is God’s power-filled triumphant mouthpiece! Such an incredible history lesson ~ May God’s Amazing Grace + love continue to be displayed through Mr. Phipps. Thank you ‘dab’ for sharing the link within your comments … I will plan view it soon. My father was a concert pianist in Poland in the 1920’s & for all eternity praising Jesus in heaven’s assembly, along with Mr. Newton and Mr. Wilberforce!!

  34. Yes, the black keys…the pentatonic scale. These 5 notes were sung long before we had any instruments but you are right that many songs are written on these 5 tones. I am a retired ol’ white piano teacher and early on I developed a great ear before I could read music. Because I noticed how scared the kids were of the black notes, I started them on the black notes with songs like, “Ol MacDonald Had a Farm,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and, yes, Amazing Grace. There are hundreds of these. I do not doubt that Newton picked that melody up because it is such a soulful sound. These pentatonic notes are easy to see and find on the black keys due to the pattern kids can play them with both hands and I would write the finger numbers down and put their hand position written above it and they could play! Real Music! With both hands. As the slaves listened to the “white music” of the hymns they adapted the three chords, Tonic, Sub-dominant and Dominant to their blues and then to the R&B sounds of the 1950’s. It is music to inspire the soul and heart. You did a great rendition.

  35. The words penned by John Newton, regardless of the exact time in the personal history of the human author or of world history are a rendition of spiritual His Story. Newton. like many, noticed that the human soul is wretched (depraved, torn, disintegrated) and lost. EXCEPT through the means of the grace of God (un-merited, un-earned favor), there is no mechanism to solve the human condition. Jesus, Immanuel, God with us is our individual depravity laid on a cross and punished in our stead (instead). He raised from death for us individually and in Him alone are we truly human and truly alive. Newton’s words of contrition sung most often at funerals, set to the notes of the moaning and groaning of slaves call us to remember that He is risen and we are free from the slavery to sin and depravity. We are amazingly alive ONLY in Jesus, the Grace of God’s deed (indeed)! Despite our past we are each in his hands. Grace is only amazing if it is ACCEPTED. Please do heed the words and depopulate hell (that place of the soul forever devoid of God). Now is the acceptable time of His good (amazing) favor!

  36. Adds a new level to the word ‘amazing’, doesn’t it? I don’t live in the US but am well aware of how this would affect many there. Bless you for sharing it.

  37. Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful! I’ve often wondered why this song had such a mournful song and why. even though the message is one of hope and gratitude, the song is often used (in movies) at sad or solemn times. Also. yes, it is true that the pentatonic scale to which the speaker referred is one of the most elemental one known and has been around since long before keyboards. It’s used ( or was used) as the primary scale in cultures outside of the west. As I read the article it brought back to mind the melodies that my grandmother (she’d be 106 ) used to walk about the house humming. They were always in what sounded like a pentatonic scale. I can just imagine that those melodies were in her memory from her ancestors. WOW!

  38. It seems like I can never listen to this hymn without tears coursing down my face. No one knows how to sing “black spirituals” like those from whose descendents the pentatonic scale sprang. It was a gift God gave them in their suffering that has been multiplied as blessings to multitudes by the willingness to share that gift. No matter our color, race, religion, or creed, God’s love is the answer. If only those who claim God as the father of their hatred would truly see the light! Only His love can overcome.

  39. I had the opportunity to live in Africa for about a year. I met a lot of people there – local and foreigners which of course I was one. You know – that is the way they think – local and foreign, not black and white!
    This was the most important thing I learned from them. There are local people and there are people from somewhere else. Colour isn’t an issue it has nothing to do with anything.
    The only issue I ever saw with colour was the little black kids who never (or rarely) saw a white person and of course they would stare at you and want to touch you, but we weren’t better – only different.
    This song is one of the most beautiful songs ever written, I only wish that the millions that hear it would know the truth behind it.

    LORD, Please bless your people.

  40. Wintley Phipps points out something that is well known by many musicians and teachers a like. I loved his presentation and you could feel his excitement. Awe inspiring, the song Amazing Grace will always be a classic and has been loved and cherished by many. No matter what others might say, we have been blessed by the many Negro spirituals and must include them in our American music history. God Bless you Wintley..

  41. I was moved by the humming of the song.I too could imagine the slaves singing it and maybe this brought the composer to the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This song also comforted my soul when my brother died with 229 souls on 07/17/1996. For it was His grace that carried my brother to the arms of Jesus.I rejoice in the powerful words of this hymn. May it never be changed from it’s original composition.

  42. Amazing Grace – what a song. How it stirs my soul. And to think that many churches (including my home church) do not sing it today because it is too old. They sing “contempory songs” instead. They had rather sign songs that have only 7 or 8 words continously repeated

  43. Amazing grace and amazing talent! Thank God for this recording. I have heard it many times, but this time it was more poingant than ever. My father went to be with Jesus on April 9th, but before he died, he made sure we knew that this precious old song was his theme and should be sung at his memorial service. Everyone of us can tell the story of amazing grace in our lives, from the worst among us, to the those who may think they brought something to God. In truth, it was His grace that drew us, His grace that provided redemption for us, His grace that saved us, His grace that keeps us and yes, one day it will be His boundless, plentiful, marvelous, matchless grace that gathers us in His eternal home. I can’t wait for those ten thousand, upon ten thousand, upon ten thousands of years we will have to praise Him for amazing grace!

    Some today would change the words from “that saved a wretch like me…” to something less ‘offensive’, but I say leave it alone! When God reached out, when Jesus died on the cross, it was for ME, wretched and lost. Thank God, thank God, thank God, thank God that He saved a wretch like me!

  44. Praise the Lord! I’ve been preaching the gospel for over 50 years and this song continues to bless my soul whenever I hear it. This rendition is the most powerful one I’ve ever heard. I believe we’ll be singing “Amazing Grace” in heaven and I know it will be sung at my graduation celebration when I die!

  45. I’ve been a church pianist for more than 45 years. So, I’m certainly familiar with pentatonic scales. For a living, though, I tune pianos. And whenever I tune a piano, I’ve got to play it, to make sure it sounds like what I want. I’ll often ask the owner if he/she has a favorite hymn they’d like to hear, and the hands-down number one request is “Amazing Grace”.

    When a dear friend sent me this video yesterday, I watched it probably six times before I left for work, with misty eyes each time. I didn’t know about the cultural element of pentatonic scales with the African people, and I was deeply touched by the way Mr. Phipps gave John Newton credit for putting those words & melody together.

    But I noticed something else he did, and I haven’t seen it in any of the comments I’ve read. Am I the only one who noticed that during much of the song, Mr. Phipps sang behind the meter of it — behind the chord changes, in other words? And what hit me was that the slaves were behind or “beneath” the rest of society! I don’t think his way of singing that song was an accident. Behind things at the beginning, but right with the orchestra by the end, in the same way that all of us begin out-of-step, and we’re all brought together by God’s Amazing Grace.

    I’ll keep this video clip for as long as I’ve got a computer that works. God bless Wintley Phipps!

  46. Awesome, awesome, awesome! It is His amazing grace that has brought us through and I thank Him every single day for saving my soul and ask Him to let me be a blessing to someone every day and to give me wisdom of the right words to say to an unsavied person so that they can have a relationship with our Lord.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful version of “Amazing Grace.” What a blessing to hear when you open an e-mail and hear good gospel singing about the Lord.

  47. Just when we think we have heard it All– the ‘Amazing Grace of God’ blesses us again educating us as well and reviving us Spiritually in a newness that only He can provide. Tears of rejoicing and not shame flow easily as we are told suffering brings reward to those who love Christ and have suffered and died with this blessed hope. A wonderful message in song’ Bless all those who have made this tape possible.

  48. Wow, Isnt God good? The song originated from slaves to speak to all of us that without His amazing grace,
    “we are slaves too.. “we’ve been bought with a price.. Jesus’ blood..

    The love of God is wonderful…

  49. How great our God works!!. I received and sent this on to my choir director and organist at our church. The very next day, Sunday–our minister preached a sermon about John Newton and Amazing Grace telling some of the story. Our choir director was asked to sing this song and did a fabulous job in our service. I then sent it on to our pastor and he put it in our enews so that all the church could have the pleasure of hearing it. How grateful I am to have the opportunity!

  50. I’m a Vietnam Veteran who was stationed at a Thailand air base where our pilots flew daily into the unknown, with many sacrificing there lives and some who were captured and are still missing. I often ask bagpipe bands who participate with us at parades and ceremonies to play Amazing Grace, and my marching unit from my veterans group comes to attention, faces the American Flag and POW/MIA flag and gives a slow hand salute that stays until the song is done. How appropriate that we have chosen this song as a tribute to our missing and lost. Now that I have learned the true roots of this song, it adds that much more significance to our tribute. We never walk away from this ceremony with dry eyes. Thank you for this important lesson.

  51. It seems this song can get to everybodies soft side. It has been sung by everybody and everytime it touches our hearts. To think if there is one song that can bind us as a “we the people” vs “color or creed”, this has got to be it. Amazing Grace if sung by black or white or even played on bagpipes seems to be done in a way that we all feel a ‘oneness’. We don’t think about who is doing the song but what we feel when it is being done. Mr Phipps rendition probably has more feeling than any version i have ever heard. Thank you for sending me this.

    • Mr. Phipps – Your, “Amazing Grace” should touch every religion , every individual, every nationality across this planet ! The influence will promote Gods love and peace everywhere . “When we’ve been here 10 thousand years , bright shining as the sun” Thank you Mr. Phipps , you brought tears to these old eyes . Thank You , Thank you , Thank you . USN/RET

  52. God’s Grace is Amazing, if only we recognize it! Pray we do, for without it we are nothing. Amen

  53. it hurts, it hurts, it hurts that our black brothers and sisters were treated as slaves – but the bottomline – we are all going to be servants as Jesus is. God have mercy and grace on the black slave owners and traders. the black slaves have already overcome – i pray that Our Father will heal this nation and forgive us for our sins. that HE will put it in the black man’s heart to forgive – repentance, repentance, repentance – that HE will remove all evil from our relationships with one another.

  54. While this video is inspiring, it is unfortunate that it allows sentimentality to replace historical fact. Yes, John Newton (1725-1807) was a slave trader (until 1754), and, yes, John Newton was later ordained an Anglican priest (in 1764), and, yes, John Newton penned the hymn text , “Amazing Grace” (published without music in 1779 in “Olney Hymns,” a text collection co-authored with William Cowper). Yes, the indigenous folk melodies of Africa are generally pentatonic (as is true of the folksong of most every culture on the planet), and, yes, the song of African slaves was often characterized by the musical traditions of their homeland (though the all-important role of drumming was regularly discouraged and even prohibited by slave owners), and, yes, both black and white spirituals in North America are also often pentatonic (more a product of their folk origin than of any sort of cross-culturization).

    However, the well-known folk tune now universally associated with Newton’s text originated on this continent, first appearing in print with a different text in 1829 in the American folk hymnal, “Columbian Harmony.” The tune and Newton’s text did not come together until 1835 (28 years after Newton’s death) when hymnal editor William Walker paired them in “Southern Harmony,” a text and tune collection published, ironically, in New Haven, Connecticut. Thus, despite the romance of Winley Phipps’ story of Newton “setting his words to a slave melody,” and of a similar anachronistic implication in a recent popular movie about the 1807 abolition of the slave trade in England, Newton, no doubt, never heard, sang, or even encountered the melody now so closely associated with his famous words.

    Does that historical fact in any way diminish the significance of this beloved hymn and its familiar tune? Absolutely, not! On the other hand, attempting to increase its significance through hymnological mythology is not only irresponsible, but, in this instance, absolutely unecessary.

    • Some times we just miss the point. We must not focus on the origin but on the final result. The amazing grace of God is all that matters

      • He didn’t miss the point, he just added to the discussion. If you believe origin isn’t important, then you’d throw away your bible, since it’s full or “origin”. Just a thought…

    • Yes, this is a fact…and he tells it himslef that he slave traded after his conversion..but when he convicted of thes awful trade he was in, he stopped!!!! READ…..
      For six years after this time, he said he had no “Christian friend or faithful minister to advise me.”[20] He became the captain of a slave-trading ship and went to sea again until December, 1749. In his mature years he came to feel intense remorse for his participation in the slave trade and joined William Wilberforce in opposing it. Thirty years after leaving the sea he wrote an essay, Thoughts upon the African Slave Trade, which closed with a reference to “a commerce so iniquitous, so cruel, so oppressive, so destructive, as the African Slave Trade!”[21]

    • Thanks – I was wondering if I was the only one not caught up in the euphoria and sentimentality. Amazing Grace is a beautiful hymn, and can certainly stand up on its own without need of a falsified history.

  55. A great story but not exact. John Newton was a slave capt. and a Preacher but wrote this poem in 1772 years after he became a minister to go along with a serman based on an old testament verse about king David. He also used his background to write the words. The music used for the poem were many tunes but settled on a scottish bagpipe song New Britain.
    John Newton did not write the ten thousand years verse that was added 100 years later.
    A great story and very moving, I might add.

  56. Indeed, one of the best loved hymns ever, and a powerful presentation; but I am most greatful to the comments written by Mark Alan Filbert, who in truth, has set the record straight regarding the composer, John Newton, and the true history of this beautiful song! Thank you.

  57. This really did bless me today. I’ve never heard “Amazing Grace” sang quite this way, but when I think of God’s amazing grace – you can sing it any way you choose, and I’ll shout. It’s so amazing that no matter what I did today, I can wake up tomorrow morning and have brand new grace. Now, that’s good news. God bless you!!

  58. I would like to advise all who were concerned about the song and its origin, need only remember that during slavery it was forbidden for slaves to learn to read and write. So music and art became expressions of the pain and agony that they suffered on a daily basis. My aunt through marriage forund out about wall hangings and has been designing and producing them for years. So I say that my hat is off to anyone who can find additional information about our ancestors and their abilities to survive and grow under the most inhuman conditions know to man. I for one appericate this video and plan to pass it on to my, children,grandchildren and future generations.
    God Bless.

  59. I am involved in a prison ministry (Kairos) and I play guitar and this is one of the most popular songs we sing, and until now I really did not know anything about the black notes connection to negro spirtual songs…that was awesome. And it really provides some good bridgework in this ministry when you begin to bring all races together in this ministry….one more way that God is working in our lives.

  60. Wow! Amazing Grace played on the black keys! No doubt God inspired the author and the slave … and how we all have blessed through the years by this great song. God’s amazing grace never ceases to amaze me … the great things He has done!
    He’s still doing amazing grace miracles throughout the world. I praise and thank God!

  61. In 1979, I owned a Chinese restaurant in Sierra Vista, Arzona, I brought an employee of mine to a church one Sunday evening.
    “Amazing Grace” was first song he had heard in that night at church. He ask me what was that song we were singing and ask me to teach the words and how to sing that song.
    The rest of the week all we can hear from him was singing that song at the restaurant, even the other employe asked him about the song.
    In 1980, we moved out from Sierra Vista to Tucson,
    I heard that he become a Christian later on his life.
    Every times when we sing this song it reminding me to pray for this man now and I hope God will love him whtever he is doing now 2008.

  62. Wow! What a wonderful rendition. Wonderful performance and wonderful message. Probably enough has been said about MS Green’s letter, but I will risk one more. Where she erred was in the statement that the black notes are the sharps and flats of the piano. Granted, they can be sharps and flats, but so can the white keys. Our scales, major, the minors, pentatonic, etc. all follow a certain arrangement of steps and half steps, and in order to conform to that pattern certain notes must be altered, and this involves both black and white notes. But lets be careful and not throw the baby out with the wash water, and get bogged down with theory and miss the beauty of the music. All I can say is “Play It Again, Sam!” David Moore

  63. The message of the slaves singing songs in the pentatonic scale (the black notes on the piano) is also true of many blues songs, and other secular songs of the South. Beautiful, beautiful. In 1780 Newton left Olney to become rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, St. Mary Woolchurch, in London. There he drew large congregations and influenced many, among them William Wilberforce, who would one day become a leader in the campaign for the abolition of slavery. Thank you for this video clip!

  64. The Black Notes, I am so glad God sent His only Son to die for our salvation. We are no longer under the law but God’s Grace. Praise God for your message of the slaves song. I thank God for His Grace it has brought me through so many dangerous scenes and will carry me on home to glory. Thank you and God bless.

  65. I am responding to the reply beverly wrote on March 8,2008 at 8:38 PM. I feel as though your testimony was meant for me. On Sept. 10, 2001 my daughter Toshina, who was 18 yrs. old and had an 11 mo. old son and a 3 mo. old daughter was in a car accident along with my brother-in-law Arnold. My brother-in-law was killed instantly. My daughter was rushed to the hospital due to a lacerated liver. She spent 6 days in the hospital and underwent 4 different surgeries to try to repair the liver. On the 6th day my pastor from my church came to visit my daughter in the hospital. The pastor said a prayer for my daughter while my husband and I were standing next to her bed and when the pastor said AMEN my daughter passed away right in front of us. My husband and I are raising our grandchildren at the request of their father. I also want to mention my niece who in 2003 was diagnosed with HIV and in 2005 was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. At that point in her life she made a living will stating that when the time came for her to pass she did not want to be put on life support or be recesitated. She was trying to raise money for a liver transplant. On March 22, 2008 we planned a fundraiser for her and she was too sick to attend. She was admitted to the hospital that day and after almost a month of being in the hospital was told that she didn’t have much time to live and the only thing keeping her alive was due to the fact that she was receiving blood transfusions and platlets. She was told she had to make a decision. She gathered all of the family together and told us she did not want to die but she did not want to live like she was living either. The next few days in the hospital she developed Pneumonia and could barely breathe and was put on a morphine drip. The family was taking turns spending the night with her because her only request was that she did not want to be alone when she passed. On Sunday night it wasmy turn to spend the night and she passed away early the next morning at 7:18 AM. My niece was in the same spiritual situation as your cousin was. I felt honored to be with her when she passed as I did my daughter, and not my sister or any of my other nieces because I don’t feel they would have been able to handle it. My story is so similar to yours I know your testimony was meant for me. Thank You.

  66. Wintley Phipps is a dear friend of mine and a beautiful brother in Christ. He probably has more Scripture memorized than anyone you know.

    If you’d like to hear more of his rendition of hymns, you can visit

    Rick Warren
    Saddleback Church
    Purpose Driven Life

    Thanks for posting the video Peter.

  67. Thanks Rick Warren for the site information for Wintley Phipps. I ordered his CD’s immediately and will be eagerly awaiting their arrival. I also want to thank you for your wonderful ministry. Your messages have continually reached my heart. Thank you.

  68. I shared the “Amazing Grace” clip with my father – Can you tell me where this was filmed and if it is available on a complete video. I would like to give this to him for father’s day. Thank you Peter for sharing this with everyone. What a WONDERFUL blessing.

  69. I don’t know if you have had anyone quote the 1982 Hymnal of the Episcopal Church, but here is what is written below Hymn 671 AMAZING GRACE:
    “Words: John Newton (1725-1807), alt.; st. 5, John Rees (19th century)
    Music: New Britain from Virginia Harmony, 1831; adapt. att: Edwin Excell (1851-1921); harm. Austin Cole Lovelance (b. 1919)
    We at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Cleveland, TX sing it as often as it comes up.
    Thanks for all your information.
    Joe Power

  70. In response to Mr. Powers comments. I have noticed that often Negro Spiritual with authorship unknow are credited to the persons who created an arrangement and published it. I don’t believe that the arrangers were intentionally taking credit for the music. For instance Virginia Harmony is another way of saying a slave melody.
    I pray one day the people of the USA will embrace the wonderful musical heritage that the early African Americans gave this country. Regardless of the origin, the words and melody of Amazing Grace touch the heart, soul, and spirit of all who hear it.I am so thankful for God’s Amazing Grace.

  71. Probably everyone appreciates this song, if they haven’t heard it too much. Of course the melody can be played just as easily on all white notes as all black.

  72. Amen and Amen!!! I am part of a prison ministry team that goes into prisons all over the the United States. And, when we go into prison housing and have a Glorious weekend whereby men get saved and then hear 150 men sing Amazing Grace with out music it will bring tears to even the worst of the worst…. To God be the Glory!!!! Pray as we go into prisons in Jackson,MS area 5/29-6/1/2008

  73. What a powerful video! I guess I’d never thought about the origin of “Amazing Grace.” Yes, the pentatonic scale is far older than our piano and has been popular in many cultures. But, reading some of these posts, my feeling was that maybe the “posters” were getting so bogged down in the details that they were missing the beauty and power of the song.

  74. Praise his AMAZING GRACE!!
    I am thankful for all whom have posted comments.
    The Stories are just touching, some uplifting, some reminds me and allows reflection of my life.
    It had to be his AMAZING GRACE with prayer that kept ME!!
    Blessings as I continue life’s Journey in serving him.
    Let me share this below!!

    Life’s Application

    It’s not what you eat: It’s what you digest that makes you STRONG

    It’s not what you earn or gain; It’s what you save that makes you RICH

    It’s not what you read: It’s what you remember that’s makes us LEARN

    It’s not what you Preach, Praise and Profess, It’s what you PRACTICE makes you a Godly Christian.

  75. I was disappointed.
    Don’t get me wrong now, I love the tune and have played it many times on the pipes for funerals & at Weddings.
    I wanted to hear more of the song played on the black notes especially as the people startedto sing along with him. Very stirring.

  76. This is most touching and inspiring. John Newton not only could write songs. He inspired me with his saying below,

    “Oh, what a comfort it is to know I am not of my own keeping.”

  77. I found this very inspiring and I know God is God of all, free and slaves, rich and poor, white and black, yellow and brown,red and all colors of the human population of all things He is God and we should worship Him in everything in every way with every breath we take and proclaim Jesus is Lord of lords and King of Kings. That is the Amazing Grace..Much love to all..

  78. I’ll vouch for what Fred Meek says above. I am also in prison ministry, Kairos, and I was the song leader in the last weekend at Sterling Prison in Sterling, CO. We found ourselves in the chapel without hymnals with 41 inmates and the same number of team members, inside and outside. Music was called for. I started Amazing Grace and WE ALL KNEW IT without prompting, or at least enough knew it to help the others finish all verses. Neat.

  79. There was a man named “Tsali,” and when the soldiers took everybody he knew west on the Trail of Tears he and his brothers escaped into the mountains. The soldiers followed him and many other Cherokees, and they caught Tsali and his brothers, but on the way back down the mountain, they got control of the soldiers’ guns and killed them. The commanding officer wanted Tsali badly to “make an example of them,” and Tsali sent word down the mountain that he and his brothers would surrender if the soldiers would call off the search for the other Tsalagi who had escaped. For some bizarre reason the officer agreed. And as they readied Tsali and his brothers for the firing squad, it was “Amazing Grace” that he and his brothers sang . . . in Cherokee.

  80. The depth of feeling emitted by Mr. Phipps in this clip is without question incomparable. One can only imagine the pain and the suffering the slaves endured while being subjected to all forms of mental and physical cruelty. A testimony to the amazing grace of our Lord and Savior that we today can hear such wonderful, painful, uplifting music and words. Why can we as a people not understand that when we leave this earth we will ALL meet our creator, and be judged by what we have done in our lives. Videos such as this should be played in all terrorist compounds, in all video outlets, as a part of all news media programming, and in every home in our world.
    We cannot correct the past sins of our forefathers, but we can correct the future of our descendants.

    Praise GOD, praise GOD for ministries like Wintley Phipps.

  81. I thought this video was most astounding in the fact that I am a lifelong musician. I have played the church organ for about 25 years and always loved listening to a good black male voice doing spirituals. I thoroughly was in tears over this amazing rendition of the old standard to Amazing Grace. I too, realized that it was one of many spirituals written on black notes only. As a young piano student in New Orleans, Louisiana, my teacher taught me about the slave scale and I was truly amazed at how many songs from our American history there are to this scale. Truly, truly an inspiration to all who hear him sing. Amen, Amen, praise be to God!!!!!! Thank you for this respit in the middle of a busy day. God’s blessings to all of you.

  82. Wow!!! This song has been a number one song for many years and will condinue to be so. Wintley Phipps does an exception job of putting this song and its words across so that they penetrate the heart. Said to say, so many of today’s “Contemporary Songs” have no such melody or meaning, many are just worthless chatter repeating the same 7 words over and over.
    Amazing Grace, a song to long be remembered!

  83. Wow! How awesome is God, to assure us that He is in everything, by saving a slave trader captain & giving him a song for everyone, everywhere & forever! It really doesn’t matter how & where the heartfelt words of a man who know he was guilty of the blackest crimes & the equally heartfelt music of a unjustly, unfairly, captive fellow human being came together. It DOES matter to each & every one of us that they DID & that they speak to us, of the Saving Power of Jesus Christ! And I agree, off of that mountain of high, rocky places, a great hymn arose, to comfort a world weary of sin & tired of itself.

  84. Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound. So true, O what a saviour, that saved a sinner Like Me. We serve A great wonderful God.

  85. Absolutely AMAZING… It is such a shame that so many of our big churches have completely forgotten the powerful impact hymns have on the Body of Christ. I wish that this could be a resounding wakeup call to the church to reinstitute the use of these tremendous hymns in worship today. Songs like “It is well with my soul”, “How Great Thou Art”, The Old Rugged Cross”, and about several thousands more. Thanks again..

  86. Simply amazing. I am amazed each time I hear this song and how my inner self and soul are humbled every time. I have always believed in the power of this song as well as other Christian music, but I am now seeing the powerful racial healing that is generated from this hymn. I can recall a day when I was so broke down that I was standing on a bus stop in the cold wishing I wasn’t alive anymore. Then, I heard Amazing Grace being played in the distance from a surrounding public square. The piece was being played on bagpipes as their was a Irish or Scotish culture celebration going on there. I was touched beyond words, that I leaned against the pole of the bus stop to keep from falling. I was reassured that somehow all was going to be well, because without a doubt all was in His hands. There I was a black woman being touched by Amazing Grace being played on bagpipes at an event that is culturally unfamiliar to me and that I didn’t even attend. I am sure that the people of the park would have been amazed to know that God used them there as well as on nearby corners, simply by the sharing this song.

  87. The verses to Amazing Grace have been changed over the years and I don’t believe the second one he sang was even written by John Newton. I saw the very moving story about this song and its writer a while back. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as popular as other movies which are Christian in nature, but was truly an important one to see. I believe the song, just like the other hymns and spirituals, was God-inspired in order to teach us the doctrine of the Bible in terms we could understand, and pass on to our children. I figure this song is probably the most sung, the most recorded, and the most widely recognized song of the world. Makes you wonder what favor God placed on the slave who sang it.

    While I welcome new songs which are inspired of God, I keep hearing people talk about getting rid of the old songs. I still believe the answer is to either change the music or the tempo, but keep the meaning of those sweet, sweet songs for many generations to come.

  88. Great Singer but the source of the “Black Keys” to Amazing Grace was not written by Newton. Here is a brief history of the actual music of Amazing Grace

    As with other hymns of this period, the words were sung to a number of tunes before and after they first became linked to the now familiar variant of the tune “New Britain” of which the composer is unknown and is in William Walker’s shape-note tunebook Southern Harmony, 1835.[8]
    Shape Note version from 1835.
    Shape Note version from 1835.

    “New Britain” first appears in a shape note hymnal from 1829 called Columbian Harmony. The melody is believed to be Scottish or Irish in origin; it is pentatonic and suggests a bagpipe tune; the hymn is frequently performed on bagpipes and has become associated with that instrument. This tune seems to have been firmly established as the ‘standard’ for this hymn after an arrangement of it appeared in a series of popular hymnbooks in the early twentieth century. (See also the versions in the Sacred Harp article.)

  89. I was recently in Elmina, Ghana, West Africa on a mission trip where we visited the Elmina Slave Castle. John Newton’s slave trade worked through this castle since it was the largest in West Africa. What amazes me the most is that it is possible that John Newton heard this haunting melody while he was in Elmina. One of the most emotional, spiritual experiences of my life was when I played my guitar and we (mission team) sang “Amazing Grace” in the dungeon of the Elmina Slave Castle. We were standing by a gate they called “the gate of no return”. I thank God for freedom and most importantly for His Amazing Grace that saves us!

  90. I have read some of the comments above and just want to comment thatI have never really appreciated the song Amazing Grace…but hearing Whitley Pipps sing it put a different light on it….so no matter where it came from he’s the one who has taught me by it and brought the tears to my eyes every time I listen to him sing it. I have noticed that the Japanese music seems to be written on the black keys also.

  91. This is the most inspirational video clip that i have seen for a long time, i have spent many occasions with friends discussing why many parts of our history and achievements have been swept under the carpet. Why is it that another race would feel the need to suppress us, and to hide our history. They only allow us to move forward if they can see that it will cause us in the long term to get them rich or to kill our selves in the long term. I really believe that we are blessed people, and our suppressors know this, so they do every thing in their power to try to stop us at every opportunity from making any sort of progress in building a better world for our people, God has kept us alive against all odds, our history has been hidden like a secret, but all secrets come out in the end. No other race can talk like us when we need to get a point across as in this video, because it comes from the heart, not just from the lips. We don’t want to own the world, we just want to live happily on it, and treated equally.

  92. re – Ray Smith, on May 20th, 2008 at 9:57 pm –
    Bill Moyers produced a video entitled Amazing Grace and it includes versions of the “shape note” singers as well as other renditions of this wonderful song and its influence on many different people.

  93. Captain Larry Clark,USN, RETIRED in Pensacola, Florida and his Wife Carol sent me the video titled
    JUST THE BLACK NOTES. Captain and Mrs Clark can be reached at ,, they were saved at Bethel Baptist Church, Rota, Spain , while Captain Clark was Commanding Officer at Rota many years ago. I too was saved at Rota not so many years ago in January of 1997. PRAISE GOD for His AMAZING GRACE. Signed Chauncey M. Freeman SCPO,USN,RETIRED, Just An Old Sinner Saved By God’s AMAZING GRACE (EPHESIANS 2:8,9)

  94. Wow is all that I could say when I heard this video…It touched my heart and reminded me that its HIS amazing grace that sent HIS son to take on human form so that I can be SAVED and FREE…thanks so much for reminding US ALL.

  95. Quite a thrill to hear. It brings back memories of when I learned to play on the black notes from my Father when I was a teenager and have been doing it ever since. Amazing grace is one that I play often. It is still one of my favorite hymns. Thanks to the Reverend Rlobert Doing for keeping me on his mailing list. He always keeps me supplied with good material to use in invocations that I occasionally need.

  96. In Response to:
    Ray Smith, on May 20th, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Amazing Grace
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    • Find out more about navigating Wikipedia and finding information •Jump to: navigation, search
    For other uses, see Amazing Grace (disambiguation).
    “Amazing Grace”
    Music: trad. arr. William Walker
    Words: John Newton
    Language Irish melody, English words
    “Amazing Grace” is a well-known Christian hymn. The words were written late in 1772 by Englishman John Newton. They first appeared in print in Newton’s Olney Hymns (1779), which he worked on with William Cowper.

  97. It’s amazing how God took the dirtiest part of John Newton’s life, after he surrendered it to Christ, and burned something in his heart that has impacted thousands, possibly millions, since then.
    It’s a reminder to us that, how, not what, we yield to God, will determine our impact on the lives around us.

  98. What awesome, powerful emotions this evoked. I sang this song at my friend’s funeral and hearts were touched by God’s Amazing Love! We will never really understand the full impact of the Love of God to allow His Son to give His life for our sins! Sin affects all races no matter what color we are; we are all brothers and sisters created by a Loving Creator and we are all sinners saved by our Loving Savior and Redeemer!

    Thank you Pastor Wintley Phipps for reminding us again of God’s Amazing Grace!!!

  99. This is very moving. For years we had a quartet that sang this song many times. I have had many remembering moments with this. We saw Mr. Phipps perform this in person and it was awesome. What joy we can get our of our Christian beliefs and the great life that Jesus Christ has given us.

  100. May this wonderful melody and words continue to speak to the hearts of millions across our world! Thank you.

    At a mission church service in a large city in Russia we sang it in English alongside our Christian brothers singing it in Russian! A precious, exciting, unifying time.

  101. During my tenure at Bradley University in Peoria (1977-84) as Director of Black Studies, my students were always “amazed” when I told them about the origin of this song. Later, during my tenure at Jackson State Univesity in my native, Mississippi, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Phipps, when he sang at the inauguration of Dr. James E. Lyons, Sr. This is inspiring and instructive.

  102. I cried my eyes out, because the bottom line is that it glorified the Lord. Deciding who or how these songs came about are not necessarily important. Worshipping and praising the Lord Jesus Christ is what is. At this point in my life I needed to see and hear this, it so richly touched my heart.

  103. As a former ICU Nurse, who has sung to many of my patients, while they were dying, I truly felt connected to this moving tribute. I am sure may a slave didn’t live to see the Land they were rowing to… as a white man, I thank all the slaves who ‘hummed’. I will never hear this song again, without thinking of them! Thank you.

  104. I first remember singing Amazing Grace high on a mountain in the Swiss Alps, overlooking the Eiger. We were in a little wooden chapel and I was with Evangelist Tom Rees and many other young people from across Britain. It was 1960. Just wonderful!! I also have the DVD of Amazing Grace and thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the line spoken by Albert Finney that all he knew was once he was a great sinner, and now he is a saved by a great God.

  105. Amazing Grace Those two words explains everything the LORD does for us. Those words cover the scope of His love for us and can be used to explain why we can have faith and confidence that He will supply all we need and have and most times don’t deserve.
    So be as techinical and intellectual as you feel you have to be. But it all is explained in two words .
    Amazing Grace.

  106. Wow, historically revealing and beautifully powerful!!!
    God is the amazing ONE,
    I am the wretch!
    God gives His grace in Jesus, His Son.
    I receive His grace in Jesus, my Savior.
    Amazing grace saves us and binds us together.
    This song is so beautiful and I’ve always loved it.
    It has gone around the world and has been translated into many languages. Years ago I learned it even in an American Indian language.

  107. Thank you so much for your explaination of 5 black notes – black spirituals – and amazing grace.

    Slaves like Joseph, Moses and Bondslave Apostle Paul effected millions of lives for thousands of years and saved many lost souls through the testimony their lives, and the power of their words.

    May your life be filled with the love of Jesus, and may the Lord use you to bring many souls into His Kingdom. Your Crown filled with Eternal Rewards.

    You touched my heart. Thank you, and God bless you.

  108. Amazing Grace has always one of my favorite hymns. I do not read music or play music. However, after watching this very touching and informative video, I went in on the family piano and played Amazing Grace, one key at a time! So simple … so pure … so elegant.

    The message that was driven home to me after this experience is that is the message of the Gospel! It is so simple so pure, so elegant! God’s amazing grace is offered freely to each of us … in spite of our failures, our inadequacies, our unworthiness.

    So often we have difficulty understanding that it is so simple. We’re programmed to believe that we must ‘do something’ to deserve God’s grace … and deep down inside we know we will never truly deserve it … and yet, here it is, offered freely, and simply, just because God loves us … in spite of ourselves!

    And so here I am, playing and singing God’s praise, without any musical training whatsoever. Is this Amazing or what?

  109. “Amazing Grace by John Newton”. This is one of my all time favorite Gospel Hymns and I found that I could get a free book from Billy Graham, dated that purported to give all of the background for the development by John Newton, a former slave trader. The book is :Captured by Grace, No One is Beyond the Reach of a Loving God”- by David Jeremiah released in 2006. It has been a favorite Gospel Hymn since its inception by Newton in 1773 in New York. Some of the dates are as follows:
    1. 1773 the minister Newton turned his attention to King David, 1 Chronicles 17:16-17 and put together the first version of the hymn for a sermon.
    2. Over a half-century later a man named William Walker would find the right tune-a melody known as “New Britian”. In Newton’s time as many as 20 different melodies had been used. Even the title “Amazing Grace” was much later. In 1909 Edwin Excell replaced verses four, five and six with four lines that Newton never wrote. Excell admired the four lines “When we’ve been there 10,000 years….” and used these based on the book by Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” that appeared in 1852.
    3. In 1850 the hymnal “The Southern Harmony” sold an amazing six hundred thousand which was two years befor Excell added his four lines.
    4. Judy Collins in 1970 sang a “rock based version” and in 2004, Bill Moyers produced an entire documentary about the hymn for public television.
    5. Opera singer Jessye Norman had a concert version and Johnny Cash used it to connect to imprisoned criminals. The hymn is heard at Olympic cermonies and presidential inaugurations. It is considered essential in times of disaster such as 9/11 or at any moment of somber mood. Shoppers at Amazon can choose from at least 3,800 versions.

    It is truly a wonderful song that has not lost its meaning now over 200 years later. I would recommend this book to anyone to read and understand that someone such as Newton or King David can change and change the lives of people no matter the color or creed.

  110. Thank God for the Black Keys and my Black Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus, from a fellow White Christian.

  111. I have received many emails but this is the best ever. A friend sent me the video on “Black Notes” for Amazing Grace and it was the most beautifully sung version I have heard in many years. One could not help but be moved. The history behind Amazing Grace was new to me and touched me even more. My father was a Baptist Minister in the south for many years and that has always been my favorite song.

    God’s Grace and Blessing!

  112. Amazing Grace says it all. It tells the Grace that Jesus gives to us all. It is so wonderful that folks be reminded of the history behind our hynms. The captain on that slave boat & the slaves were hurting, God saves all of us no matter what we did. Out of that horrible situation God turned that into a beautiful hymn that has helped saved thousands. This song has deep meaning for me and my family. It was one our son’s favorite hymns and was sung at his memorial service. He was 21 and in the United States Navy. Thank you for such a wonderful reminder that God is caring for all God’s people. I don’t know when I have been so touched by a hymn as much as your “Just the Black Notes ” What a beautiful voice to sing God’s songs. Thank you.

  113. It’s strange after hearing this and reading beverlys reply, there in the midst of her writing she posts, she was going to place the quote, if the mountain were smooth you could not climb it, and how we connect, each one of us different, I wrote it down, just incase I lost this site somehow, I know we don’t always have the answers and I’m guessing we aren’t supposed to, and we follow God and trust that the decisions we make are from him, I am not here to write a long version of my life…but the impact of the comments, and the meaning of the song, could bring the coldest of hearts to God. Thank you all.

  114. Alas, much of his premise about the origins of this piece is totally wrong. The “black note” or the pentatonic scale has been used in the far east long, long before any slave ever existed or even thought of such a group of notes. Moreover, the supposed accusation that the whites took the “black scale” and wrote “white spirituals” is absurd. The example of “Amazing Grace” (correctly called “New Britain”) is a shape-note hymn in the early American/Shaker music tradition. These musical practices are derived directly from Celtic traditions (oh, yes, another culture that uses these “black notes,” but had been doing so for centuries without any influence from the black community. I think a more accurate thing to share is that nearly all cultures on the planet have a pentatonic scale in their musical roots. It is not owned by one community, only to be taken and used by another.

    It is also a bit of incorrect history in HOW “Amazing Grace” came to be. Wikipedia says:

    “After a brief time in the Royal Navy, Newton began a career in slave trading. The turning point in Newton’s spiritual life was a violent storm that occurred one night while at sea. Moments after he left the deck, the crewman who had taken his place was swept overboard. Although he manned the vessel for the remainder of the tempest, he later commented that, throughout the tumult, he realized his helplessness and concluded that only the grace of God could save him. Prodded by what he had read in Thomas à Kempis’ ‘Imitation of Christ,’ Newton took the first step toward accepting faith.

    “These incidents and his 1750 marriage to Mary Cartlett changed Newton significantly. On his slave voyages, he encouraged the sailors under his charge to pray. He also began to ensure that every member of his crew treated their human cargo with gentleness and concern. However, it would be another 40 years until Newton openly challenged the trafficking of slaves.

    “Some three years after his marriage, Newton suffered a stroke that prevented him from returning to sea; in time, he interpreted this as another step in his spiritual voyage. He assumed a post in the Customs Office in the port of Liverpool and began to explore Christianity more fully. As Newton attempted to experience all the various expressions of Christianity, it became clear that he was being called to the ministry. Since Newton lacked a university degree, he could not be ordained through normal channels. However, the landlord of the parish at Olney was so impressed with the letters Newton had written about his conversion that he offered the church to Newton; he was ordained in June 1764.

    “In Olney, the new curate met the poet William Cowper, also a newly-born Christian. Their friendship led to a spiritual collaboration that completed the inspiration for “New Britain” [or “Amazing Grace” as it has now become known], the poem Newton most likely penned around Christmas of 1772. The lyrics are based on his reflections on an Old Testament text he was preparing to preach on, adding his perspective about his own conversion while on his slave ship, the Greyhound, in 1748.

    “As with other hymns of this period, the words were sung to a number of tunes before and after they first became linked to the now familiar variant of the tune “New Britain” of which the composer is unknown and is in William Walker’s shape-note tunebook Southern Harmony, 1835.

    ” ‘New Britain’ first appears in a shape note hymnal from 1829 called Columbian Harmony. The melody is believed to be Scottish or Irish in origin; it is pentatonic and suggests a bagpipe tune; the hymn is frequently performed on bagpipes and has become associated with that instrument.”

    While I love the charm of the speaker and the powerful performance of the choir in this video, the information is far form accurate. Given the wonderful things this organization obviously does, it is a shame that this whole presentation was so grossly inaccurate.

    As far as authenticity (I have read a lot of posts here that indicate that this performance is the consummate version of this piece), if you REALLY want to hear an authentic performance of this piece, though, you need to hear it done it its original version as a shape-note hymn. The gospel style versions of this piece that exist today are a far cry from the original concept of the work.

    • Mr. Hughes, A very informative piece but do you have another referent site that would present the shape-note hymn ??

  115. In response to Daniel Hughes and several others. Although I appreciate your extensive research on the background of the song, I don’t think it adds to the ability of that song to touch people’s hearts even though they know nothing about the intellectual part. I feel the “prince of this world” works through you to take away what God is trying to do when He speaks to people through sermons or songs. I have several postgraduate degrees, but I have learned to think like a child when it comes to the things of God. I hope others continue to listen to the song and Whitley Phipps rendition and let the Spirit of God speak to them above all the book learning that they may or may not have. Who can prove that what is written in the history books is true or not. It doesn’t really matter in the long run. I’ll ask John Newton when I see him in paradise. I just want to live my life in such a way that I’ll hear those words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”.

  116. In response to Annie, please don’t misunderstand me: I am NOT criticizing the song, nor its many incarnations, etc. I am specifically addressing the misinformation of the speaker’s introduction of the piece. The references to “white spirituals,” the “blacks notes” of the slaves, etc.–all of it is inaccurate to some degree or another.

    I LOVE “Amazing Grace” in all its forms. I think it is truly marvelous that such a piece can manifest itself in so many ways, and affect so many people. I cannot think of another song that has made this kind of musical journey through history. So please, let me be very clear on this point: the piece is marvelous. The performance of this rendition is wonderful. But the historical information that precedes all this is grossly inaccurate.

    • Thank you for your correction regarding this hymn and its history! I was fortunate to participate in a shape-note hymn group several years ago. It was an wonderful experience I will never forget.

  117. This is the most amazing thing I have EVER heard and or seen..I first learned about the BLACK NOTES actually this past weekend…June 7th 2008…while at at Juice Plus bootcamp in Waynesboro Padgett Farms…Each and every time I hear Amazing Grace it brings tears to my eyes…OH HOW AMAZING IS THE GRACE OF GOD…where would we be without it…I pray that GOD continues to touch peoples lives thru this song called “AMAZING GRACE”.

  118. History of the writer (slave trader or otherwise); origin of the music (slave tune or otherwise); name of the song: “Amazing Grace” or “New Britain,” these “facts” notwithstanding, I was moved to tears by the singing of the song by Wintley Phipps as I remembered the amazing grace of God that has been shown to me and daily is being applied to my life.

    We, humans, can always miss the point and get bogged down in the secularity of issues. The important thing here is that God, by His Grace, has married, merged, united, as only He can, the words and music, thereby creating a song that lifts the soul of the hearer to the ethereal realms of glory and that, more importantly reminds us of God’s saving grace — JESUS CHRIST — who is the AMAZING GRACE of God who has been given to each of us — to whom be glory, honor, dominion and power both now and throughout the eternal ages, AMEN.

  119. Hi all! I promise not to post any more after this one.

    I want to make it really clear that I never intended to offend anyone’s sensibilities or anyone’s faith. Despite what you may infer from my posts, I do have a very deep faith in God.

    Again, I love “Amazing Grace” it all its forms, incarnations, arrangements, and versions, including the marvelous rendition here in this video. It is totally full of the Spirit, and shine’s with God’s grace. My only issue with this presentation is the information that precedes the performance. The performance is great! The choir is great! The song is great (and will always remain so)! I just take issue with the misinformation before the performance.

    Someone mentioned once or twice in a post or two that folks like me are getting stuck in the secular aspects of this video. But whether one takes issue with the “facts” that were shared in the video, or jumps up and down to them, you are STILL reacting (i.e.~ getting stuck) to these “secular” bytes of info. All of the grace of God is in the song and in the performance. I only wish the information prior to the performance was as good as the singing of the song was.

    OK, enough from me. I’ll leave you all alone now. 🙂

    • It is important to have your facts straight!!! I am grateful for your post. I don’t believe it takes away from the power of this hymn at all.

  120. I was blown away and lifted up by the angelic rendering of my favorite gospel hymn, but I want to thank Mr. Hughes for his in depth history of the origins of this song,

    I’ve often heard it played on bagpipes and am as moved and sometimes more so by the sounds from the pipes when really talented players do this hymn.

    I would “REALLY want to hear an authentic performance of this piece, though, you need to hear it done it its original version as a shape-note hymn”. I don’t even know what a “shape-note” is! Is there anyplace on the “web” where this can be heard in it’s “original version” ? I’d really like to know!

  121. “Amazing Grace” is a powerful song, that cannot be argued, but some mythology has grown up around it, and its composer John Newton.

    In this video Phipps says, “Do you know what John Newton did before he became a Christian. He was captain of a slave ship….set his words to a slave melody.” That’s probably not exactly the way it happened, and even though it serves his illustration well, it is not likely that this is so…. John Newton never most likely never even heard the tune we associate so strongly with his words!

    When John Newton published his “Olney Hymns” hymn book in 1792, he printed words only, there were no melodies at all. This was the common practice of the day in hymnal publishing. Hymn lyrics were often sung to different melodies which matched the meter of the words. We still do that today. When “Amazing Grace” was first associated in print with any tune, it was thirty years later and it was an entirely different tune known as HEPHZIBAH.

    Newton’s lyrics did not become associated with the familiar tune we recognize now until 1835 in William Walker’s famous shape-note singing-school tune book “Southern Harmony”. This tune is known as “New Britain.” Amazing Grace appeared in American hymnals with many different tunes into the 20th century.

    Phipps has evidently assumed that the AG tune must be African because it is pentatonic. But the pentatonic scale is also common in Scottish, Celtic, Chinese, Japanese, and most notably here, folk music of the American Appalachian Mountains. The tune appears to have originated Appalachian United States, rather than in England (even tho’ in England there would have been Scottish and Celtic influences, too!) In short, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to believe that Newton ever even heard the music we associate with his lyrics today!

    Another misconception surrounding Amazing Grace is that John Newton was a captain of a slave ship, was converted to Christianity, writing Amazing Grace at the moment, and became an abolitionist. Newton was converted on March 21, 1748 – a date he observed throughout his life. But he continued to work in the slave trade. He made three further voyages as master of the slave-trading ships in 1750, 1752-53 and 1753-54. Only after an illness did Newton give up working in the slave trade. It was not until 1773 that Newton wrote “Amazing Grace.” And it was decades after his conversion before Newton took any public stand against slavery.

  122. HOW BEAUTIFUL! “Just the Black Keys” truly touched my soul this evening. I love hearing the history and stories behind songs. I have heard the story behind “Amazing Grace” but it has never touched me as much as hearing it in this clip. What a fantastic voice!! I have been truly blessed!!

  123. For those of you that are not musicians, the pentatonic scale is not “just the black keys” it is also the white keys. For example, that same “all the black key” scale can be played one half step higher using all white keys. There are also several pentatonic scales

  124. It’s my birthday today. A dear friend sent this to me…what a gift. But I am reminded the greatest gift is Christ and this “Amazing Grace” we have received. The history will forever make this spiritual more meaningful.

    Thank You Jim for sending it and Thank You God for giving it.

  125. I had heard Pastor Phipps speak on the “Black Keys” and the Negro Spirituals at his concerts in the past. It seems quite prophetic to me that the theory is so true and that the tune of “Amazing Grace” goes unrecognized. It speaks volumes about God’s amazing grace when you think about it. I applaud Pastor Phipps with his eagerness and bravery in “telling the story” just like it is. Thank you Pastor Phipps and thank you God for instilling it in his mind.

  126. Thank you for sharing this beautiful message! I knew the melody was an old negro spiritual, and I play piano, so I knew about the different scales for the black keys and the white keys, but I never really thought about all of the negro spirituals being played on the black keys. Believe it or not, I actually learned the entire song “Amazing Grace” in choir in junior high – and I attended PUBLIC SCHOOL! In fact, many of the “church songs” I knew by the time I graduated were the ones our choir performed, because my mother did not raise me in church. I loved the song when I only knew the words & music, but now that I know what it REALLY means to RECEIVE God’s “amazing grace” and I understand the true meaning of the song, I love it even more!

  127. Having majored in music in college I knew about the pentatonic scale and the fact that there are many hymns which can be played on only the black keys. The early American hymnal, The Sacred Harp, has many other hymns which can be played strictly on the black keys. To add to what FED (above) stated earlier, pentatonic (in case you have not figured it out already) literally means 5 tones. Penta – 5 and tonic – tones. I am forwarding this to all our choir members and others in out church who love this song so they can be thrilled by Pastor Phillips intrepretation and presentation

  128. We must remember that the history of our hymns is important because God does cause this to happen in His time and His way always. I praise Him for the beautiful music we have to worship Him with — regard-less of who wrote the words and/or the notes. God’s grace is truly amazing in whatever form we receive it.

  129. To God be the glory! I do a weekly radio program on mornings and part of my segment is Praise and Worship, with my Pastor doing the Good Word.

    Let me tell you, Mr. Phipps and this Amazing Grace HAS to be shared with my listeners on the morrow.

    I have always, always loved Amazing Grace and have evenso requested be sang at my funeral whenever my Lord calls me home. However, to hear Mr. Phipps! Glory be to his holy name. I reached for my bible after replaying this clip several times, wishing to be hugged by my Lord!

    Thank you and thank you, Glory be to his holy name.

    Folk, please do not dispute or argue origin and melody of the black notes, just harmonise that we are able to hear it.

    Be Blessed .

  130. As Minister of Music for a major African-american church in Baltimore, MD I have never been as moved and proud as I am of Elder Phipps’ presentation. I will use this to enlighten my department as well as congregation. We as a people have contributed so much to the culture and spiritual life of the country. I pray that all America will see this testimony to the evolution and growth of a people, under the protection, guidance and love of our Heavenly Father.
    God Bless You!

  131. Amazing version of this magnificant song, first given to John Newton and then to the world. Despite all our differances on the outside the common connection is the same red blood in all of us, the red blood spilled out at the cross and then splashed on the mercy seat in Heaven for all of us. John Newton, a man burdened by his sins, was given this song as God’s testimony of His mercy for him and all the world to see how amazing His grace is.

  132. What a powerful video! Amazing Grace says it all! It tells the Grace that Jesus gives to us all. It reminded me that its HIS amazing grace that sent HIS son to take on human form so that I can be SAVED & FREE! This was great!

  133. When a man woman b,oy ,or girl, has been touched by the spirit of God ,it shows, with the play acting that the world possess now, we need to be reminded of geniune worship, what better way I have found than praising God thru trials tribulations John newton experienced the touch of God , listen to the words and let them sink in and consider ourselves a wretch , and then thank God for AMAZING GRACE

  134. I AM SPEECHLESS. Since I’m a writer and spoken word artist and just a GABBER that in itself is amazing.

    I will say this. I have been inspired to write a piece called JUST THE BLACK NOTES. My music teacher told me this years ago but I had never heard this again until now.

    I was also inspired by the fact that this gentlemen leads a group of young people who are the children of prisoners. That was a beautiful tidbit that could easily be missed.

    Look a there….I guess I had a few words.

  135. Just a comment about what each and everyone has
    written about the wonderful song, “Amazing Grace”.
    You only have to read Dr. David Jerimiah’s book,
    Captured by Grace to really understand this song which have touched so many hearts and soul. As a child of Christ it’s not so important as how this song originated, but how it has lead so many to Christ.
    God Bless each and everyone of you. Who really cares where this originated – care where it leads us to.
    Praise our Lord and Savior that John Newton came to know Jesus Christ and left us with such a wonderful song.




  138. A dear friend of mine sent this link to me. Very touching to say the least. I don’t want this to take anything away from this message here, yet I know of a version of Amazing Grace that I have on my computer, here is a link so anyone interested might hear it also.

    Jeff Beck

  139. Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!
    Amazing Grace,
    It’s His Amazing Grace that gets us through the tight, tough places we come to in life.

    Thank You Lord for your Amazing Grace

  140. We need to see this on the evening news in the USA and the World. Instead of the hate preachers. Thanks this was beauty and it is a song that has always touch me. It is a song full of the Holy Ghost. It has taken people through what looked to be the most undeliverable trials in life and history. Thank you for sharing the history. Now I know why there is so much power in this song.

  141. I would encourage everyone to watch the movie “Amazing Grace” which tells not only the story of the song, but also tells the story of how slavery was stopped in England. It is very touching with great acting but it was not a blockbuster so it didn’t get much press.
    It is inspiring to see the difference that one man can make on our world.

  142. I am studing to be an ordained deacon int the Episcopal church and recently, I took part in a discussion group which showed the movie “Amazing Grace”. The discussion group was very imformative plus heart wrenching.
    When ever I have heard the song “Amazing Grace”, it has always made me cry and know I know the reason why. Slavery was abominable back then and it is abominable today and needs to be totally abolished for God did not create slaves, people did.

  143. I just must post my comment on Amazing Grace. I have taken the time to read every comment on this site. I was also so touched by this song. I recognize myself as a wretch, saved by what could only be God’s Amazing Grace. I am going through a very poignant time in my life right now that God seems to be leading me. I am closer to Him than I have ever been in my life, and it is a wonderful journey. Things are happening in my “senior” years that only God could make happen. I am going to put the past behind me and enjoy the ride that God is preparing for this wretched old sinner. Thank you, God for this old hymn, Amazing Grace. And thank you, God for inspiring its writing.



  145. That lyrics were indeed composed by Newton, but the melody was IRISH in origin. Moreover, it can be played in the key of C, not using any of the half-step (black) notes. The notes are neither from an person of African origin, nor based off of Black spirituals. The lyrics were, however, inspired by a reformed slave-captain.

  146. A performance that literally brought me to my knees. This is the most beautiful rendition of my favorite gospel song. Mr. Phipps has been truly blessed with a beautiful voice and what a magnificant speaker he is. God has surly touched his soul.

  147. Regardless of the origin of the song. I wish it were possible to turn back time and erase the evil done to the Africans who were brought to this country against their wills. I wish I could say Im/we are sorry from the bottom of our hearts!

  148. WOW! I love the song Amazing Grace anyway – but got goosebumps listening to this story… he is an amazing sotry teller – really clutches at your heart! I thought the best part… was when he was humming at the beginning of Amazing Grace as if he were the original slaves singing it… that was so powerful! So glad I received this email! Our God is an Awesome God! Amen!

  149. I love the hymn. An interesting video and great story although some liberties seem to have been taken with history and some facts. Still a meaningful hymn.

  150. Beautifully sung. God has blessed Mr. Phipps with a powerful ,inspiring and uplifting voice.How He must smile listening to him praise His glory. Magnificent .Thank you Jesus !

  151. Well said, Mark Alan Filbert. Your hymnological
    history is accurate. I have taught piano for over
    40 years, taught Music History, and loved this
    wonderful Amazing Grace my whole life. I teach
    it to my youngest piano students because the
    pentatonic notes are so easy to play……plus
    the pentatonic harmonies mean “no wrong
    notes” as long as all of them are black ! I was
    bothered by the inaccuracy of pairing this tune
    and this hymn in the sentimental way, but I did
    enjoy the message. We Music Historians get
    into trouble sometimes for telling the truth,
    but I am glad that you beat me to it. There is
    a wonderful choir arrangement by Buryl Red
    that uses the pentatonic scale in an etherial
    way that is breathtaking. Maybe everyone
    who likes this should try Buryl Red’s arrangement
    of “Amazing Grace” ……it is great too!

  152. Hi,

    I really liked the video you posted about “Black Keys” and “Amazing Grace” — especially since I just finished reading “Amazing Grace,” a book about Wilberforce. It showed a diagram of a slave ship – how little room they had – which the song kept reminding me of.

    I agree with another reply (Vivian Souders) which says that we need to see this sentiment on public media. Churches should be proclaiming the unity that is deeper than black and white. Also, the child is not responsible for what the parent did: I mourn for the slave times, and will do whatever I can to prevent it in the future.

  153. This rendition of Amazing Grace” is so lovely. Oh can
    you hear the angles sing as we; “Enter into His gates with Thanksgiving and into his courts with praise”.
    (Psalms 100:1-5) Note there are only 5 verses in this
    chapter. These are possibly 5 of the most simpIistic
    “call to praise the Lord” verses in scripture but have powerful meaning over ANY situation life throws at me. I learned them well at the age of 5 years. Born in the year 1952, I witnessed much prejudices as my grand- parents-parents were slave owners. I never learned to read music but learned to play this tune at age 5 by our nanny / Viola. I loved her dearly. She explained the pentatonic scale in parallel to the Pentateuch. (A.K.A. the first five books in the old testiment of the Bible). “God intended for the good things in life to be simple.”She’d say. ” Love, understanding, intellect, rules, principles, discipline and things of this nature are to be appreciated for its’ simplicities instead of their complexities. Sometimes it takes a while to know, that you know, that you know but when you let simple truths reveal themselve, that’s when your faith has been built large enough that no manner how large or complex a situation gets, you will know truth and give praise onto it.” She’d say, “even we coloreds know we are all of one God. Now don’t that make life more simple?” And then she’d smile big and hug me deep and full and tell me to go on about my business.
    This 4th of July I will be collecting documentation and gathering information concerning my sisters’ “wrongful death”. It is still very raw and stings with a hurt unlike any pain I’ve ever known so far in my 56 years. My dear cousin e-mailed me the link “Amazing Grace; Just the Black Notes”. Intuitively, Byron must have known I would need much inspiration to compose this re- port as it will require me to relive the trama in chronological details of the cause(s) leading to Janice’s untimely death. I give thanks to my Lord for giving me a life that makes me humble in times of fear sorrow or shame. For ALL THINGS; For it is by his amazing grace that I can sing praises to his Holy name. Jesus is Lord. Amen

  154. I too join in with my brothers and sisters in saying how amazing was this video. We have a lot to be thankful for when we consider those who suffered to make things better for us. Because of their determination we are here today reaping the benefits of their pain and loss. Great songs such as these were birth out of great tribulation, that’s why its so important to continue singing them no matter how contemporary society may get. Again thanks for sharing, my spirit is moved, for I too am a singer and songs delivers an inner message for an outer experience.

  155. All I can say is that I am so thankful for my people and our ability to make something so JOYFUL that may appear to be so sorrowful. We are a strong and magnificient people inspite of the hardships we have faced and are currently enduring. God is working so powerfully through us so much so that still today from the depths of slaves who were sold, stolen , packed together like sardines and chained in the bottom of ships, we receive messages of hope, love, forgiveness, and strength. God is awesome in us and through us! Praise him!

  156. I just watched this short video and it had a lasting impression on my. I lost my son on the 14th of June this year and listening to the music just has helped to heal my aching heart. Thank you.

  157. A friend sent me this and I cannot thank him enough. I am going through a tough time right now, physically and spiritually and this short video made me feel closer to God than I have felt in a long time. Thank you and God Bless you.

  158. Several people have asked but I have not seen an answer to the question of how to obtain the video. This video was shot as part of the Gaither videos and can be obtained in DVD and CD versions by contacting or calling 1-800-955-8756. I don’t have a catalog within reach, but I believe the name is “Amazing Grace” and there is also a CD by Wintley Phipps entitled “Favorite Hymns of Billy Graham.” Amazing Grace is on there.

  159. This song has always moved me deeply, because that is what God means to me:” Amazing grace”.. but this clip tonight has intensified this feeling. His grace goes out to everyone, it carried the slaves through that tribulation and carried the former slave owner through his guilt and it will continue to carry us through whatever may come..

  160. I did not find this video at all amazing. No pun intended. It did not move me and it would not move you very much, if you know your music. Actually, Amazing Grace can also be played with only the “White Keys” on the piano, and if you have experienced the forgiveness of sin through God’s grace, it will have a powerful impact on you no matter which color key you choose play it with.

    We must be careful to not be carried away with emotion. Salvation is not about emotion, it is about the unconditional love of God experienced by any human soul. “Amazing Grace” was penned by a man who had that very experience – He knew because of his deeds, God had no reason at all to touch his wretched heart and save his soul, but He did! God cleansed his sin sick soul!

    You can play any song with either all white keys or all black keys. . whatever floats your boat or in more spiritual terms. . whatever ministers to you so that you come to know Jesus! The all black keys shoudn’t amaze you. . it’s just common musical sense. . Keep focused on what should amaze you. . GOD’S AMAZING GRACE!!!

  161. Absolutely amazing!! I could honestly feel the hearts of the slaves as Mr. Phipps was singing. I as a white woman have always embrassed the “black” culture. With bi-racial children and a father who was raised (prejudice) completely opposite from what he raised me, In which, he is who I received this E-mail from. This has touched me in so many ways. There is hope and a future for us all through the Lord Jesus. Thank you so much for sharing. May God Continue to bless us are we as Christians strive to be “One Nation”

  162. This was one of the first things I learned in Music Theory class…the pentatonic scale, the use of just the black notes, and that many Negro spirituals are derived from that scale. But never, never, have I heard it communicated as Whitley Phips did. How moving! What a picture of God’s grace full circle – that God can take a man, doing such a horrible thing as slave trading, and through it give us one of the most beautiful, most recognized, most moving hymns of the faith in history. Truely awesome!!

  163. I pray that Whitley Phipps may become as committed to telling the historical truth about Amazing Grace as he is to singing the beautiful song about Amazing Grace. Mr. Phipps is a gifted musician, but his inaccuracies speak so loud that some folks will not be able to hear the message behind the music.

    As a leader carrying the banner of Christ, he could do much to educate “we the people” spiritually if he did it with historical integrity.

    I have been blessed by the video and by reading through the comments. I praise God that the ground is level at the foot of the cross.

    I praise God for this post:
    DiannaMontgomery, on April 16th, 2008 at 2:33 pm Said:

    this has helped me see my way back to church and to god thank u so much

    Folks, THIS is evidence of God’s Amazing Grace! \O/ \O/ \O/

  164. After reading all the comments I decided there are really only two views: beautiful and accurate or beautiful and inaccurate.

    My opinion is that is beautiful and inaccurate, not that anyone else cares.

    I really wonder who did the background study and how could so many different versions of it’s history be “found” in the archives.

    A deep baritone always brings a heartfelt response as it did for me.

    My hope is that we quit exchanging all of the beautiful old hymns for the modern songs that have “7 words sung 20 times”. A little is fine, but after a while a person gets turned off spiritually. My opinion again.

    May the Lord give everyone His grace and mercy.

  165. Right on Gayle!
    It’s about God’s AMAZING GRACE
    and that night, God was hugging that slave
    owner. His Grace, in the moment of dispair.
    Wow! That IS totally Amazing in itself.
    It’s not about the keys.

  166. God’s Amazing Grace, and his mazing Love. That is the message. We needed to hear and be moved by the message, so God used one of his best singing servants to deliver the message. Don’t shoot the messenger
    I am not stock on all the other historical details. Although it is good to hear all the various historical accounts. My soul was fed, and my spiritual hunger satisfied. White keys or black keys praise the Lord for His Amazing Grace.

  167. The pentatonic scale can begin on any note on the keyboard. It’s the pattern of half steps and whole steps that make it pentatonic, not that the scale is played on just the black notes. I’ve heard Pastor Phipps sing in person, and he is an amazing performer. Interestingly enough, when he sang Amazing Grace on this video, instead of singing it in the key of G-flat Major, which would have put his notes on the black keys, he sang it in E Major, although he did have a modulation or two in his performance.

  168. Heard this years ago on a Bill Gaither night. Glad to hear it again as it really does get close to my heart. Mr. Phipps has a terrific voice and a love for Christ. I do hope to see him in heaven and listen to the songs that he sings. I want to thank the individual who sent it also.

  169. I love this song…. Alway have, always will……. It has special meaning for me……. And to hear it sang as well as this man sang it, just sent chills up and down my back…..My age is telling, but I really do not like what the “modern” music is doing to the “ole time hymns “…..I feel like some of the other readers do….. 7-8 words repeated over and over do not do God justice…..And when they try to change an old hymn into a more modern song ……. Well…….. It makes me cringe!!! God said to make a joyful noise, so maybe He doesn’t care, as long as you are lifting Him up!!!

  170. Becca on June 13 is correct. “As with other hymns of this period, the words were sung to a number of tunes before and after they first became linked to the now familiar variant of the tune “New Britain” of which the composer is unknown and is in William Walker’s shape-note tunebook Southern Harmony, 1835.[9]
    Shape Note version from 1835.
    Shape Note version from 1835.

    “New Britain” first appears in a shape note hymnal from 1829 called Columbian Harmony. The melody is believed to be Scottish or Irish in origin; it is pentatonic and suggests a bagpipe tune; the hymn is frequently performed on bagpipes and has become associated with that instrument. This tune seems to have been firmly established as the ‘standard’ for this hymn after an arrangement of it appeared in a series of popular hymnbooks in the early twentieth century. (See also the versions in the Sacred Harp article.)”

    I invariably wept when I heard “Amazing Grace” . . . until I heard the historical inaccuracy Phipps presented. (I saw him on a Gaither video.” It’s a nice little story, but for me it took away from the reality of the genesis of the song and the melodies to which it was sung. Oh, well. I still cry when I hear anyone else sing it!

  171. This was an interesting and awesome lesson in History as well as an artistic rendition of Amazing Grace. I love the song and really feel that it’s words and melody have been a blessing to every generation who has attempted to sing it. You are so right in sharing it’s history and origin. It is time we knew and really learned the depth of the song’s power. You have made me wonder what the original chant meant. I’m sure that it was a cry out to God or a Praise to His Holy Name.
    God Bless You for Sharing

  172. Amazing Grace was my mother’s favorite song and I can still hear her singing it day in and day out. Of course, this was one of the songs that she wanted sung at her funeral.

    There have been two times that my heart actually swelled and when I heard this song and the message accompanying the song was the second time. The first was when my niece was in a beauty pageant at her college and for her talent she chose to sing How Great Thou Art (my favorite song). I had never experienced the feeling which I called “My heart swelled” before (not even at the time of my acceptance of Christ as my Lord and Savior) and had not experienced it since until I heard this song and the accompanying message.

    All praise and glory to God.

  173. God’s “Amazing G.R.A.C.E”; Gods Redemption At Christ’s Expense is indeed an eternal message for all mankind!
    The awesome and inspirational song of Amazing Grace” is but a mere tribute to His Glory as revealed in John 3:16-18.
    Pastor Phipps has an exceptional gift in sharing with us all the reality of God’s Glory. The song is truly a gift to celebrate the wonder of our Savior. Praise be to His Holy name.
    Thank you for sharing this inspirational site! I never get tired of hearing the song. A really gut-wrenching experience is to hear it being played on bag-pipes! The wailing of the pipes goes right through you!!

  174. Dr. Phipps was previously the Senior Pastor at Seabrook Seventh Day Adventist Church in Lanham, MD. Some of his sermons can be heard on (91.9FM in the DC area) on the program “The More Abundant Life” Saturdays from 7:00-7:30AM; the program usually includes a selection sung by Dr. Phipps. I believe Seabrook SDA offers copies of these sermons (although their website does not mention that service).


  176. I had an opportunity to listen to the glorious sounds of Christ thru the spirituals of the past. Those were the days when songs were of extreme meaning and carried sound a profound message to all.

    All Praises and Glory To God on High.

  177. Thank you for sharing this awesome rendition of Amazing Grace. As a Christian, a church choir director and vocal music educator, I truly appreciated the history and music theory behind the composing of Amazing Grace and will use it in my classes. but mostly I was moved by the performance. It was sung with such power and feeling, it reached into my very soul.

  178. Our family sang this in a huge auditorium at my Presbyterian minister father ‘s funeral in 1977.

    We sang it again in 1999 when my baby sister, an interdenominational missionary died in Kenya after she succombed to tick fever.

    In 2003, we sang it at the funeral of my drug addict husband. He was a Christian..who had slid from alcohol to cocaine to Oxycotin..despite his many attempts to overcome addiction.

    A beautiful hymn, full of promise, even for wretches!!!

    Praise God!

  179. Amazing on 5 black notes was emailed to my husband (a professional french horn musician for over 60 years ) from a fellow musician, we live in England, and he said we would be truly blown away with it. He was not wrong, my husband didnt realise about the history of Negro Spirituals being played on only the 5 black notes of a piano, nor of who wrote the words to Amazing Grace. We are never too old to learn. God bless each and everyone regardless of creed or colour.

  180. This was truly a blessing and remembrance of God’s Amazing Grace. Chills ran over me as I could imagine the slaves, my ancestors, coming across the ocean in the slave ships, and singing praises to God, hoping and having faith in His amazing grace. This was a lesson learned by me concerning the black notes. It also is another revelation that God is real in the coincidental sounds of gospel songs corresponding to the black notes on the piano. Of course the slaves or ancestral Africans did not have access to pianos. They were blessed with making their own sounds of song. Whitley Phipps has a truly awesome voice and undoubtedly is blessed from GOD in spreading the gospel of His Amazing Grace. Thank you Jacqlyn for sharing this with me. I am forwarding it to everyone I can think of. I’m sure many do not know the history behind this song.

  181. Greetings from Australia..what a wonderful experience.
    The Amazing Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ should enfold each one of us regardless of race, color, sex or denomination. Australia was dubbed, The Great Southland of the Holy Spirit. We are awaiting that fulfillment today. When we perceive the Amazing Grace of our God and how He has changed American society to elect the formerly son of slavery, to the highest office in the USA…then all things are possible for our God and in His time. Thanks for this blessed message!!

  182. What a great video! I have sent that to everyone on my email list. After seeing the movie, this video added so much more. I have sung the song in choruses but NOT like that. And the voice, THAT incredible VOICE! It isn’t one I shall soon forget. Thank you for posting this one.


  184. I wish I could have experienced that live. Very very powerful and ohhh sooo corageous to see this powerful, self assured black man rise, speak, and sing about the history of slaves and sing soo heartfelt that you know he is a blessed man, truly favored and not have reservation about the crowd of multi-races which looked to be majority white. I love to see a person soo blessed and soo faithful that they radiate their faith and they joy that Jesus has blessed them with. I struggle but I am encouraged. God Bless

  185. This video has been making the rounds of the Christian blogosphere. Unfortunately, the history is completely false. Newton never sung Amazing Grace to the tune we know today.

    Amazing Grace was first published in 1779. It was first linked to the tune “New Britain” in 1835 – 56 years later, and 28 years after Newton’s death.

    And that tune was just one of many for another century. The song only became famous when it hit the pop charts in the 1960s. (See this link for more details.)

  186. I am a Retired Marine of (30) years from Alabama (74)
    years of age my Mother sing Amazing Grace to me when I was a child in the cotton fields of Alabama I loved it then and I love it now “god Bless”

  187. Wintley Phipps is truly a marvelous singer. But many have commented that he’s not much of a scholar. It is unlikely that John Newton ever heard his hymn sung to the “slave” tune we associate with it.

    One person commented on learning the “true roots” of the classic hymn. HA, HA!! It’s easy to discover that the lyrics were published in 1779, and probably sung to dozens of tunes in Common Meter.

    The music, “New Britain,” was first known to be in print in 1831 in a New World “VIrginia Hymnal.” That’s a gap of over 50 years and a 3,000 mile ocean. Newton never even wrote the final “Ten thousand years” verse!

    Rev. Phipps tells a sweet fairy tale about the English-language world’s most popular hymn, but he’s a much better singer than a researcher.

  188. This is an inspiring and entertaining video, but unfortunately, it is misleading. I always find it dismaying when preachers play fast and loose with the facts in order to illustrate God’s truth. I don’t think God needs people to make up evidence to tell of His wonder, power, and love.

    The pentatonic scale is used throughout the world, even in traditional Scottish music, where most authorities believe this tune originated. John Newton wrote these words as a poem to go with a sermon he was to preach around 1772, not as the words to a song. The earliest we can find this tune written with these words is 1835, which would be odd if Newton intended them to be linked. The words fit well with many simple melodies, and they are often sung to various tunes, just as they were about 200 years ago.

    This tune and these words mean a great deal to many, many people. The old African American spirituals have played an important role in Christian music. The idea that this tune is, as an African melody or not, was part of the inspiration for Newton’s words, however, is not borne out by the facts. Let the works stand for themselves and let people be proud or moved by them as is. There is no need to embellish and mislead.

  189. I heard Mr. Phipps do this live and in person at a 3-day preaching conference in 2004. We heard MANY great preachers, but Whitney’s musical sermon was by far the most memorable. It’s great to have it on video. Thank you.

  190. Regardless of the facts (or fiction) mentioned above, I found this man inspirational and his story about the black music captivating.

    There’s not much to add, except that, as a white Christian man, I am awed.

  191. As a working musician for the past forty years my first impression is there is much more to a pentatonic scale than five notes or simply the five black keys on a keyboard. And it would seem the representation of portraying the hymns’ origins slants something as completely equal opportunistic as music to something racial when it is totally unnecessary to do so. Demonstrating Amazing Grace on all white keys would have been equally sustainable as a pentatonic scale, but obviously lacking in theatre and story. God is interested in what is in your heart, you have to filter the subterfuge.

  192. ” Amazing Grace” Beautiful Words Beautiful Melody, Even moreso a Beautiful Messege for any and All
    ” we are all Precious in his sight”
    God Bless Your Caring and Sharing HEARTS

  193. How wonderfully uplifting . . . in this day and age when all of the news is so negative, it is a breath of fresh air to be inspired and enlightened. What I would like to know is . .. who is the moderator . . . his voice is rich as velvet . . . either speaking or singing his delivery touches my soul. Amazing Grace was also played at my Mom’s funeral on a bagpipe . . .at the time I did not know the history of the song . . . it makes me miss her so much. God Bless and thank you for such a beautiful message.


  195. Four years ago I was released from jail for four hours to attend the funeral of my grandmother whom I called momma. She raised me from birth and rooted the word of God in me with diligence. Before they lowered her body into the ground I sang this song for the last time in front of anyone, and the only time that I didn’t cry. I went back to my jail cell and starred at the scripture I had stuck to my cell wall and believed with all my heart that my Jesus heard my words. When I did eventually go before a judge, I recieved probation on a five year prison sentenance. I was released, and one month later I met my now husband who I had been writing downstairs in jail. I met him when I visted him in jail. When he was released we married and or still serving Jesus. He recieved probation on a 20 year sentenance. God answers prayer! His Grace is amazing! He continues to give, lowly as we are. Oh, my scripture..Heb. 4:16 LET US THERFORE COME BOLDLY UNTO THE THRONE OF GRACE, THAT WE MAY OBTAIN MERCY, AND FIND GRACE TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED. Four years ago Jesus released us from the jail satan had us in. God has given us two vehicles, a job with the person my husband robbed, my husband now carries the keys, and three months ago God bought our first house, just about three blocks from the jail satan tried to confine us to.
    Thats just the highlights of what a testimony Jesus has given me in just four years. In the blink of His eye. An amazing story, that testifies to His Amazing Grace. I don’t know anything about the history of how the song was wrote, just the Holy Ghost has got to be the answer.

  196. Tonight my steps were ordered by Holy Spirit. It’s past my bedtime. I have told this story many times.My grandmother was a gifted musician.She would take me to church with her all the time.I would tell how she always played on the black keys in service. Thanks to brother Phipps,he just explained it all.

  197. Thank you Rev. Phipps from an old sinner who sometimes needs reassurance that God still loves me and is waiting for me. Awakened my spirit.

  198. I know that there are historical inaccuracies in the presentation and, certainly, those have caused much comment. Perhaps Wintley’s performance would have had greater impact had he foregone the prelude but, after reading every response, I rather doubt it. I also know that Wintley Phipps has a calling from God which he strives to use effectively and I can’t imagine that powerful voice not touching all hearts. The real thing is this – what is the personal effect of “Amazing Grace” – read, written, spoken or sung? For me it is the memory of Dad leading his congregation in accapella singing or Mother singing it as she went about her daily chores; knowing that it was spiritual life blood to them. It is my further memory of myself, watching my mother struggling for breath in her hospital bed during the last months of her life, soothed only by my humming “Amazing Grace”. It is the memory of standing with my brothers and sisters, singing that same sweet song as we laid our mother to rest. It is the memory of countless times throughout my 6+ decades of life when God has shown such amazing grace and mercy that there are no words to express my awe and gratitude. So historical inaccuracies aside, I will continue to listen to Wintley’s version and anyone else’s with pure joy for the Truth of the message. I want to express my gratitude as well to Bill and Gloria Gaither for their passion and undeterred efforts to keep the old hymns and gospel songs a part of the American spiritual tradition while integrating the new. I pray God continues to bless Wintley and his ministry and the Gaithers.

  199. I am from sunny Singapore and I want to thank God for His amazing grace.
    Reminds me of another Christian song:
    The grace of God upon my life is not dependent on what I have done or deserve
    But a gift of mercy from God
    Which has been given unto me
    Because of His love, His love to me
    It is
    The grace of God given unto me.

  200. Tears of joy is what this presentation brought to me. Joy that I could get up yet another glorious day and be able to listen to a beautiful song and recall how much of our world and lives are from God’s grace. Thank you to the friend who shared this and I hope it goes around the world to give others hope and joy. It was awesome.

  201. This is the most uplifting email message I have ever received. It’s a forever keeper. I will share with everyone and it my favorite song of all times!

  202. What a wonderful video… listening to the Reverend was a very powerful and moving experience for me… what a voice! He sang it with the heart, from the soul and connected me in a way that I have never experience. Brought tears to my eyes. How wonderful God is… he’s always reaching out to us trying to show love and compassion for one another. God is good! God is Great! I am a firm believe in our Holy Father and of his Son, Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit. I pray for healing for our Nation and our new upcoming Leader! Praise the Lord. God Bless us.

  203. Truely, Truely uplifting. I have not received anyting more powerful in an e-mail until now! Praise God, For His Grace is Amazing. Whitney Phelps is Awesome!

  204. Words cannot be spoken that describe the feeling that wells up in my soul upon hearing this hymn. I am richly blessed to experience this presentation.

  205. Thanks to my childrens’ high school National Honor Society teacher for sending this to us……..oh ..&..RFM……”the words will stand for itself “…….but hard to do these days with the Lords prayer taken away from our schools’ and so many raised with movies & TV only……….

  206. Too often Young African-Americans like myself downplay and even disregard our unfortunate history as “ancient” or “not important”, when in fact it is the very event that should drives us to pursue excellence as well as incorporation into this “melting pot” we call America the Beautiful. As an African-American female, I too am guilty of taking my ancestors for granted, failing to seek knowledge concerning their impact on American Christian society as we know it today. AFTER WATCHING THIS CLIP, I am reminded of the suffering, sacrifices, and unwavering determination of my ancestors through the apparent power and movement of this most annointed song. I’ve also been moved by the power of God in the former slaveship driver’s life. I have truly learned a valuable lesson today and have found a new pride and respect for those who came before me.
    As I embark upon the journey into law school this fall, I will surely utilize the memory of this awesome video if/whenever the pressure seems to much to bear. Remembering that I have a Father who loves and cherishes me, who brought my ancestors out of complete bondage, not to mention SAVED my life will be sure to provide comfort and peace of mind while traveling such a demanding path in such a turmoil-ridden world. THANK YOU FATHER your AMAZING GRACE!

  207. This video is awesome! Whitley Phelps is a great singer and musical educator. What a wonderful discovery about the song amazing grace. Thank you Whitley for sharing such powerful information and your voice is so amazingly beautiful.

    God Bless you and the work you are doing for the Kingdom of God.

    Your brother in Christ,

  208. 229 Responses to “Amazing Grace: Just the Black Notes!”
    God’s Grace is Awesome, since November of 2007, so many Hearts have been touched. God Loves Us, we need to Honor God’s Love for Us, We Need God put back into Our Schools as this song has put God’s Love back into Our Hearts.

  209. This video was absolutely phenomenal. I passed it on to all I know. I love to hear history. No one could have reverberated the story and song as eloquent as Wintley Phipps. I am forever touched.

  210. No one can take the place of God in our hearts, no matter how much we think we love, no one can love us like Jesus can.He fills that longing down in our hearts that he put there and no one can fill except Him….

  211. As often as I play this DVD and hear Wintley give this history and sing this song, it never fails to touch me to the core of my soul. I grew up listening to and singing this song at church. However, no one can deliver it like Wintley can. This is on the Gaither Homecoming Videos and DVDs titled: Heaven. We’ve lost a lot of our great singers in the past few years but we also have the second, third and some of the fourth generations following in their footsteps. Amazing Grace will never be sung again like Wently Phipps delivers it. If this doesn’t touch your heart, dig down into your soul and see what’s blocking it. Someday we will all say, How Sweet The Sound…for we are all one in the sight of our creator.

  212. This is a very moving performance of “Amazing Grace”. It shows that music and a heartfelt, emotionally performed message (through the power of gospel) can be cathartic AND uplifting. I felt the energy of God’s great graces through Whitley’s presentation of the song’s history, and his spiritual rendition of “Amazing Grace”. It’s definitely “Footprints” through the melodies of the Almighty.

  213. It’s been many years since I’ve heard this. It’s wonderful. I think I’ll be teaching my grandson some songs from “the black notes”. Thank you.

  214. This performance is “SUPERB”, It has increased my Faith in God, I am encouraged to live more vibrant Christian Life. I pray that through this Video many will receive Christ as their Saviour.
    God bless you all. Keep up the Wonderful work.
    Rhoda Procope

  215. What a moving performance and story of “Amazing Grace!” I first saw this about two years ago on the Bill Gaither & Friends show and have intended ever since to locate and purchase the DVD. This performance is “Bill Gaither & Friends at Carnegie Hall,” and Wintley Phipps adds a deeper spiritual meaning to the song and its message each time you hear or sing it.

  216. Amazing Grace has always been my favorite & most comforting hymn. As a child it just grew on me. In my 20’s it comforted me. Now in my 30’s it brings me tearful joy of where life has lead me, & the joy of the last verse, of what is to come. I have always been drawn to African hymns like Sweet Chariot, & Go Down Moses. Hearing this has African roots does not surprise me. I am Italian, yet because of the bondage I faced as a child & in my early 20’s, these hymns filled with crying out & hope of what will be, I have desperatly clung to. Almost every church that I would visit , when they would ask me to sing, it was Amazing Grace. It’s always the song in my heart!!! When he was singing in the video clip, I couldn’t help but to cry. Thank you for posting this. I hope & pray it touches many more hearts, Amen. Tabatha

  217. Awesome ! I love this video and God…not in that order of course!
    Keep up God’s work and keep the videos coming.
    Love and Prayers,
    J. Snow

  218. Ed’s comment on 8/5, “What a powerful performance!” is absolutely right. I truly believe that God arranged the “performance” and know, without a doubt, that He worked in the heart of this man to bring us a bit of our history. As we all know, it isn’t the color of the skin that matters, just the condition of the heart. Thank you so very much for helping us wake up to the wonderful, God given world around us.

  219. It is wonderful to see a man who hasn’t let skin color be the crutch of self pity. What a wonderful voice for a moving song.

  220. Thank you for the explanation of a beautiful old, God given melody. I can just hear the soul of those dear people being taken from their homes and brought to a strange place to be someones slave. The singing was beautiful. what a blessing this e-mail has been to me. May God continue to bless this message.
    Ezma Maust

  221. Very inspiring. I need to somehow pass this message on to young black boys now in custody due to lack of family ties. I am a CASA volunteer and am working with these boys. They need an understanding of ther heritage and a belief that they are not alone. If it is possible, I would like to contact the US Dream Academy for guidance to help these boys.

  222. A powerful song – wonderfully sung. In and around the music must be the words – Grace saved. The Grace of God won through Jesus Christ is what saves – NOTHING we can do can save us. How blessed we are, though, through that Grace, to go be the light to others and to bring them to Christ so that we all may be in Heaven to find out who the ‘unknown’ singer was. We are freed by Grace to be Christ’s hands and feet here on earth – just as Mr. Phipps is.

    “For it is by Grace that you are saved, lest any one should boast”

  223. Truly Our God reigns! what a wonderful, wonderful rendition of Amazing Grace on this day, 08/08/08 the day of new beginnings. This email has brought light new truth that has blessed my heart, soul and mind. Thank you for sharing it with me.

  224. This Is such an awesome, spiritual uplifting and a history lesson that I didn’t know! Thank you for the lesson and especially for the singing of Amazing Grace,beautiful absolutely amazing!

  225. Amazing Grace bring to mind all the people that God walked thought my life in the many year that I have lived. The good one and also the bad ones. It reminds me to be a better person and carry on as a good person and help others when I can. It also remind me of the people in my life that have pass on to be with God. I some day will be there myself! There is no other piece of music that bring tear to my eye as the Amazing Grace does.

  226. I learned a lot from this video and was moved by the message. However I have to ask ‘if God is so good why did he allow Slavery in the first place’.

  227. I just wanted to mention that the pentatonic scale, used in African melodies, is the same one used in blues and rock and roll. Starting on a different note, it’s also the same one used in Celtic music, and similar to the one used in Asian music. All of these, including African music, were not originally intended to glorify God. This just goes to show you that ALL music CAN be used to glorify God, no matter what its original intended purpose. All creativity and all art is a gift from God, it is up to us to decide if we use it to glorify Him.

  228. i do not tie spiritual inspiritual to a color. it is separatism which does not belong in God’s presence . i am glad some do , like me , love this old song , and feel no need to attatch it to racisist remarks tho ……….God bless

  229. Praise God!
    I get it!
    John Newton got it!
    Whitley Phipps gets it!
    It is God’s amazing grace.
    Now, what are you going to do with it?

  230. What a comfort this song and its story are – no matter how wicked one has been, if one accepts the love of Jesus, one will be saved. God bless you, Peter, for posting this!

  231. I am blessed every time I hear Wesley Phipps sing because he has an amazing voice but to here him sing Amazing Grace it makes chills run up my spine. I think it would do us all good to get history lessons like that any day of the week.

  232. My friend, Janie, sent this e-mail to me and I was so
    touched, I’ve heard this hymnn many times, but this
    version had such impact… God bless you for sharing..
    It’s good to be reminded just how AMAZING His
    Grace is to all mankind… I find no fault in this
    presentation… there should be no criticism… just
    praise that an individual allows God’s Spirit to use
    him and share with the rest of us.

  233. Mr. Phipps did not do his research very well. According to the most researched sources, including Steve Turner’s _Amazing Grace: The Story of America’s Most Beloved Song_ ( and the Library of Congress’s online exhibit on Amazing Grace (, John Newton probably never heard that tune. In fact, the hymn text that we now call Amazing Grace was never paired with the *Scottish folk tune* that we heard Mr. Phipps perform until 1835 in South Carolina. William “Singin’ Billy” Walker is responsible for the fortuitous pairing of that text and that tune in his Southern Harmony and Musical Companion. In fact, many of the tunes in this book were both pentatonic and written before the beginning of the European and American slave trade. (Let’s not mention the fact that many scales other than the pentatonic scale had been part of indigenous African music before European colonization.) So much for Mr. Phipps’s frankly racist theory.

  234. Great!
    It was a wonderful interpretation of a wonderful song.
    I pray that it would close up some of the racial gaps there is in this world. It was truly a lesson for all of mankind to think on. We shaare the space of this world in everything we do. Keep up the Good Godly work.
    It was truly inspiring!
    Thank you the black keys.
    God Keep right on bless you!.

  235. Thank you for sharing the story and the soulful and beautiful rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’. I shall remember the story of “Just the Black Notes” every time I hear this song sung or played.

    ‘Amazing Grace’ was played at my father’s funeral together with the ‘Old Rugged Cross’! My father taked with anyone and everyone about God and Jesus. He would bring hitch-hikers home for a hot meal, shower and warm bed (he passed in 1990 to be with our Lord and Savior). The family tried to discourage him from acting in this manner as he was elderly. We were always afraid someone would take advantage of him. His love of God was stronger than the evil in this world and we finally realized that Jesus kept him safe so he could tell others of the wonders of salvation and eternal life. Thank you again for sharing the story and allowing us to hear Rev. Phipps rich voice!

  236. With so many self proclaimed leaders of the black community who only see things from a hateful perspective, it was a pleasing breath of fresh air to hear someone so passionate and loving speak of the trials and tribulations that occurred so many generations ago. To speak of us all as God’s children, black and white, all colors When the black community seeks someone to speak on their behalf, they should look this man’s way. Even though he doesn’t say much in this clip…he said volumes to me about who we are and who we should be, and who he is. The story of the black keys was an amazing way to pay tribute to the millions of brave souls that over the centuries from Africa to Europe to Asia to America gave their lives as slaves, and in some places in this world still do. America needs leaders like this man, I hope he chooses to not only serve his Lord, but this great country. We could use a man of this caliber. Especially this year with the choices we have for President being bad or worse. Not meaning to be political, it’s just that in this year seeing a man like this with this much love and passion…it makes me long for a leader with the same. Thanks for posting this, a friend passed me the link, I will pass it on as well.

  237. The details of the origins of the tune really don’t matter so much, as Mark Allen Filbert (April 20th), and Robert Kelley (August 13th, he called Rev. Phipps a racist….he may have the shoes on his feet mixed up), and others seem to think. I feel sorry for these folks, and others who make a point of these points…….they have missed the greater point of Wintley Phipps’ story. It’s about Grace and and beauty and simplicity, uniting and remembering and sameness among Christians the world around, and it does acknowledge the influence one culture may have on another.

    As noted, many different cultures used similar tonal scales throughout history. Perhaps that was God at work too?? Who’s to say the slaves tune and the Scottish version and the version in Southern Harmony did not all come from the same original source?

    But the MESSAGE in the video is POSITIVE and sweet and uplifting. I just don’t understand those who have to knock down something good and inspirational like Wintley Phipps’ version of the story. Must be because their lives are really so devoid of God’s love and grace they feel it necessary to belittle or prove others wrong to make themselves look bigger, better, smarter. What a shame they could not hear the message for all the nattering about detail. Open your hearts, let in the Grace, let in the song, breathe it in and you will experience JOY, real joy.

    When I first listened to this and realized I could make a comment, I was just going to simply write “AMEN”. I’ll just end with that and hope the nay-sayers hear the “AMEN” someday.

    • Jackie,
      Please look for my message and do your best to ignore my awkward style.

      I pray that God will soften your heart. Especially toward people who are concerned about Christian leaders who make up fairie-tails and present them from the pulpit as though they were historical facts.

      I also pray that he will sharpen your discernment to the point that you will become concerned about such leaders yourself, maybe even dare to speak out against the practice of deceiving your congregation just to make your sermon more ‘effective’.

      I believe that unlike a socialist dictatorship, neither Christianity nor black people need misrepresentations to make them look good. The black folks I know will never need Mr Phipps’ imaginative tall tales to be proud of themselves or their ancestors. Likewise, I really do not recall a biblical example of God needing someone to make up fluff stories to get people emotional enough to seek Him.

      By the way, I believe Mr Kelly stands falsely accused by you. You sully his good name when you claim he called Mr Phipps a racist.

      Unlike your dramatic accusation, all he did was to identify Mr Phipps’ theory of the song’s history as a racist theory. I don’t need to be a racist in order to make a racist comment like ‘White folks don’t have enough pigment to protect their skin from the sunlight!’

      My statement is a racist statement, just as much of Mr Phipps lecture was racist by espousing that one race has distinct and intrinsic attributes and contributions. Certainly many young black people commenting on this site have made it clear that they saw his depiction of ‘black strengths’ and ‘black capabilities’ as the most valuable part of the story.

      The difference is that my racist statement was at least true. White folks skin does sunburn easy. Mr Phipps’ racist implication that pentatonic music was specific and exclusive to the black community in Africa is simply and grossly false.

      I was not offended at all by Mr Phipps’ many references to race and his drawing images of certain types of contributions being from one racial group. It is racist talk, but so what? I was caught up in the emotion of it all and didn’t think rationally about his story until I accidentally discovered that much of it was, lets say, deceptive.

      I searched for pentatonic and found that is not a ‘black musical form’, it was not ‘stolen by other groups from the black African slaves’, and it isn’t even tied to the ‘black keys’. Without those three misrepresentations, Mr Phipps had no lecture at all! All of his main plot features came directly from those false statements, as did his oh-so-effective emotional hook! With Mr Phipps being a life-long musician, ‘world renowned’ and all, I took this news hard.

      Starting right then, I made a point of thinking very critically and rationally… same as I always do when I realize I have been taken in by a slick salesman and his emotional strings.

      I would hope you will do the same next time someone bears false witness from the pulpit. Especially if he is really good at manipulating peoples emotions.

      Maybe I am extra sensitive about emotional manipulation because I am so susceptible to it. But then maybe I am extra sensitive about emotional manipulation because I saw my church torn apart, families destroyed, and people’s lives ruined by a dishonest preacher when I was younger.

      Either way I hope my words here have left more good than harm as they passed. If not, I apologize in advance. Jim C

  238. What a magnificent voice to sing such a powerful spiritual!!
    I have always cried when this song has been sung, but now…knowing the history…I will probably be a basket case! How appropriate that this “black notes” song has been so often used at funerals…it was a funeral for so many of those slaves that were stuffed into the bellies of those massive ships! A new meaning has been added to this moving musical tribute to those that were so wrongfully treated, it will maje my heart cry every time I hear it!
    AMEN to the struggles and Hallelujah to the tomorrows!!

  239. What a joy and blessing to hear and see this wnderful video. God bless Mr. Phipps. I thank God for vessels of honor like him. I’ve never heard any worship song with such power and grace. I know Amazing Grace well, and I know the story about John Newton, but tonight, I felt in my spirit a new awakening. God bless Mr. Phipps and his family and ministry.

  240. From the soul. Bless this man, his family, and his project for blessing so many of us with this incredible video. My eyes swelled with tears, my heart filled with joy. AMEN and AMEN.

  241. This is most inspiring and enjoyable. I feel as if I have been to a revival service. Thanks for the refreshing moment.

  242. what a beautiful story and so gloriusly touched my heart profoundly….his singing is so heartfelt and deep…..i will never feel the same for my favorite hymn……God Bless and keep you, one and all. i feel such peace within me now.

  243. How moving Whitney Phipp’s performances are! He truly is a gifted performer.
    Listening to this black notes video brought tears. Not sure if they were of joy or sadness at the thought of slaves keeping their spirits up and their minds off their tragic circumstances.
    Listening to the music and the story he tells of it’s origin, and then of reading the comments that range all over the map, the message to me is one of unity. It doesn’t matter how the words came to be or how they were united with the wonderful melody, white or black notes, miracle to me is that they were united at all and that this unity inspires and moves so many diverse people to read, listen and think.
    This song seems to touch each of us in an individual way based on our own histories which are so different and yet in many ways so alike.
    Thanks to all who were connected in bringing this about.

  244. What the devil had meant for evil, our God uses for His glory. True. Not only that, but this truth was meant for us to follow…..when we look right at our feet and follow where He leads us, we see that the path leads to His Glory and our completeness. Usually the focus is concentrated on the slave experience and the horrible truth of their treatment….Jesus saw them thru and their strength is in their faith. But what of the children of the slaveowners? Those of us who know that our forefathers had blood on their hands feel such shame? He is a lamp unto our feet. The cross is our only redemption. Jesus has only children….no grandchildren. We stand before the throne alone.
    This song is the truth….thru the black notes comes the embrace…the child of the slaveowner embraces the sin, with no denial, and together…black and white we trancend. Praise God.

  245. I grew up in a little town in northern Georgia it’s called Ceadartown. When i was growing up there my grandamother would talk about how when she picked cotton as a little girl for money for the family to start a paper milling business. She said there would be hundreds of blacks humming “Amazing Grace” to each other throughout out different fields. My grandma told me my grandfather played the negro spiritual on Blacks keys only…… in churches across town. You know my grandmother never knew her actual last name or her birthday…..she chosed November 26…..she died in 1990

    When we had the autopsy to help determine age with DNA assistance she was between 88-105
    I am 30 years old now and I let my son when im teaching him how toplay the piano that every single negro spiritual can be played on the black keys only…..

    It’s amazing how i never had proof …..I told my music teacher and played “amazing grace” for a grade in class and she was dumbfounded…..

    SO to all be encourage,,,,,and God Blessed…..

  246. very interesting, and beautiful music.

    however, all of those songs can be played on all white keys in the key of C. so somewhat inaccurate.

  247. Anything can be re-routed to suit the situation the story teller wants. All that, can be played in another note which proves nothing about black keys and black people. For intance you could play all that in the note of “C” on the white keys. That person is a good story teller or people are misled too easily.


  249. I was a music major (piano) for my B.A. degree, and I remember taking a class on non-Western music, and learning how many cultures used the pentatonic scale, including native Americans. But I don’t recall learning that the slave spirituals could all be played on the black notes. To those who argue that it is no big deal because you can play the same tune in another key using white notes, I say, they have missed the point entirely–the fact that these wonderful melodies CAN be played on only the black keys is in itself amazing. This video is a “keeper” for me and I will be forwarding it to many folks. I don’t know where this presentation was and I know nothing about the presenter, but he has a truly magnificent voice, and moved me greatly with the way he tied together so many highly possible if not actual people and events to come to the conclusion that he did. Whether or not the facts are absolutely correct does not matter to me. In this world it is far too difficult to keep cultures and histories from intertwining, and it is somewhat vain to think that mere research into what happened to be put down on paper somewhere will tell you the whole story–and it will NEVER express the entire meaning or experience of this song as it has affected generations of people of ALL races and cultures. This song is almost universally recognized and that in itself is a wonder. I will never be able to hear or sing this song again without thinking of this video and the message behind its powerful delivery.

  250. thank you so much for sharing this powerful song with me because its gods amazing grace that brought me this far and i know its by gods grace that will lead me on thats a beautiful song and mr whitley voice was just perfect for the whole song it brought tears to my eyes may god bless the writer and publisher very powerful

  251. To David and Sean (see August 19 & 18 above) and people who agree with their comments … you can play ANY song in a variety of keys and still have the SAME song; you can change the tempo of ANY song and have a completely different tune/song. You can change the lyrics of ANY song and come up with a totally different song. So … what’s your point? Are you suggesting that a good storyteller can take an idea, or theory, and convince simple-minded people to believe a lie? Nothing new there. I give you, for example (just in the last two centuries or so) the “story-tellers” – Charles Darwin, Adolph Hitler, Karl Marx, Bertrand Russell, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Margaret Sanger, Bill Clinton, etc., etc., etc., ad naseum. Sure, the presenter in this video may have done research or sought out information that simply added credence to his story … but that’s what journalists, cultural commentators, media gurus, and university professors do, too. I can understand your frustration – if in fact I’ve pegged your frustration – that this black man had an agenda that you oppose, or you have trouble buying. Just don’t assume that he’s presenting an idea (or story) that only simple minded, and therefore “easily misled” people, can by into. And don’t brand something “inaccurate” unless you can produce evidence that supports your accusation. It frustrates me to no end when people try to get away with branding all Christians as dull, easily led, and/or ignorant. Not so. The greatest universities in the world were founded by “Christ-followers” (Harvard, Yale, Princeton – just to name three among scores). Who knows … maybe when those 17th and 18th century clergymen where worshipping God in the privacy of their homes they may have – may have – sat down at a harpsichord and played just the black notes … and been moved to tears. Think about it.

  252. How Beautiful!! I would love to hear Phipps do a duo with Chris Tomlin and the chorus of My chains are gone that Tomlin recorded…this brings even greater meaning to that chorus…truly all our chains can be gone. Thanks for the blessing!!

  253. I sure do love this mans voice I am so taken in by the way he pernounces every word. That is something you don’t hear much when hearing a person singing. I love it… God bless HIm… Amen!!

  254. My prayers and admiration go out for Mr. Whitley Phipps and his ministry with the U. S. Dream Academy. It is so good to see someone sharing their heart and gifts to care for children who are very often overlooked and forgotten. I also applaud him for sharing the inspiring information on “The Black Notes”.
    What an awesome rendition of “Amazing Grace”!!

  255. As my Brothers and Sisters in the UK say:

    “Splendid Bro. Cockrell – Simply Splendid”

    Slavory was hideous, But our, Lord is perfect. For He said through: Romans 8:28

    And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

    Once Again, Splendid!

  256. the best rendition of the best christian song i have ever heard, listening to him sing it, gave me goosebumps as if i am right there with him and HIM !!!!

  257. This man has an ability to capture an audience and has a wonderful music ability. I love to hear him sing. What a voice he has and he can sing. I have this DVD of this it is one Bill Gaither’s homecoming God Bless America and love to just forward it to his part on the DVD and let others hear him. I have never heard anything like him. I love this man in Jesus Name. What story he has to tell.

  258. Having lived in Africa, I know that in some parts they actually do only have a 5 tone scale. You can get a “balafon”, an African version of the xylophone, from Burkina Faso, with gourds to determine the tone, and it only has 5 tones in the scale, which matches pretty much to this.

  259. This was great as was some of the other ones I
    listened to. We need more people in this world
    that watch these video instead of some of the ones
    they do watch.

    This is one of the greatest songs we have, everyone
    should be able to relate to these words.

  260. Wintley Phipps takes command of an audience with his voice alone. But his gracious presentation of how a negro slave inspired the white captain of a slave ship brings to life the moment it happened.
    Thank you, Mr. Phipps, for helping us experience the inspiration felt that day despite the circumstances.
    “Just the black keys” was an experience I wish to share with all those who hold dear their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, whose darkest day on earth washed away our sins and whose resurrection is our hope for all eternity.

  261. This is a beautiful video of showing how Amazing Grace means so much to us in the Black community . This has always been a favorite of mine when my Mother passed this song was played and it made my heart happy to know that god had taken her to his place to be with him, and each time this is played I remember all the fun memories we had together , that I am now passing on to my children.

  262. I have chills from this presentation of GOD’S “Amazing Grace.” I believe, also, that GOD wanted this melody to be immortalized with those specific words. It is also amazing that the lyricist was the “Captain of a ship” and that he chose the melody of West African people to touch our hearts so many years later. These were the forgotten ones in history; the ones whose blood cried out for someone to avenge their awful deaths. And what did GOD do? HE chose someone who had been an oppressor to sing to us, the descendents of those who endured the Middle Passage. I have been to West Africa and walked in the villages, visited the Slave Castles and been a part of their worship services. I found myself overwhelmed with emotions that I know were hundreds of years old. Thanks for singing from the Soul for those souls.

  263. This was so amazing. My sister sent this to me this morning as I was sitting at my desk at work. I had to keep myself from shouting all around my desk. This has always been one of my favorite hymns and have sung it many times. This song has always touched me deeply spiritually but now with this history it has a even broader meaning. Thank you Mr. Phipps for sharing that history and such a wonderful rendition of my most loved hymn.

  264. Whintley Phipps would give God all the glory for the wonderful talent he has. I especially like his performance of Amazing Grace. It is from his heart and you can tell by just listening. I had heard about the Spirituals on the black keys before, but I liked the reminder. I play the Organ and play at furnerals and the most requested piece is Amazing Grace which I love to play. May God continue to bless Whintley Phipss in his Ministry.


  266. WOW, The most AMAZING VIDEO AND VOICE I HAVE EVER HEARD! The history was an added bonus. Amazing Grace is my favorite song and the way I just heard it sung in this video is just undescribable. God Bless Mr Phipps and the gift that God gave him to bless others with such an Amazing voice.

  267. Well the five ‘black’ notes form the pentatonic scale- that in fact is the basis for practically all popular music, not just gospel. In fact all jazz, blues, rock and pop music is based on the pentatonic scale. It is the first scale you learn when you learn to play Jazz. It is based on the early Greek scales (3000 years ago) and simply has to do with the fact that these fives notes are the major tonics of a scale 1-2-3-5-6. The fourth note is not played because it is a dissonant note (in fact often called a ‘chromatic’ note, or ‘colored’ note). So it’s no surprise that simplistic popular music, especially tribal music, would only use the pentatonics. That most of our music today is again based on tribal and simplistic melodies speaks perhaps more to our mindset than some would like to admit.

    btw: the early clavichord, organ and piano makers of the Renaissance placed the five black keys the way they did because of our five fingers- not because of black spirituals.

  268. Given the fact that we all come from ONE source, I doesn’t surprise me that almost every culture has a pentatonic scale. Does it really matter who wrote the music to the words, or whether you can play it on black keys or white keys, or if it’s English or Scottish or Celtic or Irish? The only thing that matters is that the words were written and they mean something to anyone who hears the song. Please don’t pick apart everything or nitpick about the things that are not important.

  269. PRAISE TO THE LORD! This video has made me feel a great joy into my heart. I wish our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can pour out rich and abundant blessings on Mr. Phipps and his family. God bless you.

  270. I agree with Debbie Coleman. The Song was written and the words mean something. Every time i hear the song i stop and listen to it no matter who is singing it. Or how they are singing it. We all come from the same creator.

  271. WOW!!!! I received this URL from my cousin and I could not wait another minute to hear what he had sent. Never dreamed I would received such a wonderful blessing as I am winding down from my evening at work on a mental health unit. If only the whole world could hear this extra ordinary man’s witness for our God and believe. What a profound message of love and unity he brings. He is a true spokesman for God. Thank you and thank God for giving us this message of hope, grace, love and bond. My plan now is to go to bed and get a good night’s rest then get up in the morning to try my best to share God’s love and this man’s message with the world around me. I have been inspired this night.

  272. This has been a great and emotional week with history being made through the DNC, 40th anniversary of Dr. King’s Speech, and The first African American, Mr. Obama, accepting the Democratic nomination for President…WOW…..How great is God? I know the answer -do you? This video is a wonderful closing for my evening. From the slave ships to the possibility of a Black man in the White house-yes It’s time for a change. And this change is reality that I never thought I would witness with my almost 85 yr old Mother. The video may be a little old-but it is right on time. God’s grace is truly amazing……Be blessed with the love of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Christ.

  273. Lord have mercy….on us all. What a blessing to hear this testimony…..and the message of the music…. such a classic reminder of His Grace to Us.

    Our brotherhood in Christ ….. is beyond our own understandings.

    And yet….. surely goodness and mercy…..shall follow us all the days of our lives…..and we will dwell in the House of the Lord forever. Bless the Name of the Lord. Amen.

  274. Absolutely Marvellous rendition. One can only sit back and enjoy the melody with their eyes welled up with tears.
    The awe-inspiring words and the rich history just add to the already powerful hymn. Enjoyed it thoroughly here in NZ.

  275. How anyone could watch this video and still question the existance of GOD, is beyond me. The Historical Facts, the conversion of John Newton, The changed life. Music ushers us into His presence for Worship!!

    Ummm, maybe they could not. Pass this on!!

  276. This was informing,entertaining but most importantly spirtually awakening. It’s amazing to me that John Newton recieved attention for writing the words when it’s the melody that we all recgonize yet we do not know from which tribe this heart beating melody derived. I agree with Mr. Qualls and it’s also interesting that we debate the tones orgination in 2008 when we are so near to the end. Jesus is soon to come and receive those that have received Him as their Lord and Savior and have repented of their sins and you can agree or not but the most fabulous part about receiving salvation is that you can receive the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues and He will guide you into all truths. Let’s not debate about BLACK and WHITE keys, for they all work together in perfect harmony but let’s agree that the (RED) blood of Jesus that He shed for us all makes us perfect. Have a Jesus filled Holy Ghost day.
    Vote, Vote, Vote, Vote, Vote, Vote, Vote, Vote, Vote.
    Yes, We Can Change. . .


  278. Absolutely Beautiful!!! I couldn’t attend church today, but someone sent me this, and GLORY, now I feel like I have been in church worshipping with the angels.
    What a beautiful voice, a beautiful person and a beautiful messenger of the Lord!!

  279. How appropriate that this song, written by the captain of a slave ship after he found salvation should be penned to a slave melody. A song that has touched so many, and is sung all over the world. A forever reminder that whatever circumstance you come out of God can use it to His glory, be you the slave or the slave ship captain.

  280. This website is on my Archives and I’ve listened to
    it SO MANY times. Wintley Phipps has the most
    beautiful voice and message~!~! Although I took
    piano lessons for many years, this was my first
    exposure to the information about “Black Notes Only”
    I was also impressed to NEGRO as the designation
    of “black folks” and was impressed by that too. It
    sounds so much more descriptive and sophisticated
    than the term, “African-American”.

  281. I cannot believe this has been circulating for a year, and I am just receiving it. I truly learned a lesson today about Black History. I absolutely love that song, and love the way he sung it. Truly beautiful. It made my day, I will pass it on, and save it to listen to it on a down day.

  282. It really was “AMAZING” God’s grace is amazing. This man allowed God to use him as a vessel to touch someone who was lost, hurt, or just plain going through. These are trying times and this video has been an inspiration to many.

    To those who feel that they know the real history of this song, you don’t. Only God knows all. God bless all of my true brothers and sisters in Christ who see ultimately what this video really is about and that is to glorify God and his Amazing Grace towards us.

  283. Would the effect have been the same if this piece were done by a white man, a hispanic, oriental, or middle eastern man? Not just the song but the message. This is the only way to becoming one under God, yet we continually separate ourselves by “labels”.

  284. I AM A SINGER.

  285. Joanie,
    Thank you so very much for sharing this narrative with me. YES HIS Grace is AMAZING!!! As I think back on the movie AMESTAD I recall the pain and suffering the slaves endured in the pit on the lowest level of the ship. Yes John Newton treated the slaves worst than one would treat an animal. HOW AMAZING our God is that he not only saved a Wretch but opened his heart and eyes to the suffering and pain he inflicted upon God’s creatures. HOW AMAZING

  286. This email was sent to me by a friend and i am glad that i did not erase it. I did not know about the black notes, that was very interesting, but when i heard Wintley Phipps sing Amazing Grace, i was moved to tears. I am a 48 year old man and the feelings that came over me i don’t know if i could put it intro words. It started from the bottom of my feet and moved too the top of my head. It felt as though GOD was actually lifting me up.It felt like i was in the belly of the ship, hearing the waves crashing and the moans of the slaves. I will cherish this moment forever.I have too find Wintley’s cd. For as long as i have a comp. i will have this blog.Brother’s in Christ.<

  287. If you ever have an opportunity, go out and buy/rent AMAZING GRACE the movie. The words were penned by a white slave ship captain who for 25 years brought slaves to Jamaica and Canada. Canada was owned by the British and used slaves to make sugar. During one of his slave runs, there was a violent storm and all hope of surviving was lost. It was then that the ship captain asked GOD to spare his life and in return he would stop running slaves and repent by giving his life over to GOD. The movie is AMAZING!

  288. My sister sent this to me..Oh how AMAZING IS OUR LORD’S GRACE..Thank you Father !!! All i could do is lift my hands to the Lord and thank Him while hearing the song and weeping,,,,,,for His Amazing Grace..

  289. Joseph said,
    Well the five ‘black’ notes form the pentatonic scale- that in fact is the basis for practically all popular music, not just gospel. In fact all jazz, blues, rock and pop music is based on the pentatonic scale.

    btw: the early clavichord, organ and piano makers of the Renaissance placed the five black keys the way they did because of our five fingers- not because of black spirituals.

    WOW!!! Totally missed the point……

  290. You know I read through some of the replies, and it amazes me on how humans understand history. I am not going to really say what is on my mind because my mom sent this to me and she probably would read and get mad LOL love you mom.

    I believe in some cases black people cant get recognized for the smallest thing with out it being questioned by others.

    You get remarks like ” piano makers of the Renaissance placed the five black keys the way they did because of our five fingers- not because of black spirituals.” ;

    “Would the effect have been the same if this piece were done by a white man”

    and so on and so on.. You can read them for yourself, but people just need to accept history and let it be.

    The Song is beautiful the words bring the melody to life.

    this is all I am going to say .. I dont really want to spark a debate, but the people who make weird comments check and see if your blood line has ever been through captivity or some thing as bad a slavery or the Holocaust .
    If so, I cant understand your ideas or interpretations of the subject matter. If Not.. Go somewhere and sit down!!!


  291. Amazing Grace, Amazing God, Amazing Song, Amazing Singer, Amazing Truth, Amazing Rendition, Amazing History …. except, amazingly the history was inaccurate. Simply not true. As a pianist, I loved this rendition, but as a student of history I was troubled by the non-truthful embellishments.

    Because this is my favorite song, years ago I visited John Newton’s gravesite in Olney, England, and made a charcoal “rubbing” imprint of these words from his tombstone: [This epitaph was written by John Newton himself.]

    “JOHN NEWTON, Clerk
    Once an infidel and libertine A servant of slaves in Africa,
    Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST,
    restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the Gospel
    which he had long laboured to destroy.”

    The words of the song are amazing, because Newton himself, for a time, became a slave of a black woman as well as a slave of a slave-trader. But to connect the music to the slave ships where Newton was both a slave and a slave-trader, although beautiful and moving, is simply non-factual. Why must we embellish truth in order to make it more emotional? Some of his statements were both musically inaccurate as well as historically bogus.

    I had the rare privilege of quoting these words from Newton’s pulpit in Olney, the pulpit from which they were first sung to a melody still unknown. But I will never quote them, nor sing them, nor play this melody again without thinking of this beautiful but historically inaccurate rendition. Thank you for an amazing presentation, even though the history lesson is not history. It’s a clever fable.

    As Beverly Babcock observed, “instead of singing it in the key of G-flat Major, which would have put his notes on the black keys, he sang it [initially] in E Major.” To a musician, that is disappointing since the very point about the “black keys” gets violated. But to a Christian, the music was inspiring.

    Calvin Pitts

  292. I’m speechless at this moment. Amen! Praise The LORD! Halelujiah!

    Amazing Grace! That which gives me the knowing I’ll be with my Savior in Glory!

    What a beautiful message.
    To God be ALL the Glory!

    Dear Lord,
    I thank You for giving me this message, this blessing as I start my day! You are always so Good and Quick to send me a blessing. I will use this blessing to glorify You and reach other people with this wonderful piece!

    I thank You my Father for saving me when i was lost. Not only that but You never left me.
    For if not for Your Amazing Grace, this wretch wouln’t be saved!

    I Love You LORD!

    Kimberly Christensen

  293. This brought tears to my eyes. This is powerful. This is moving. And yes… this is absolutely amazing! How extraordinary! What a mighty God we serve!

  294. What a beautiful way to lift the spirit. Not only do I have a great sense of the great work you are doing for the children of prisoners, but I am so impressed with the way you sang this beautiful song. I have played it several times, because at this point in time I am having many challenges and struggles, but nothing compared to what the American slaves or prisoners endure…so this is such an uplifting musical video that I even starting singing along with Witney…soon I hope when my health has improved, I too, will be able to sing in Church and hopefully with the same kind of passion that Witney displayed in this music. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this beautiful rendition.


  295. Wow! I am very touched! I am soooo amazed at His grace in our deliverance from the slavery of sin. I to, want to meet this Newton and his friend Wilberforce. Praise God.

  296. I am breathless having experienced this video. I sent it to everyone on my email list. How God must yearn for all of us to return to Him. Now is the time of Divine Mercy; now is the time to repent and believe in the Gospel. Now is the hour of salvation.

    Love to all,


  297. Grace Ellis, on October 3,2008 at 10:48 am Said:

    My name is Grace and when I introduce myself to any one I often would tell them to remember me – just remember Amazing Grace. I am so happy to have heard my favourite song on the black keys. I thank God for the writer John Newton. I Love the Lord with all my being and hope to be with him someday. I totally enjoyed this video keep up the good work.

  298. Praise God! Praise God ! What a beatiful way to speak to the hearts of people. I was truly blessed and will continue to pray that the hearts of many will be changed through his messengers. What a message this was. Lord give us ears to hear and eyes to see. Amen

  299. This was one of the most beautiful renditions of Amazing Grace. I plan to share it with others. I believe that this could be used as a witnessing tool. Thank God for men like Whitely Phipps who choose to use their gifts for the KING OF KINGS!!! I appreciate the history lesson as well.

  300. I held back tears as a grown man listening to the song and the words he was saying. It’s a life changer and I’m going to do just that!Life is short, and I’m going to do better.!

  301. AMEN!!! All to often in todays culture people loose sight of the fact that God’s Amazing Grace is truly what unites us all, regardless of age, shape, or color. One day we will ALL stand in the presence of an almighty God and love one another, because it is God who FIRST loved us. May peace, Hope, and Joy be replaced in the hearts of all who have deep rooted seeds of hate and bitterness, and May God bless all who hear this message.


  302. As I deleted old emails this morning from back as early as January 2007, some I simply deleted without even reopening them if the title had no significance.
    A few I was simply curious about if I didn’t remember them and therefore opened to read.
    To my amazement, I had never even opened to read Mr Wintley Phipps email, sent to me at the start of 2007 by a fellow employee from twenty years ago. We are both retired now.
    It’s been a long, long time since anything held my attention like this video. I have always been aware of John Newton’s revelation of good vs evil in his song. Reading all of the wonderful and positive comments from all of the sweet and loving people is what brought me to flowing tears that wouldn’t stop. Mr Phipps’ voice reminds me of Paul Robeson’s base barritone.
    The Black Keys is a revelation to me as it is to others.
    Thank God I didn’t delete this wonderful video and I thank Leon C. for sending it so long ago. I will send this video to all in my email address list.

  303. I don’t know why it took so long for somebody to send this E-mail to me!! Long ago I would sit outside a black christian church in my car and listen to the congregation sing. What a beautiful sound!!! Years later, in Nebraska, our church congregation (primarily white) would have a singing get-together with a black congregation once a month. We would alternate the location every other month at each other’s building. This presentation is a beautiful piece and brought a shudder to my soul. How moving to hear the history of this wonderful and meaningful song. Praise God..

  304. Our God is THE awesome and THE one true GOD. Only He could have changed the hearts of so many that hated us for no reason, but the color of our skin.
    I thank God that he has instilled forgiveness in us and chose us to show the world that it matters not who or what we are or have been…………… He loves and cares for us in spite or ourselves.


  306. A truely beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace” a truely beautiful spiritual, but let us not forget that the slaves that were captured in Africa, were captured and enslaved, and sold by their own people, stronger black tribes and rivals, for greed. Then sold to the Spaniards, who in turn brought the slaves to America, to feed the need for Spanish greed !

  307. This is an unforgettable rendition of a song that is the spiritual hymn of every race. It is so moving that I still have tears streaming down my face. How fitting for us in America to hear this song during such an historic time in our lives…. A Black man is running for the highest office in this land . It is so AMAZING and only by the GRACE of GOD have we come this far. This particular rendition will remain in my mind, close to my heart. For those who are reluctant to vote for a Black man, it should be remembered that our lives are so interwoven, so interdependent, that we should be able to overcome all prejudices, bias and hatred. We are all so blessed by God! To Whitney Phipps I say, God Bless You for this moving and soul stirring rendition of a song that transcends age, race and origins.

  308. I was left on the streets at age 7, lived for the devil
    56 years, addicted to everything and dieing and as, I
    reached for a gun to take my own life, an Angel of the
    Lord appeared, healed me, set me upright, gave me a ministry on the streets and I am to reach the world
    with my testimony.Ordained in 2006, speak in any
    church, praise and worship Jesus Christ everyday I
    breathe.Free testimony by request.Bless you sir.
    Sincerely, a loving brother in Christ,
    Rev. Don Haynes

  309. My sister just passed away and Amazing Grace was sung at her funeral. This touched my heart the same way it did on that day. Black or White, rich or poor, the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior.

  310. I listened to this on Nov 4 when Sentor Obama won the election…I remembered when I was living down south in 1960 and was looking for a water fountain that “coloreds” could drink from…I am so proud and thankful to witness this event….God Bless

  311. Got a new version of Amazing Grace Music

    don’t Know yet if I can play it only on the sharps/flats on the piano or how important it is that it be so.
    God is no respecter of persons and loves me and my people just as much as he loves ex-slaves:
    To tell you the truth at best we are all ex-slaves!!!

    Chau Maranatha!


  313. Outstanding rendition and history lesson. I had been recently reading many blogs regarding the controversy over Prop 8 in California. The weight of the magnitude of the numbers of people in our society that are lost hit me like a ton of bricks. Reading the comments above helps me realize that it is the prayers of the saints thru the GRACE of our Saviour Jesus Christ that sustains our country. It will only be thru our prayers, the spread of the Gospel and His Amazing Grace that our laws reflect His Will.

  314. Praise The Name Of The Lord forever more for His Amazing Grace. His name and His word will live forever. Thank You Jesus!!

  315. Wow. It seems rather ironic that just the other day a couple friends and I were discussing how this song is such a great song to sing and play with a “bluesy” feel to it, and now I know why. In fact, you can even hear the singer slide on to the flat-five note, also called the “blue” note, a couple times during the hummed intro. I’ve been a musician for more than 30 years, studied music theory and history in college and have played this song numerous times with a bluesy feel and sound to it. But I never really went in and analyzed the song to learn why I always wanted to turn this straight-ahead melody and rhythm into a moderately swinging blues tune. Now it all makes sense (how simple it is), and I also understand why it is so easy to get “lost” in the Spirit when playing this song due to its foundation. Thanks for sharing this video – it made my lip quiver watching and hearing it.

    And as a side note to Mr. Somma’s comment above, we still are slaves – no longer slaves to sin, but slaves unto righteousness (Romans 6:18). Praise God for that!

  316. I just enjoy the song— the reason it was written and Praise the LORD — that black or white we are all sisters & brothers in the LORD And I’m looking UP for the Glorius appearing of out LORD and Saviour —

  317. Surviving the largest casualty at sea in the history of the US Navy, the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, together with surviving 4-1/2 days swimming with the sharks causes one to look Heavenward and sing “Amazing Grace.”
    In my book “Out of the Depths” I express His Grace and Providence that saw me through that experience and has been my comfort and guide on through life.
    Thanks for the reminder.
    Ed Harrell USMC
    Survivor USS Indianapolis

  318. I have played this many many times. I am spell bound by Mr. Phipps in the way he can get so serious but also deliver his message in a way that he is not angry at our generation. He hits a very even balance in his deliverence. As I was about to post I noticed that Mr. Harrell had just posted. I dont know him but he talked about his experience on a Navy ship and how Amazing grace help get him through that experience. My first boss in the Navy , Commander Bill Ormsbee also was on that ship and told me of his experience. At the time I could not comprehend what he had been through. I think God had me post after Mr. Harrell for a reason.

  319. Thanks to all who researched the historical facts. This performance was very moving, but like so much of religion, the “stories” become facts in many minds. To those who think the facts don’t matter, please don’t condemn those of us who just want the “story” to be accurate. If it’s true…tell it. If it’s not, don’t make it up.

  320. We need Amazing Grace in this world of ours today. If you can fell the pain and the suffering during the period of slavery in this Song, close your eyes and open your ears… Listen to the pain and suffering of today in this same world. Let us All sing in prayer for Amazing Grace, here in this country first, and all around the world. We can all come together and pray and ask our Lord for Amazing Grace for us and the world. I Know HE will give it in an instant and LEad us Home. What a beautiful world it would be!!

  321. I first heard this wonderful performance of “Amazing Grace”, by Wintley Phipps on the Bill Gaither video, “GOD BLESS AMERICA” (their web address is

    Thanks so much to my good friend & fellow piano-teacher for sending it! — it’s even more moving when heard in context with the whole video!

  322. Today, is the Sunday before the inaguration of our first African American president, Barack Obama, and I pray all in this country take heed to Wintley Phipps words, when he says, We’re Connected………

    I pray this country comes together and stop the suffering of many.

    Thank you for the video and thank you for the message.

  323. It took me 2 hours to down load on dial up, but worth every minute !
    I can not hear this song, or even a tune of it, without crying all the way through it. I knew by the title, I might end up crying, & yep, I was right. I’m sure many races can relate to this song.
    Thank you for sharing & I will pass forward.

    God bless Everyone !

  324. No matter what the faith or creed you believe, I challenge anyone not to be touched in your soul by the words and melody of that song . All the best to all of you.

  325. Although I have heard the melody so many times before I must admit that I did not know its origins. Thank you Peter for enlightening me. I am deeply touched by your sincerity and humilty.
    God Bless You.

  326. this was and is truley amazing
    my grandmother who was indian use to sing amazig grace just like this
    starting out with the hum first
    thank you
    i never knew this or thought of this in all my life and i have a uncle and a deceased grandfather who where preachers
    and in west va they still sing amazing grace jst like this in my uncles church

  327. tku C.B. for remembering me.
    tku Peter for not holding onto what you freely received.
    tku Wintley for making your vessel available to the
    Lord Jesus so that the Holy Spirit can glorify the Father
    thereby and deliver the manifest message in song of RECONCILIATION, which is the Father’s Heart -Jesus
    paid for this in full with His whole Person – Spirit, Soul,
    and Body. Father’s Heart – reconciliation of mankind to
    God AND reconciliation of man to man(this includes
    the woman for she came out of the man-yes?)
    right here in this place may the ‘ears of ALL creation
    MOVES upon what you have received FREELY and
    is now being RELEASED to the FATHER for HIS GLORY forever! May Heaven and Earth shake with
    the sound of the Message and hearts of men, women
    and children be changed, ‘be made willing in this the
    day of His POWER’. ‘O that men would Praise the Lord
    for His Goodness and His Love’, ‘What a day this will
    will be when our Jesus we see, when we look upon
    His face the one who saved US by His GRACE, when
    He takes us by His Hand and LEADS US into the
    Promised Land, what a day, what a day, this will be!
    People of God, people of His making are you ready
    to receive your King? His coming is in Power and
    Great Glory ! His Spirit is here and is moving just
    reach out your hand in acknowledgement of your
    need of His help and He WILL take it , flow thru you,
    wash you, cleanse you, heal you, deliver you, remove
    the shackles set your feet a dancing ,fill your heart
    with new songs – you heard the’ hmmm’ before the
    words could come? – thats the Holy Ghost! thats just
    how He moves on the inside of us. Its all about Him.
    He knows what pleases the Father and no one can
    DO it like HE can so will you make yourself available
    TODAY right NOW ? right where you are? just like
    Wintley did ao that H. S. can ‘GLORIFY’ PAPA in and
    thru your vessel too. The GLORY is God’s and God’s
    alone. HALLEL to U JAH, Highest Praise to U JAH

    Yes we are one by the Spirit of Truth thru the Blood
    of Jesus. Father says Worship in Sprit and TRUTH
    there is no other WAY but TRUTH that will bring LIFE

    I love you all. the best is yet to come!

  328. camille, peter, wintley,
    thank you, thank you , thank you
    on my knees all day demolished
    thank you Holy Spirit, thank you Jesus, thank you Father, you have perfect timing and in the time
    appointed you sent forth your Son, born of a woman,
    born under the law, to REDEEM those under the law of
    sin and death and release them by the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus into newness of Life
    forevermore! O the L O V E that comes to us thru
    your G R A C E by F A I T H ,we believe and its
    sealed in B L O O D – truly A M A Z I N G ! please
    please give us more, more much much more, and
    we too will open our mouths so you can fill them
    with sounds from deep within our bellies that will
    shake the Earth and Heavens and effect change
    for your Kingdom sake. ‘How marvelous, how
    wonderful, is my Saviour’s Love for me!’ and then
    we respond ‘How Great is our God’ sing with me
    ‘How Great is our God and you will see, How Great
    how Great is our God.! Name above all Names,
    Worthy of all praise, our hearts will sing How Great,
    is our God!
    in this hour we speak GRACE, GRACE to the BODY
    of CHRIST, SPIRIT of GRACE and TRUTH , and
    we end up crowning JESUS, King of Kings and
    Lord of ALL. Hallel U Jah and thank you again.

  329. My God! I was ever so moved after hearing the message and the history of the “Black Notes”. I would love to bring him to the Quincy, Massachusetts area.

    Be encouraged and continue to Spread the “Good News”.

  330. Becca on June 13th wants to find a rendition on-line that closely resembles an “original” version of Amazing Grace. There are a few clips with Shape Note singers performing the song, and one on YouTube is at

    But it is not just of this song, and it is very short. I have sung is a few shape-note meetings, and I can attest that there is scarcely a more powerful manner of singing these hymns, or of hearing them.
    For those who are following the historical discussion, do not lose track of the true message, that this song (for all its history, however it occurred) has continued to move people and provide inspiration and solace. This will be true no matter if Newton’s words were married to the melody before or after his death; whether or not someone recognizes that Virginia Harmony is a hymnal, not an interpretation nor a region ; whether the verses grow, adapt and weave through our traditions in a true folk-music process. This song, this spirit, this evocation of the soul, has an impact on humans that transcends the capabilities of a long-gone sea captain. If it sometimes is a springboard for fuzzy history, this does not remove its power as a song of the spirit. Sometimes the truth is more important than the facts.

  331. The power of that melody is so spiritual it will last forever. When I play it on the violin the only difference is there are no black or white notes, just notes. I wish people would realize that the color of the notes makes no difference to the spirit.

  332. Amasing Grace! How sweet the sound. Very moving song….touches the soul. Only by His amasing grace have we been saved. I give praise to the Lord for my salvation through His grace.

    Whitley’s message very touching……

  333. Amazing Grace has always been one of my favourite hymns, however, hearing it sung as the Newton may have heard it, moved the very core of my being and brought tears to my eyes. …….The black keys will never let me sing nor hear that song the same again. Thank God for His Amazing Grace!!

  334. So many of us are in need of Gods Anazing Grace in these times..Praise the Lord in everything you do.Thank you for sending this beautiful message. May God bless you today and forever.

  335. I am so glad I watched this, it really made me realize how the piano is symbolic and how you really can play on the black keys alone. Good video!!

  336. What a blessing! I was blessed to have heard Wintley Phipps in person at a Church in Miami Florida and he shared about the black notes and sang Amazing Grace. I was greatly moved then but I am even more moved now because I have journeyed deep into the place of Amazing Grace. I am still journeying and ever so amazed by God’s amazing grace. Can’t live without it and ever blessed to continue receiving it every day of my life. Thank you Ruth for sharing it with me.

  337. I knew John Newton’s story and that you could play Amazing Grace on the black notes. The rest of that I had no idea about. It is just another example of how God works to accomplish His purpose. Absolutely incredible!

  338. Incredible. I recommend to keep a box of tissues around when listening. What an inspiration and what a voice. I have always loved this song anyway and I saw the movie Amazing Grace also brought tears. God comes in with courage in the worst of the worst. He will always reach down and bring good out of bad. My heart still goes out to any who suffer for Christ. Even today in all cutures, especially Europe, middle east, Africa and a dozen more I cnould name, but even here in America people can also pay prices for standing up for the righeousness of God. I myself have lost my daughter and grandaughter who now hate me because of my testimony. It hurt especially since I raised my grandaughter and to watch her mother follow a boyfriend involved in witchcraft and take my grandaughter into it. But I know that God can move mountains and my prayers and seeds that were planted for Jesus will one day reap salvation for them. Praise and worship is such a part of my life. Thank you for this “Black notes”

  339. I hope this link never disappears from the web.

    Newton was a bridge both consciously and probably unconsciously as this Hymn shows. Perhaps a gift with purpose in salvation that was worked out many places in his life.

    The second page of this the thread below gives some history of his bridge work, crossing denominational lines which was unheard of in his time and cost him much. Did you know he founded the Eclectic Society which “ became the model for other para-church societies (including William Wilberforce’s influential Clapham Sect) and agencies (including the great British missionary societies, two of which were birthed out of the Eclectic Society).”


  340. I cry everytime I here this song. This guy was terrific. I also enjoyed the history of Piano notes. Had I known this when I took Piano lessons I think I would have done better and stayed with the lessons.

  341. I am a southern black boy from the sticks of mississippi, this song was my foundation growing up in the sixties and seventies. It brought tears to my eyes then and bring tears to my eyes now.Oh what a beautiful song.Just like the minster say I want to meet that man one day.

  342. While I’ve seen and heard this presentation by Mr. Phipps on multiple occasions over the years, today was the first time that I read listened to its lessons and felt the full force of its Holy Ghost power. Thank you, Jesus!

  343. I am a non believer…this link was sent by one of my students. As a singer, I have many times sung this most beautiful song, most recently at a funeral service for my niece. It certainly is moving and seems to have, as much music does, the ability to move people to unite and transcend the moment. This man’s powerful and sincere rendition is one of the finest I’ve heard.

  344. There are no words that can be said, takes alot to “frazzle” me, I can say i have been properly frazzed………….beautiful!!!

  345. The message was so inspiring to listen to. I keep playing it over and over. I have sent it to all my friends and hope they are as inspired as I was to hear it. I enjoyed hearing the history behind one of my favorite spiritual songs. I wish I could hear more of them. Keep them coming.

  346. This is a wonderful song , it has made my day . no one can sing it better than this man, glory be to God. I can still feel it in my soul, I can see the slaves as they struggled for a better day.

  347. Our God is truly amazing. Over 200 hundred years later we are still feeling the result of a song penned from fear and love. Thank you Lord.

  348. God is so amazing we do donot even understand how far his wonders stretch.Wow 200 hundred yrs ago. We have to keep his spirit alive and live for him. He’s Great always remember that. God is good.

  349. God is GOOD and so is the program Wintley is working. Wintley Phipps, God gave you a real gift, and your work is your gift back to him! The tears just rolled down my face, tears of love and tears of joy, Thank you!

  350. This is so overwhelming. The amazing power of this his voice and the love of Amazing Grace brought tears to my eyes and chilled my body. I am so greatful to be a part of this experience. Thank you for the lesson and keep doing your thing.

  351. Thank you for the powerful history lesson.
    My understanding of the John Newton story is that with his ship full of slaves, he encountered a terrible storm. When he exhausted all hope of surviving the storm, he cried out for God to save him. John Newton survived the storm to ultimately become a preacher who influenced William Wilberforce to abolish slavery.
    God can make sweet lemonade from the sourest of lemons.

  352. Wow, I’m a teenager who has listened to a lot of things, but that was the most powerful. I’ve never gotten the chills from a piece before. I also, learned a lot about my heritage in this short clip. Thank you so much for singing and teaching this material.

  353. This song has always been a blessing to me and hearing it sang by several culture makes it sink deeper in my heart. May all who listen to this song will come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as saviour. Then you can truly under stand what John Newton really mean.

  354. AMEN! Wintley has such a powerful gift from God – so glad to hear him, he touches you so deeply! Praise the Lord!

  355. A friend who’d not seen this before sent it to me. No matter how many times I see it and hear that incredible voice sing, I am moved.

    What he says is historically and enthomusically accurate. Oriental and African music and based on the pentatonic (5-note) scale and not the diatonic (12-note) western music scale. However, we need to remember that it is only the ‘black notes’ because they are black on the piano – it’s coincidental. Neither the scale nor the tune originated on the piano! A pentatonic scale can also be played on the white notes.

    “The Rest of the Story” is that John Newton, who wrote ‘Amazing Grace’ went on to be a minister. And he was the mentor of William Wilberforce, who led the crusade in Parliament to outlaw slavery in the British Empire, LONG before slavery was abolished in the U.S.

    If you have not seen the movie “Amazing Grace” you should. It’s an incredible story.

  356. Well I thought about NOT leaving a reply because I thought “what could I possibly say that has not already been said” But I guess I can just tell you this….I am a 23 year old mother of 3 boys, we are Native american (Cherokee) and I am so happy to know this peice of history to be able to pass on to my children that most schools and teachers will leave out of there lessons. I have always had a FEEL for soul music and always felt that there was alot more soul in the song “Amazing Grace” than a NORMAL white man could come up with. This video touched me deeply and I want to thank whoever posted it and the man who sang it! Now I can pass this onto my children and grandchildren and so on! GOD is SOOO GOOD!

  357. WOW!! I have been inspired…deep down….thank you, friend, for sending this to me. Amen to all the above comments…Thank you to this beautiful voice and beautiful spirited man.

  358. In Christ there is no black, white, brown, yellow, etc. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s requirement of holiness. All can be redeemed through Christ. Sadly, many miss this point. Amazing Grace is not just a beautiful song. It was penned by a man (who happened to be caucasian) who was moved by the the Spirit of Almighty God. The true source of the sentiment in this song is God. Like Felicia I too have Cherokee heritage, but unlike Felicia I understand that no “normal” person (white, black, brown, red, yellow etc) could have written Amazing Grace apart of God’s grace.

  359. Thank you so much for this video, I cried when I heard it. Thank God for his love that I feel from time to time not only from my church, but when I get and e mail like this. God bless America,

  360. I was so very, very blessed by this. Being a Gospel singer I too sing “Amazing Grace” from time to time. But I must say, I will always feel an extra sence of closeness now that I have watched this video. God is constantly giving us a road map to his presence…I praise his name daily bringing me messages such as this one. Thank you ever so much.

  361. This is truly Amazing, this song has been sung at every family’s funeral that I can think of. We as a Christian family love this song.Just this past Sunday morning we sang it in our church and our son inlaw played it on the steel. Even my husband cried. We get so emotional when we hear it. God is good, he also knew who should penn this song. We also added to it ( My chains are gone, I’ve been set free, My God My Savior has ranson me, And like a flood His mercies came, unending Love, Amazing Grace.Thank you so much for letting me share my feelings.



  364. This was truly a ‘holy’ experience.
    I’ve played keyboard my whole life, and have never heard about the black keys being the slave scale.
    This has really opened my heart to a much wider view of music itself – coupled with history.
    Thanks to all who produced this video.
    It’s a true masterpiece.

  365. Better late than never has never been a better way to express a reaction… I just opened this post and watched the video clip… WoW!
    Our Father is absolutely awesome! He weaves together all the details to make His grace and wisdom known to the sons of men.

    Praise His name!!


  366. Amazing, that God could love us, inspite of the way we are ‘so human’. I had heard of Mr. Newton, but not about the black keys of the piano, as part of Negro song and melody. When God’s love is mature in our hearts, who notices the color of any ones skin. Other than what beauitful skin. Thanks for this beauitful message, and song! Have a ‘Wonderful Merry Christmas’ everyone!

  367. Great.Read Dr. David Jeremiah’s book “Amazing Grace”. The book speaks of the journeys in comparison to John Newton and Paul. It is truly “Amazing”. Merry Christmas to all. ?And I was the “wretch mentioned in the song”.
    God Bless.

  368. When my son was just 4 years old, he said,” Mom I don’t like that song, because it makes me sad,” and he would cry and ask me to stop singing it or turn it off. I guest even at an early age he felt a spirtual connection to his people. Now at 21 he listens and reflects and say a prayer.

  369. I beleive that there are many more messages in every song that was song in those days. I often wonder why God allows and I stop and remember, It’s for His Glory to be revealed. We have to always remember God is always in the midst of us in good times and in bad. And He will not let His name go down – for He will turn every situation around for His glory! God is able. This Amazing Grace is truly amazing….I wish everyone could understand the true meaning of Gods love for us all.

  370. The movie of the author’s life was as moving as the song. There is a quartet at my home church which sings, maybe, the white man’s version of freedom from another kind of slavery. It is Amazing Grace sung to the tune of the blues song, House of the Rising Sun. Man finds many ways to enslave but God’s grace can free from each form!

  371. Amazing Grace – Just the Black Keys…..of all the forwarded emails I receive, this one is one I would save to replay again and again if I could. This has been a constant prayer-in-music for me since I was a small child – and I feel blessed to have been included on the email list. Thank you, Helen, and thank you Mr. Phipps.

  372. As a Bagpipe player “Amazing Grace” is the most requested tune I play. Gives it new meaning after watching this vidio.

  373. Amazing indeed! I have wondered for years why when I sit at the piano, I always am more enchanted by the black notes than I am by the white ones. I come from a country where most our songs sound like deep mournfull gut-wrenching dirges. Later in life, I connected this with my ancestors’ black African slaves roots. The light just went on!

  374. The most moving of stories about ‘the sound’…and we so do need it to be sung again and again in tgis greatness we have heard it. Slavery in every form is rampant in forms previously unknown:greed,hatred,prejudice in race and religion runs rampant…..and so we need to be poured over by Amazing Grace to save us.What a wonderful presentation in so such short a time. That’s a real gift I received today…..dan

  375. We are all one race…. the human race with a variety of colors.
    What an inspiration to hear, see and feel the pain of slavery and now the freedom through Grace.
    Praise the Lord for Freedom. Praise His Holy name

  376. I just recieved this from a friend and was so glad I got it. I just felt goose bumpy all over especially when he sang the song. My husband is teaching a sunday school class called “What’s So Amazing About Grace” by Philip Yancey. I have taken his class twice now and when I listen to the song and sing it; it makes me understand better the words of the song, and now knowing how it truly began is even more enspiring. What a wonderful blessing to have God in our lives.

  377. Glory to God in the highest r saviour Jesus Christ is much alive in r lives r days r protected and r lives r watched by him I lv him sooooooo thank u Jesus this is awesome thanks every one who started sending this video around.

  378. Amazing is His love…He never saw color…He never saw race…He loved us as one people, His.

    I am changed by His love.