Amazing Grace is one of many classic funeral hymns. The song, penned by John Newton, dates back to 1773. As the story goes, Newton wrote the song after he renounced his role as a slave trader, converted to Christianity, and became an abolitionist.
The song became extremely popular in the U.S. during the Second Great Awakening — a religious revival that began around 1790 and lasted until the mid-1800s.
Since then, Amazing Grace has been recorded countless times over several musical styles. The U.S. Library of Congress currently lists that there are more than 3,000 different published recordings of the song. It’s a popular choice at funerals, especially for police, military, and firefighters.
Below is our list of the top versions of this funeral classic.
Top Versions of Amazing Grace
Alan Jackson — Jackson’s version of Amazing Grace embraces a simple and humble approach to the song. And it works. The simplicity of the song lets the listener focus on — and really feel —the raw emotion associated with the lyrics.
Celtic Woman — Celtic Woman’s take on the song is powerful. Performed alongside a chamber orchestra, including traditional bagpipe players, their take leaves us with an unforgettable version of the song.
Andrea Bocelli — This version, sung by the blind Italian opera singer, leaves you with chills. It’s a perfect, classical take on the song.
Elvis Presley — Presley combines the country simplicity of Alan Jackson’s version with a full choir. It leaves us with a simple, yet striking version.
Soweto Gospel Choir — The South African group Soweto Gospel Choir shows us just how beautifully universal the theme and lyrics of Amazing Grace are.
Eisuke Mochizuki & Ayako Ishikawa — The pair’s performance gives us a purely classical take. Performed with just the piano and violin, it’s the perfect blend of simplicity and classical that leaves you feeling inspired.
Rhema Marvanne — Rhema Marvanne gained internet fame when her version of Amazing Grace started appearing on YouTube. While her version of Amazing Grace is impressive, what’s perhaps more impressive is that she recorded it when she was only 7 years old. The young gospel singer says she gets her inspiration from her mother, who passed away from cancer at 36 years old.
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards — It’s the epitome of classic. How could this version of the funeral hymn not make the list?
What are some of your favorite versions of Amazing Grace that we missed? Share with us in the comments below!
Great compilation. I think judy collins 1970 version should be added. It was the inspiriation fir the bags and pipes version in 1972
Nana Mouskouri. Best version I have ever heard.
I like it with bag pipes best.
Best version I have heard is from the legends: The Blind Boys of Alabama. It was on a show called “THE KATE” with Marc Cohn. The goosebumps raised, and the tears fell with joy!
I’ve heard a version sung in the “Sagrada Familia” cathedral on Barcelona in a language I cannot make out. Does anyone know?
Has to be the Scots dragoon guards for me .RIP George Murray born july 1926. Died april 2010. Much loved and never forgotten. Your daughter. Helen xxx