Written over 200 years ago in Olney, England, “Amazing Grace” is the world’s most renowned hymn and has been recorded by a who’s who of contemporary music. On May 8th BBC Radio 2, the United Kingdom’s most listened to radio station, will broadcast an original documentary celebrating the song and its controversial history. It airs at 10 p.m. London Time (5 p.m. EST/2 p.m. PST in the USA) and can be heard on www.bbc.co.uk (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01h5xfy).
Grammy Award nominated soul singer Candi Staton narrates the incredible journey of the song’s composer John Newton, from 18th century slave trader to evangelical preacher and abolitionist. She also charts the song’s recording history and revisits classic recordings from the worlds of gospel (Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, Al Green), folk (Pete Seeger, Judy Collins) and pop (Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards).
The program features a rare interview with the legendary 93-year-old Pete Seeger, as well as fresh reflections on the song’s impact from artists who have recorded it such as folk’s leading lady Judy Collins, Jimmy Carter of The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tramaine Hawkins, organist Moses Tyson Jr., Beverly Knight, Basil Meade of the London Gospel Choir, platinum-selling Contemporary Christian artist, Sandi Patty, and new generation gospel artist, Bryan Wilson, who recently released to iTunes and Amazon MP3, “Grace, It’s Amazing”, a reggae-folk flavored tune that is loosely based on the old hymn. Others such as journalist Steve Turner; author Anthony Heilbut (“The Gospel Sound”); the British Ambassador of Soul, David Nathan; scholar Adam Hochschild and Archbishop Carl Bean also provide commentary on the song and its illustrious legacy.
Candi Staton is famed for her 1970s hits such as “In The Ghetto” and “Young Hearts Run Free”. She’s remained current over the last two decades with critically-acclaimed CDs such as “His Hands” (2006), her platinum party favorite “You Got The Love” and last year’s Triple A #1 smash, “Kandi”, with the British band, one Eskimo. Alex Feldman for Pixiu Productions produced the special.