At Carnegie Hall, gospel singer Wintley Phipps delivers perhaps the most powerful rendition of Amazing Grace ever recorded. He says, "A lot of people don't realize that just about all Negro spirituals are written on the black notes of the piano. Probably the most famous on this slave scale was written by John Newton, who used to be the captain of a slave ship, and many believe he heard this melody that sounds very much like a West African sorrow chant. And it has a haunting, haunting plaintive quality to it that reaches past your arrogance, past your pride, and it speaks to that part of you that's in bondage. And we feel it. We feel it. It's just one of the most amazing melodies in all of human history." After sharing the noteworthy history of the song, Mr. Phipps delivers a stirring performance that brings the audience to its feet!


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  • Betty Fitzgerald

    I am a born again christian and when I hear songs that touches my heart I raise my hands and praise God. This son sang to my heart.Praise God.

  • Jim

    Fwd to me by a very good friend who knew I would like it.

  • Jean

    The response of the audience to this amazing man. Thank you, Wintley Phipps!

  • Gordon

    The whole video, history as well the person and song.

  • Mary

    I had just read about the use of only black notes in spirituals. To hear the background story is inspiring. I heard the song played at church last Sunday. It brings tears to my eyes.

  • Elizabeth

    Amazing about the "black notes." I had not heard that before. very inspirational - great hymn.

  • Craig Tippins

    The passion in Wintley's voice is heard and felt! Amazing! And the story behind this song is uplifting.

  • Betty Dilthey

    This man is SO POWERFUL!!! He had a spirit about him that made you KNOW he has a REAL relationship with our Lord. He made me want to go out and teach our world to love and honor one another. He made me aware that we all have had problems but we need to put them aside and embrace and respect one another. What a WONDERFUL way to begin my day: tears streaming down my cheeks and an inner peace and ready to face the day and live it to the fullest of GOD's power and love. Thank you Mr. Phipps!

  • Scott Sontag

    Ha ha…laughing at my own typo below: In the 2nd sentence I typed "black keys", instead of "white keys". SORRY. It should read: "the idea the slaves could not play the WHITE keys on a piano."

  • Scott Sontag

    I have definitely enjoyed Mr. Phipps' great voice for several years now. However, like someone else has written below, I want to gently disagree with the idea the slaves could not play the black keys on a piano. Most would not have ever seen a piano, as they were not being built until well into the 1700s. Before then, the colors of a keyboard were even REVERSED, for example, on Harpsichords, with most of the keys being black, and today's black keys, white! The singing of anonymous fields songs and spirituals would never have come from a man-made instrument. These were oral songs, from the soul, the heart of a suffering people; sung "a cappella". PLUS the Pentatonic scale works on white keys (D,E,G,A,B) as well as on the black keys. Most importantly, though, John Newton did write the poem, in 1772, (from his personal Christian conversion experience); but, he did NOT compose, nor even know the melody heard in the video clip. His congregation may have chanted his words, or sung them to a simple English tune used for other hymns. The melody we are familiar with today is called "New Britain", and came together from 2 or 3 tunes, in the "New World", end of 1700s, or early 1800s. Maybe it was a mixture of a slave song and a scottish pentatonic tune? Newton's poem was not printed in a songbook WITH THIS TUNE until around the 1830s. Only later was that melody heard in England. John Newton died in 1807. So, I am confused by this video's presentation. And promise myself to "dig a little deeper". The text stands firm and clear that Grace saves, changes and will lead us Home!

  • Friend

    Awesome rendition of the Amazing Grace. God's grace is amazing.

  • friend

    Great song, text and singer, to be sure. But the facts of his story- requiring 'black keys' to play the song, is incorrect. The (canned) accompaniment behind his singing used many 'white notes', and indeed the melody itself can be played on white only keys, or a mix of the colours. The lyricist/poet did not set his words to that music. Anyway- many positives to his performance, but intentionally misleading in many of the facts. It cheapens what is otherwise something great.

  • lois bressler

    The purity of passion and hope is awe inspiring!

  • Cynthia Marshall

    Thank you Mr. Phipps for the history your singing of Amazing Grace. Brought tears to my eyes and thanksgiving to an Almighty and Powerful God! Alleluia!!

  • Barbara Pratt

    You can feel the spirit and know God has spoken with giving us Wintley Phipps amazing voice to tell the story. Many Mahalos for this wonderful man singing this song.

  • rose gamiere

    The story, and the enthusiasm behind it. Just beautiful, thank you.

  • Ken Tashjy

    Not only touched my heart, Whintley Phipps rendition of Amazing Grace reached deep into my soul.

  • Gary Marrow

    Again thanks for yesterday, today, and the days to come. Appreciated this.

  • Ivan D'Souza

    I sing this practically every day in Church (Catholic) but this rendition has touch my inner spirit and I am amazed by Wintley's story (wonderful voice) and also that he sang Amazing Grace in Carnage Hall. Ivan, Alsip, IL USA

  • Sandy Foster

    I was truly educated regarding Negro spirituals. I had never heard the story of the "black" keys. It breaks my heart how one human being could have mistreated another human being. Through it all came this amazing grace. Thanks be to God for His amazing grace. God literally shines through Wintley Phipps . We are all so Blessed.

  • A. Janis

    Music brings down all barriers. This has always been one of my favorite songs. I appreciate Mr. Phipps' version--the audience certainly did as well. I appreciated how he educated and then demonstrated. Well executed performance!

  • R. Martin

    For me this is the single greatest song ever written. That being said, It was written as a poem and not later translated to a tune written on a "slave scale." Newton first wrote the words to "Amazing Grace" in 1772. Most early Christian hymns were not sung. Most hymns were simply small books of religious poetry. It was not until later that the text was wed to the tune to which it is sung today. It was in 1835 when William Walker assigned Newton's words to a traditional song named "New Britain", which was itself an amalgamation of two melodies ("Gallaher" and "St. Mary") first published in the Columbian Harmony by Charles H. Spilman and Benjamin Shaw (Cincinnati, 1829). The melody itself was NOT unknown and can be played in many keys, not only the "black notes". Pentatonic scales were also common in Celtic and English folk music, and can be found across Europe, Asia and Africa. They are not unique to Africans, or to slaves. New Britain was not a tune hummed by or inspired by slaves in Africa decades earlier. A fifth verse not written by Newton was added later that has been passed down orally in African American communities for at least 50 years. In 1788, he wrote a leaflet called “Thoughts upon the African Slave Trade” which supported the slavery campaign. Later, Newton befriended and mentored the young politician William Wilberforce, encouraging and supporting his fight against slavery in the British Empire. Despite his continued involvement in slavery when he first became a Christian, Newton later rejected the slave trade. He described this "unhappy and disgraceful" trade as contradictory to the "feelings of humanity" and as the "stain of our national character”. In March 1796 at the age of 70, Newton wrote in his journal “Oh it was a mercy indeed to save a wretch like me” – he still applied the lyrics of the hymn to his own life story. It took 20 years but finally the first legislation against the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was passed in 1807. Shortly before he died that same year, the old man declared, “My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour”.

  • B. Harrod

    So much about Blacks and the many important contributions to history has been distorted and credit given to others but in time the truth will come out. We give God glory for our resilience.


    This is the amazing grace that is greater than my sin. Thank God

  • pat

    Made me relize how much they suffered in the hold of that ship. It was all wrong. God for give all those who are racist. Song is beautiful! God look's at the heart, not the color of the skin, We live in different color houses.

  • Jay Cee

    It gives me the opportunity to say that I do not and never did believe that some sea captain named John Newton wrote Amazin Grace. I believe it was written by a slave when the slaves were set free. The writer of the melody and words is known, - a slave. The powers that be simply assigned them to John Newton, like has been done with so very many other things.

  • Leon Parry

    Bought tears to my inspirational...incredible

  • Colleen Thornton

    What inspired you about this video?Most inspiring and beauty of God's grace with the most magnificent music to His praise.

  • Sara Oubre

    I had goose bumps from the top of my head to my toes. A powerful singer and powerful song. If only we could ALL come out of our bondage and love and appreciate everyone- no matter what their color or origin.

  • Nathaniel jones


  • Paul New Stewart

    you got to be kidding..the entire video was unbelieveable...I know I saw this a few years ago and i'm glad a friend brought it to my attention again..Mr. Phipps just reminds me of a good Godly man that for some reason makes me want to go on a march with him for 100% equality..Its what this world needs and i'm a white male,75,musician/singer who wants everyone to have an equal chance..Is that to much to ask for,I think not!!!!!.Mr Phipps manor and his singing just blow me away....Paul

  • Corinne King

    Just to hear the story behind the hymn. Brought tears to my eyes.

  • Carolyn Kimbrough

    The wonderful singing & lesson taught on Negro spirituals. All together worshiping the Lord was very inspiring.

  • Hankmeister

    A wonderful Christian singer. A true brother by the grace of Christ alone. One point of historical note. I don't believe black African slaves were Christians on the slaver ships. More than likely the black slaves were utter pagan pantheists who were typically sold by their black brothers to white slavers on the Ivory Coast or similar African Atlantic coast ports. It was only after these black slaves were brought to America that they became Christianized. The slave trade still continues today under Islam.

  • Bill Fair

    The overpowering rendition by Mr. Phippps had me in awe, brought tears of joy to my eyes because of its absolute beauty in what had to be the most soulful version of this song ever sung--a pure delight and privilege to see and hear.

  • Barbars Efraimson

    Of course, Mr. Phipps' marvelous voice and delivery, but something I really noticed is the fact that very few "bunches" of white and/or black people were alone. They were all intermixed and enjoyed that beautiful music all together.

  • Raymond Malow

    Truly truly awesome signing, and very interesting lesson on the origin of the "Amazing Grace".

  • Gretchen

    Stunning performance; Mr. Phipps is such an anointed singer! I was amazed to learn about the black keys on the piano forming all the negro spirituals! Amazing Grace is actually my favorite hymn!

  • Noel Small


  • Mukund Solanki

    We are all one, why this difference of your and mine, and the war, we dont need wars, this world is one, lets live to be one family brothers and sisters, the Hindu Philosophy "Vasudev Kutumb kam"

  • Dave Wilberger

    Red and yellow black and white we all are precious in his sight.

  • Julie Miller

    I was Amazed at the lesson(s) in his story before he sang. His singing, was Powerful. Thank you for making this available. My Dad, a Roman Catholic, sent this to me. Love How He Seems to be GETTING INTO THE SPIRIT. Growing church he tools us Every Holy Day of obligation and of course mass on Sunday. But talk of God didn't exist outside of church except at meal times. I too, still attend the Catholic Church, but I experience it differently than I did as a kid. I Feel Gods Presence. I pray a lot while I go through my day. God Does Hear Me. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Marge

    Because he sang it from his heart and personally knows the one who gives us that GRACE.

  • cindy

    All of it, beautiful, heart felt, worship. Loved hearing the history of the Grace, awesome!

  • Stella

    One neeeds to listen closely to the words. Saving Grace.

  • Gail Walsh

    I must have at least 28 different versions of this song (my favourite) both vocal and orchestral. How fabulous to hear the history of its inception and what a powerful vocal and emotionally wrenching rendition. Thank you so much

  • Margaret Geisler

    What inspired you about this video? I have a wonderful friend and very dear person, Rev.Wesley Williams who was Paster at the O.U.M.C. on Cape Cod, Mass. He opened my heart to Christ like you wouldn't believe. I have never felt such true love for Spiritual Music as listening to him express his deep love for GOD.

  • Margaret R. Geisler


  • Bev Woodcock

    What a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace, the most powerful hymn ever written.

  • Caleb

    Phillps has great delivery and pace of exposition. He is excellent with the general audience's experience and education level. Apart from his musical talents, he would make an excellent story teller or teacher.

  • jfew

    Last night we watched the first hour of "The Book of Negroes" and now this, Amazing!

  • Andrea

    The music and words. Mr. Phipps is such a powerful singer. Amen

  • Elizabeth


  • Chandru,JAPAN

    the facts of the USA and the other WHITE TRIBE,that throughout their Birth HAVE been in this Trade of Slavery,and exploit the Blacks{African Oil,Minerals,Diamonds ++++}for THEIR own benefits,though bringing the I.T. process,that has Now brought the IS,the Murders,riots,the Deep Exploiration of the OTHER than the White Skinned,Leave aside France*s ugly Aggressive Onslaulots.Be in touch with Malala and Naresh,Amen

  • Ongombe

    The commitment of the singer to the letter and spirit of the song

  • Gerald Walls

    I first heard Whntly and this story at a Men At the Cross Rally years ago. He told the same story and sang the song the same way. It brought tears to my eyes then as it did now. What amazing Grace our God delivers to each believer's heart each and every day!

  • Cindy Meyer

    I can feel the struggle of the Black people. I was amazed to learn about the 5 black notes forming all the Negro spirituals. Very beautiful and moving.

  • Mike Jones

    WOW! Talk about feeling connected. Mr. Phipps' voice was uplifting and inspiring. Need to listen to more of his singing. Made me feel strong and blessed. May God bless you and your ministry, Mr. Phipps.

  • Kerry

    Mr. Phipps explanation of black spirituals; the keys used, John Newton; and Mr. Phipps singing one of the greatest songs ever written. Thank you, thank you Mr. Wintley Phipps for an extremely moving performance.

  • JoDee Nichols

    Powerful message Mr. Phipps. Stunning performance. Thank you. God Bless you.

  • R. Dyson

    I have enjoyed Wintley Phipps' voice for over a decade! Thank you for sharing!

  • J. Rich

    God's amazing grace. Because of His amazing grace we are all free from being slaves to sin. Thank you Jesus for your redeeming us by your sacrifice on the cross. Thank you for Wintley Phipps.

  • Hazel Bynum

    What inspired you about this video? Mr. Phipps anointing is so obvious! I cried because by JESUS' GRACE we can be saved. I Love GOD with all my heart and soul. AMEN.

  • Mary Jo

    How Beautiful, gave me the chills, stilled my soul...

  • Marilyn

    Powerful, we are all the same in Gods eyes, no matter what color. We all have a heart and soul.

  • Patty

    God ...the history ... And how God "saved a wretch like me"

  • JSS

    I just realized that even though I grew up in a small town in northern Minnesota that I know all of the words to many spiritual songs and that I had no idea whether they were black or white. We learned them in public school and Catholic church. Not learning about our faith in school now, has destroyed our sense of community and caring for one another. Mr. Phipps is "awesome". We need to find this music and these thoughts throughout our school systems again.

  • carol hollobaugh

    wonderful history lesson comes with this video

  • carolyn

    There is nothing musical in my body......but knowledge is amazing. I never ever heard this before but now I know. Thank God for Mr.Phipps. Our world today, as it stands, needs a lot of healing. What a great way to start 2015....... GOD BLESS US ALL

  • Nancy

    Till Mr. Phipps was done singing, tears were streaming down my cheeks. Amazing Grace is my most favorite hymn. Please, somehow, let the POTUS hear this, it may help with what a handful is stirring up as racism. We are all one and that is how God sees us. God Bless this USA. Mr. Phipps, you did a beautiful performance.

  • Sealy Davis

    The truth about John Newton, I studied this song a long time ago . But I was amazed at the piano keys, that was something to be looked at.

  • jeray holmes

    bad sound and no sound

  • Phil Bentley

    Faith should be a liberating force not an oppressive one. "Amazing Grace" is a reminder of this because it comes from a man who saw the wrongs he had done and changed his life. Perhaps hearing the melody sung by slaves on his ship had the power to effect that. As a rabbi I sometimes use this melody for a hymn with which we often end Sabbath services called Adon Olam. The music itself directly addresses the soul.

  • izzy

    It is the most moving performance of Amazing Grace ever the tears are streaming down my face

  • Carolyn Achata

    The sound stopped halfway through.

  • BARB


  • jackie green

    it's my favorite song, I cry when I hear it. I love the way he sings it.

  • Nancy

    I've read the book "Amazing Grace". I love the song and appreciate it even more to understand thte origin of the melody.

  • Fred Harp

    I havee heard the story but I still get chills and tears

  • Ms. Mary L. Hawkins

    I think the most amazing thing that inspired me about this video of Mr. Wintley Phipps is his marvelous way of teaching and delivering knowledge without even can't help but pay attention to this wonderful way of showing and telling about history in a very non-threatening and instructional way....thank you Mr. Wintley Phipps....God continue to bless you in a very marvelous way....

  • Linden

    It is truly amazing that a Southern American tune(first published with these lyrics in 1835)is such a perfect match for a poem written by a reformed English slave trader in 1779. This five-note scale was widely used in the American South at the time, probably by both black and white communities and churches. The music transcends color!

  • stef h

    Amazing Grace was just a hymn for me to sing, but as of now I will sing it with a renewed spirit. will share this with as many of my family and friends as I can. how utterly amazing.

  • Sandy

    Thanks for sharing - I absolutely had shivers.

  • Ginny

    I had tears in my eyes by the middle of the song. Yes, the Grace of the Lord is for all.

  • Claire

    All of it! His rich voice, the amazing story, the presence of God throughout. Brought tears.

  • Mickey

    It overwhelms me with the Grace of The Lord. This is so inspirational !! Mr. Whintley Phipps is so anointed and sings this with an amazing voice. I love to listen to him!! He is so filled with The Holy Spirit!

  • Catherine I. Coleman

    I will make the Lord my music..I will make His love the key...which turns my heart " <3 " to Him.... and give my life it's harmony...Glory to you Lord. You are amazing...We are saved by your Grace.

  • Dennis Johnston

    We are all God's children. This man, Mr. Phipps, just brought us somewhat closer to what our Lord wants from all of us.

  • Gerry

    Very. Special video .musically Gave me a glimps of what black pride could be like. Despite difficulties experienced as slaves progressed in society to produce such a masterpiece. Very emotional

  • VERN


  • Sandy

    WOW! As a young girl, my father sang this song and I loved it then. Today, I know the true meaning and cherish the song even more. God Bless us all and keep us united. Sandy

  • Vera Saville

    The entire event with the history and the reaction of all God's children white or black touched my deepest soul. This is what I hope heaven is about. At a time like this, we need more events to bring us together. Amen


    The God's glory and His Love for all people <3 <3 <3

  • rich

    Amazing Grace.

  • Laurie Ward

    everything, amazing!!

  • Jim Allen

    Amazing message of what is promised to all of us...."If" we trust & obey the words from the most wonderful book....The Bible.

  • Yvonne

    He is able to reach right into your heart and give you that special gift of his voice.

  • Frances

    He is really great. Loved it.

  • Page 1

  • In a rare interview with PBS, Wintley Phipps shares more about his journey.
  • Learn about the connection between "Negro Spirituals" and the history of African Americans
  • Do some research into your own past and discover the music of your roots!

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