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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  • Sabrina Fletcher

    The richness of history presented and gifts and talents coming from this gentleman's outgoing personality with how he captures his audience...

  • EDward Michael Amet

    This was an amazing performance that inspires love, godliness goodness and love of life. Very inspirational by a very talented performer Wintley Phipps.

  • MarySueRossKey

    My favorite gospel song! I never tire of it So wonderful

  • Sara Brackett

    Surely the Presence of the LORD is in this place……Amen

  • Margaret

    African Americans have contributed so much to this country in all the arts, including architecture and building. This is just another magnificent example!!!!!

  • Jane

    What a powerful message this was! Thank you

  • Maryse Achong

    The most moving rendition of this hymn that I have ever heard… gained some knowledge as well. Thank you!

  • Andrew

    Just rethinking the goodness of God!

  • Melinda Ancrum

    What an amazing, powerful, resounding voice! Praise God for the gift! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and your music with us!

  • Debra

    Deeply rooted in the Love of God, so inspiring

  • Delores

    Most beautiful, I love this kind of music, their faith comes out

  • Garang ALEXANDER

    the spirit guiding Wintley Phipps in capturing the substance of the song is amazing

  • Jeannie

    I got goosebumps instantly!!! Just so beautiful!!

  • Ingrid

    Loved the singing as well as learning that black gospels were written only on the black notes of the piano.

  • Charlie York

    I believe that only people like Mr Phipps can carry us forard.

  • Patsy schulze

    Everything about Just The Black Notes by Wintley Phipps inspired me. It was beautiful. I have shared it with most of my family and friends. They shared it with their family and friends. Please continue to make these videos. Everyone is so very blessed with them.

  • Bob Mills

    The man's deep faith comes through from the first word to the last.

  • Helen Johnson

    First the story behind the song and learning that a captain of a slave ship wrote the words. I have always loved "Amazing Grace", but Mr. Phipps' humming before singing the words very much inspired me.

  • Jane E ArringtonI

    To those who are interested in Negro spirituals, this is an important note to remember. I'm so glad to finally locate it on my father's birthdate, Robert (Bobby) Campbell's. While he was a great listener to all types of music, it was my Mother, Katheryn (Sis) Jones Campbell who was awesome as a pianist. God Bless her and Mr. Jim Dillard from Washington us how to celebrate Black music as young teen-agers annually in this community., PA. b

  • cvz

    the story of John Newton . and slave origin,

  • Robin Pendergrast

    From the very beginning....fabulous thank you.

  • Thelma

    Black notes are powerful !!!!!!

  • Dee

    Wintley Phipps. The most inspiring and beautiful presentation of Amazing Grace I have ever experienced. Thank you, Mr. Phipps for that gift.

  • Del Rainer

    Creation coming thru so brilliantly.

  • jo

    Couldn't get Amazing Grace to work

  • Edwin Herrmann

    I think of the poor slaves who were abducted, loaded on a ship and sailed to America, to be sold as slaves and never got to see there loved ones. Whntley Phipp's voice is so powerful, and his message and song is wonderful. He sang at our church in Peoria IL some years ago and I have a CD of him singing. God is using him in many ways.

  • Darrill Sandberg

    Couldn't see it . Just didn't work.

  • Anita Smith Christopher

    Reminds me of the late Dr. Horace Boyer music professor at UMass, Amherst, MA. Teaching and engaging people of all ethnicities in gospel music and its history

  • Michele Trusel

    I was touched with the history of the song, the elegance & articulation of that history, not to mention the singing of that song. Brought to tears.



  • Mattese Lecque

    This touched the deepest part of my soul. Prsise God for this rendition.

  • Leroy J. Bennett

    After listening to that rendition I had this unexplained feeling within me. THANK YOU LORD.

  • Faye Dale

    The most moving and remarkable singing of this famous hymn I have EVER heard!

  • Carlotta Lalonde


  • Douglas O'Connor

    I've always loved the song and not completely aware of where I first heard it but the words and music always moved me. I would have to stop and listen to it when I heard it on the radio or by a choir. Knowing the history of that brilliant piece has only made it more meaningful and beautiful.

  • Otto Baer

    A tear and an unexplainable feeling

  • Mary Boelke

    How very special and so talented Wintley brought this beautiful peace of history to us. AMAZING. My husband I have been fans of the Gaither Gospel Group for many years, we were blessed to see this spectacular event on T V. Absolutely so special.

  • MICHAEL Parker

    His honest and sincere interpretation of what John Newton heard on his ship of slaves.

  • Emelie Todd

    All I can say is WOW. What an awesome God we serve. Mr Phipps a friend asked me if I heard the story about the "black keys and the white keys" on the piano. I told her "No". I heard your explanation of the story. It touched my soul. I will pass it on. I was amazed. To God be the Glory!!!

  • Stella Robertson

    Born in 1928 my family sat around the fireplace singing from our Hymn Book. My parents had fifteen children, twelve living. We heard these same stories many times. I believe most to be true. Tonight l was researching some Spiritual stories for my children and grands from my Hymn Story Devotional when I ran across your video. I’ll share it with them. In my early years we would play all hymns that noted as unknown or traditional.. using black keys. I have 6 generations sitting under my feet that I share with.

  • La Verne Edmond

    I've listened to Mr. Phipps since he first came on a television talent show, Star Search? He has a voice from God. His voice hits the soft strings of your soul!!! What an amazing history discovery about the black keys and the Negro spirituals.

  • Lorinda Holmes

    The historical fact is not trivial about the black keys and spirituals. Amazing Grace captures the universality of struggle,pain and suffering encomassing historical events in the author's life, the Middle Passage, Slavery,poverty,racism, incarceration, and a people's cry of anguish, yet hope and belief in being saved someday.

  • Larry Brons

    The message . ... the music .. . .. the man

  • Sue

    Unbelievable!! Imagine Amazing Grace played only on the black keys. The video is truly great at showing the skill and imagination of black musicians.

  • Paulette

    you can not imagine the pain and sorrow felt but you can feel the hope for tomorrow

  • Gary

    The Truth of it!

  • Godfrey

    The touching words and melody

  • Nancy Myklebost

    What inspired you about this video? Everything

  • Nancy Myklebost


  • Baker Thomas

    Mr. Phipps'singing and instruction re Amazing Grace are truly gifts from Heavenly Father.

  • James Lutzweiler

    Nothing. It depressed me. Wintley's story is totally false and demonstrably so. Anyone interested in the hard facts can email me at and I will send you the full story. I have already sent it to Wintley Phipps and to Bill Gaither, neither of whom has replied. Only Detroit has to recall defective cars. Christians don't. It depressed me to read all these comments by those who took Wintley's bait. In short, Newton never wrote the tune we know at all. It doesn't appear at all until years AFTER his death. It is understandable how people have warmed to his story so full of drama and pathos. But it is simply not true. Sorrowfully, James Lutzweiler Archivist (1999-2013), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary 336-686-2043

  • Cynthia

    A. It is a glorious, tear inducing, song, but Newton didn’t get the melody from slaves. He heard the melody from people who had been members of a culture with its own traditions, religious beliefs, music. places in society and who were kidnapped and brutally transported to a different world and subsequent slavery and who comforted themselves with the music of their cultures.

  • Abbie

    Everything!! Learned so much from a wonderful teacher

  • Lil

    Knowing the history and appreciating the glory of God! Agree with Roy!

  • Roy

    From the depths of Slave ships came the human grace that set the foundation for One of the Most beautiful hymens ever written! Mr. Phipps sure put the human suffering source in perspective! Thanks, for adding this knowledge to my favorite hymen!! Love the Black Key melody!

  • marylou

    i loved the background wintry phipps related about the spirituals and his voice is just beautiful!

  • Gail MacLean

    Mr.Phipps rendition of this uplifting and beautiful song contains so much. sadness, love, despair, adulation for the Lord and knowledge of the pain which Black people in this country have endured. God bless him and help all of us to be better people. I did not know that black people could only play the black keys, how pathetic.

  • Don

    I had heard the story previously, but, not so beautifully presented. To God Be The Glory.I pledge to live as a born-again Christian better so that others might or will see Jesus in me .

  • Pat

    It was my mother’s favorite hymn

  • john

    Strong I love it so strong.

  • Joan

    Did not know about the Black Keys and Wintley presented this song with so much emotion. Beautiful.

  • Sondra Schlosser

    Wintley Phipps made this spiritual music come to life. The story should be shared to many.

  • Patti

    Diversity in harmony and song.

  • Jane Lee

    Everything !!!! Absolutely beautiful. I did not know about the black notes on the piano.

  • David Quan

    I have never experienced Amazing Grace like this. I am truly humbled and joyful to have this shared with me. Thank you Jesus for this gift.

  • Ann

    I feel like I have seen a follower of Christ for the first time today seeing this video. I’ve not heard this story before, and it was told so beautifully. We need to know these pieces of history. Why is it not widely shared? What an injustice to our children. Thank you.

  • Michael Conklin

    The History of the slaves playing on just the Black Keys of the piano I never knew that until now and I know I will never forget it. Wintley Phipps does a fantastic job singing "Amazing Grace."

  • Judy Olsen-Fink

    . Every color and race has its history but his presentation of Amazing Grace gives life struggles a picture of black history and beautifully presented too. My knowledge of Amazing Grace only goes back to a ship's captain but not a full history of what inspired his hymn but Phipps presentation puts it all together which makes sense to me. To have a fire, you must have a spark....

  • Donna M Fest

    I loved it it made me think of our history of the slaves how they suffered . Wintley Phipps tells it all in his song . His voice is beautiful it brings you to tears we are all children of God

  • Evelyn

    My tears.... thinking about the sad hearts of the black people during that era. It made me cry for their brave hearts and their hurt feelings and all the while knowing how much God loved each and every one of them. Out of their unhappiness God filled their souls and minds with his love for human kind. Their musical ability and Gods messages came out in beautiful words and beautiful music. We are all the better after listening to these beautiful words and melodies with our ears and our hearts make us cry with happiness. Thank you all for this beautiful piece of heartfelt music.

  • Mr. B

    The melody is haunting, and as I am Jewish the words have little significance to me. I read the brief history of John Newton and can appreciate his conversion after first being pressed into service on a British warship in his youth (one of the reason behind the War of 1812) and his subsequent service on various slave ships. So Newton wrote his poem. The melody came afterwards, and as near as I can determine, linked to the poem after some passage of time. Much like the melody for our National Anthem, which was a British tune, the melody for Amazing Grace was the tune, New Britain. I've been listening to Jazz most of my life, so I can hear a melody and get an emotional lift from it, I don't need words. So, I direct you to the movie, HEARTLAND, with Rip Torn and Conchata Farrell (sp?). New Britain is played on a clarinet, and I tell you, it knocked my socks off. No words. Just the somber sound of a beautiful melody. I recognized it as, Amazing Grace, of course. Haunting.

  • Paul

    Joy in humanity!!

  • Irene

    It filled my heart with Joy because I know when my parents live this earth they will be with JESUS Christ!

  • lorraine

    everything. it was wonderful

  • Hilde Gordon

    The overall presentation of this AMAZING PERFORMANCE.

  • Mary Johnson

    The overall presentation of Mr. Phipps especially about the five black notes inspired me most and the humming of "Amazing Grace". I am playing this music almost every day. Thanks Mr. Phipps for your rendition and don't pay attention to the critics of RAPHAEL - he strikes me as a racist.

  • Leonard Murrell

    The truth.How can we purchase this cd?

  • Lynette

    I was blessed to be able to sing at Carnigie Hall in Nov, as 1 voice among 270. The conductor Joseph Martin, told us after we finished the song to be silent and we could hear the echos of all who have graced this stage with song. Truley Whitley captured the Heart of God, with his AMAZING GRACE. BEAUTIFULLY SUNG FROM DEEP IN HIS HEART. THANKS WHITLEY. I FELT IT AGAIN.BEAUTIFUL STORY.

  • Dennis

    I wish all people could come together in love one to each other. As children of God.

  • Mary

    The history lesson for one. Although I knew about John Newton, I had never heard about the black notes before. Interesting and very moving.

  • Daryoush Yazdani

    It truely inspired me that 160 years ago Baha’u’llah emphatically talks about mankind as;” Ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch” Or ; “ Deal Ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony with friendliness and fellowship Mr. Phipps did it through his amazing and incredible performance the validity of what Baha’u’ llah has addressed mankind. I just loved it and every cell in my whole being was moved.

  • Patsy

    The spiritual feeling that seemed to be contagious/shared with everyone listening to this educational and moving program……How wonderful to be a part of this positive feeling…..


    Just amazing on all levels. History, performance and Wintley when he comments on the fact we are all one. I'm not black but the program touched me completely. I had tears in my eyes, my heart was pulsating and my body was warm all over! I also have some new found awareness to the black history in America. If the presentation had this effect on me, the concert hall must have had streams of tears running down the rows and One huge pulsating heart! The creative spirit once again triumphs over man's inhumanity to man. Thank you Wintney Phipps!

  • David

    God has touched so many of us through the conversion of John Newton, and by this wonderful song by Wintley Phipps.

  • Mike D for Lee D

    Lee D. said, "that was very awesome"

  • Michael-n-Gwendolyn

    2 Corinthians 9:15 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift

  • Mary Ellen

    He is amazing!!!! Beautiful and inspiring!

  • DoreenFahlman

    What inspired you about this video It brought tears to my eyes and I could feel the pain" was special to hear with that much feeling...Beautiful...

  • Kathryn Larvinson

    Amazing! Touched my heart!

  • campbell

    this is the most beautiful performance of amazing grace i have ever heard the way this man pours his heart and his feelings into this song is truly unbeleivable a true man of GOD

  • Rev Goodwine

    WOW! The history and the Anointing!!!

  • Jane

    Powerful, Majestic, Touches the heart, mind and soul, do I cry or just feel the joy and sadness.

  • Christo

    Beyond indescribable ! Beyond Beautiful! The Angels Cheered!



  • Keith

    This is so beautiful, I sit and listen to this and it brings me to tears. So joyful so beautiful, I wish all people Black and White could be brought together like this.

  • Marlena

    That marvelous rich baritone voice, doing justice with Grace, to an old wonderful song. It moved me to the bosom of my Big Mama. Where I would nuzzle in the safety of her loving warm arms,as she rocked me ever so close, to her large breasts, where her heart beat so purely into my childs ear.

  • Warren "Bud" Hinzie

    How fitting a discovery to hear the deep sorrow which comes from the belly of a slave ship and becomes a truly fitting verse to touch the hearts of all of mankind.

  • Steve Estrada

    How God lifted up slaves sorrow to reach so many of our hearts

  • George Mays

    The combination of feelings expressed by the words and music takes you through depression, hope, belief, freedom and personal exaltation for how far you have come, no matter what race, creed, color or political belief. Within all of our histories, we all experienced the emotions and feeling this song bring to the surface of your mind.

  • George Blumel

    As Dadio Daily used to say " takes the black AND white keys on a piana to play the Star Spangled Banna" that's how he pronounced piano and banner so they rhymed.

  • 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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