'Amazing Grace' still a beloved hymn after two centuries

Published: Monday, Dec. 6 2010 9:30 a.m. MST

"It has universal appeal," Wilberg said.

A few alternate versions have come into use, including one verse apparently taken from the novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

More than a century after that book, the song was a standard during civil rights demonstrations.

In music industry circles, "Amazing Grace" is public domain. This means no one gets royalties for the song except those who have written alternate versions of it.

Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus," a rival to "Amazing Grace" as a spiritual favorite, has been recorded about 500 times, far fewer than "Amazing Grace."

And "How Great Thou Art" didn't get popularized in the U.S. for 170 years after "Amazing Grace" was written.

Barrows says "Amazing Grace" will be around "as long as there is sin in the world and need for forgiveness and the need for the daily presence of a living, loving, giving savior to be our guide and strength each day."

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