Talk:Amazing Grace

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Featured article Amazing Grace is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on August 31, 2012.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
December 14, 2009 Peer review Reviewed
January 3, 2010 Good article nominee Listed
January 25, 2010 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article
This article has been mentioned by a media organization:

"Recorded versions" section[edit]

Moni3, Yes, of course, I disagree with your reversion of my hard work in trying to improve this article (and this section in particular). This section was/is quite a mess, and it took much thought to try to figure out how to make it better organized and readable, etc. I'm not surprised that someone would disagree with a couple of my changes, but not all of it. To just revert it all seems pretty disrespectful.

Anyway, here are my main issues, in order:

  1. The heading "Recorded versions" doesn't work because much of what comes under doesn't have to do with recordings. And what are currently subsections, don't have much, if anything, specifically to do with recordings, and should not be subsections. And the section called "Popular use" is about its use in TV and film, and that's why I changed it to "In other popular media". If you have better ways to phrase them, fine, but the headings certainly shouldn't stay the way they are now.
  2. The change from "more than 7,000 versions of the song" to "7,000 recordings of the song (including re-releases on compilations)" (or something similar to that) is pretty self-explanatory. There aren't 7,000 different versions, and that contradicts the later statement of "The U.S. Library of Congress has a collection of 3,000 versions", there are over 7,000 releases.
  3. About the phrase "Gospel superstar Mahalia Jackson," I don't know if that's a quote from the source given, because a book is not verifiable unless you have that book, but to call a Christian/gospel singer a "superstar" is inappropriate, and possibly even sacrilegious.
  4. The mentioning of Rod Stewart in with Aretha Franklin is unnecessary, and his rendition was not very popular (though it is on the list). And the sentence "All four versions were marketed to distinct types of audiences thereby assuring its place as a pop song" doesn't make much sense. What 4 versions?
  5. Now, the bulleted list of notable recordings (which is found on many song articles) is much like an infobox in that it's a quick at-a-glance and easy-to-read feature of an article. The list I made has the versions given with detail in the text, and replaces songs that are just listed in the text, but in an easier-to-read format. It also gives which album the original recording was/is found—which in some cases were very hard to find, but I think it's important to include in the article.

Of course, I would like to hear from other views (not just from one person). --Musdan77 (talk) 23:36, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

This article isn't perfect and there were some aspects of your edits that I did not disagree with, but there are other parts of it that need to be discussed in full. Also, this is a Featured Article. As much work as you put into your single edit, I wrote this article warts and all, and I'm invested in keeping it at as high quality as possible. It's always a good idea before making changes--particularly to Featured Articles--to find out if the article is being actively maintained, what history it has, and start a discussion on the talk page regarding what you think the article lacks.
  • The "Recorded versions" heading should stay. What follows until "Popular use" is dedicated to describing how the song has been recorded and received. I don't care about turning "Popular use" and "Modern interpretations" into 2nd level headers instead of 3rd level headers. In fact, "Modern interpretations" used to be its own section and someone came along if I recall correctly and made it a subsection. I really don't care that much.
  • The Library of Congress has collected 3,000 versions. That doesn't mean only 3,000 versions exist, just what the Library of Congress has collected. Can you point me to a specific part of Allmusic that states the 7,000 versions listed for "Amazing Grace" include re-releases and compilations? It's not that I think you're not being truthful, but I'd really like to see how Allmusic describes their entries. If you know, please show me.
  • Sources specifically state Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, Johnny Cash, and Judy Collins all helped to market or direct the song toward specific audiences. We cannot decide what to remove based on our own observations if sources make a point explicit. If the language needs to be clear without being redundant, let's work on tweaking the wording.
  • Are you familiar with Mahalia Jackson? When Gospel records could be expected to sell about 20,000 copies, she sold a million. She essentially spread American Gospel music around the globe. She sang at Kennedy's inauguration, MLK's funeral, appeared in films as herself, brought Ed Sullivan's audience to standing ovations, had a radio program that broadcast back Gospel to white audiences, traveled internationally and sang for heads of state, all when segregation was the norm in the U.S. She was outspoken about civil rights and had the clout to be outspoken. I don't have any problem whatsoever attaching "superstar" to Mahalia Jackson. I do not consider it POV or undue flattery or praise. It's an apt description.
  • The problem with the list is that there are obviously thousands of versions of this song. The ones included in this article are cited to sources that state they are notable for some reason. The LOC has some listed. Others are included in this article because the artists associated with them have remarked on the song's power or some aspect of the song that is notable. If you're interested in a list of artists who have recorded this song, perhaps that should go in its own space, like List of artists who have recorded Amazing Grace. I can assure you, however, after watching this article since 2009, that your short list will turn into an unmanageable morass of uncited mentions of thousands upon thousands of versions of "Amazing Grace". It will be the kudzu of Wikipedia. Information in the article should be sourced and meaningful, as in, a list not for a list's sake, but it should expand the reader's knowledge about how the singers mentioned interpret the song musically or lyrically.
I look forward to discussing these issues with anyone interested in keeping the quality of the article high. --Moni3 (talk) 00:17, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
  • (2) First of all, Allmusic is not a very reliable site to begin with. It is known to have a lot of inaccurate information. Do you know about the site It's similar to Allmusic, but unlike AMG, anyone can contribute, and they will no longer accept AMG as a source. Anyway, when you click on "Amazing Grace", it gives you a list of albums where the song is found. It doesn't indicate on the list if an album is a compilation, but if you click on the album, it'll say (or not) under "type". And if you can click on the song in the tracklist, that brings up a list of the albums by that artist that have that song. For example, if you look at the list for Mahalia Jackson, it gives over 100 albums (I didn't count each one). And some of those are just repeats, but they are still included in the total count. Even if she recorded 2 or 3 different versions, that still leaves about 100 re-releases. So from my rough estimation, I would say that there is "only" about 3,000 or so actual versions, leaving about 4,000 re-releases. I doubt that there is any way to find out the actual number (kind of like figuring out how many Bibles have been printed or sold - it's impossible).
  • (4) Sure I know about Mahalia Jackson, and I would go along with calling her "gospel great", but the words "gospel" and "star" (much less "superstar") don't belong together. Would you call Billy Graham a superstar? I hope not.
  • (5) Like I said, the ones I put in the bulleted list of notable recordings (except for a couple I added) are/were found in the text. The main thing that got me started on my edit was when someone added "Ray Charles with The London Symphony Orchestra (2000)", so I figured instead of people just adding versions to the text, it would be better to have a more appealing list in chronological order by original release, along with the name of the original album. In order to keep the list under control, we just tell people (with hidden text) if they add any to the list, it must have a cited source which tells why it is notable. If it's not, it will be removed -- just like in the text. In that way, it would be manageable. I, for one, would make sure of it. --Musdan77 (talk) 02:52, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
  • If users contribute to, making it a user-generated site without formal editorial oversight, like or even Wikipedia, it's unacceptable to use as a source. I don't have a problem calling some of the 7,000 versions of "Amazing Grace" on Allmusic re-releases or compilations, but I wanted to make sure Allmusic calls them that before putting that in the article. I don't have any opinion nor profess any knowledge about how useful or accurate Allmusic is, but user-friendly and clearly accessible it's not.
  • I would, actually, consider Billy Graham a superstar and I don't understand your objection. I assume because you're associating the term "superstar" with someone who chases and prioritizes fame over substance. That's not the definition I'm considering. Rather, someone who is so extraordinarily talented at what s/he does that people beyond social barriers (whites and/or non-Christians in this case) cannot help noticing. And that talent gives that person the clout to address people in positions of power regarding specific issues, which would apply both to Billy Graham and Mahalia Jackson. The sacrilegious thing perplexes me. But there are other words that can convey the talent and power (vocally and morally). "Gospel singer" does not describe Mahalia Jackson. Consider instead "Gospel champion" (not in the athletic sense), "Gospel dignitary", "Gospel phenom", "Gospel headliner", "Gospel luminary", or something else that conveys that Jackson wasn't just a singer, but she was the most pre-eminent Gospel singer of the 20th century. I don't mind changing "superstar", although I think it a perfectly fine word, but if you dislike "superstar" so much, choose something else that means basically the same thing.
  • Of all these issues, the list you made is the most important and the one I feel the strongest about. While it's possible and even helpful to have a list of artists who have recorded "Amazing Grace", this article is not the place to do it. By far the majority of people editing Wikipedia do not understand nor care about Featured Article standards that make articles tight and coherent bodies of information. Prose should convey as much information as possible. Brief tables and lists should only be used when information cannot be clearly or logically conveyed in prose. If there is no guide in print that lists the recordings of Amazing Grace, perhaps there should be on Wikipedia in its own space, with a link from the Recorded versions sections.
From our conversation, I'm fine with making edits to turn "Modern interpretations" and "Popular use" into 2nd level headers. And mention compilations and re-releases in relation to the 7,000 list at Allmusic. I'll wait for your reply on "superstar". --Moni3 (talk) 13:13, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't suggesting using as a source. I was just using it as an example that if that site doesn't accept Allmusic (aka AMG) as a source because of inaccuracies, then we need to be careful in using it as a basis of the number of recordings made. Your change is good, except that the word "versions" still needs to be changed.
I can understand how some people would think that the use of the word "superstar" is perfectly reasonable here, but others reading it have a different meaning for it. I think that "phenom" is a much better way to put it in this context.
I have a few issues with the LoC paragraph. (1) It says, "popular music groups as." It should say "artists." Elvis, Skeeter and Willie aren't groups. (2) The Amazing Rhythm Aces should definitely not be listed because their song is not "Amazing Grace" (as written by Newton), it's "Amazing Grace (Used to Be Her Favorite Song)" (written by Russell Smith). And that's another thing to consider: not all of those in the "7,000" (or even the 3,000) are the "Amazing Grace" that this article is about. (3) How about if I add the album titles in parentheses next to the artist? (4) The referenced LoC page is not just a list but actually a timeline. Why not put a timeline graph in the article? I don't see where it says that a featured article can't have a list or something that breaks the monotony of all prose.
Your idea of a list article is not bad, and I will will consider that. Thanks. --Musdan77 (talk) 17:56, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Ok. These are reasonable suggestions. I've made changes.
Re: Amazing Rhythm Aces, "Amazing Grace" served as inspiration. I tweaked the wording to make that more accurate and I hope not more confusing.
Your adding album titles doesn't rid the article of the potential problem of multiple albums from an artist, re-releases, and setting the article up for other editors adding information that leads to ridiculous minutiae. (How many albums by Elvis? Listing each one by the Soul Stirrers? Why one and not another?) The intention of this paragraph is to show the breadth of styles the LOC has collected, and I think it does that. To avoid this altogether, we could remove the sentence beginning More contemporary renditions include samples, which would remove the names of artists/bands that have recorded it. And join the sentence introducing the LOC collection somewhere else in the section.
I think the more appropriate question is why a timeline in the first place? I hope not solely to break the prose because people can't be faced with these many words. Don't sell readers short. They're obviously coming to Wikipedia to be informed and words accomplish that. Many editors favor infoboxes and lists and such to make referencing easier, but that makes conveying complex or nuanced information accurately more difficult. This is a hymn with folk song characteristics: more than 30 melodies and many verses other than Newton's original six. Precise documentation of different versions, changes, and transformations before the 20th century is problematic. A timeline just for the 20th century may place too much emphasis on the recorded history of the song. The Recorded versions section is already quite detailed. And again, my apprehension that it would lead to multiple abuses from editors making uncited changes. If you're envisioning something else or something that would assuage my fears, please explain. --Moni3 (talk) 19:10, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
First, thanks for making the changes that you have.
"Amazing Rhythm Aces, "Amazing Grace" served as inspiration." Well, the source doesn't say that, and even so, wouldn't it be better to use another one from that page that is actually the song the article is about? (like Chet Atkins or Mighty Clouds of Joy). I mean, you talk about people adding versions that aren't notable, I don't think a song that's "inspired by" can be considered notable any more than dozens that actually are the song.
"Why one and not another?" The same reason for the year of release; it's when it was originally recorded -- on the album it was originally released. That's the only one that really matters. I don't know why the LoC page lists the 1994 Elvis compilation. It makes no sense.
On one hand, you say, "Don't sell readers short", but on the other hand, you seem to be selling editors short. There are currently 105 editors watching this article. Most of us have watchlists so we can look out for any wrong changes and take care of them, so that they don't get out of control. --Musdan77 (talk) 20:41, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Ok. What do you want to do about Amazing Rhythm Aces? I don't quite understand your point about this, nor the assertion that the LOC timeline addresses forms of a different song.
I don't think adding albums to the LOC artists/bands listed is a good idea. I'm not sure what it would accomplish other than making it more difficult to maintain the article.
It's not clear how I'm selling editors short. Nor how that point relates to what changes should be made to the article. While there may be 105 editors watching the article, perhaps two of them to my knowledge have read any or most of the sources. I know I'm one of them. Without being familiar with the sources, it becomes much more difficult to parse inaccurate information. It may be easy to overturn vandalism or correct misspellings, but without knowing more detailed information about the sources, it's nearly impossible to patrol edits to content. Furthermore, familiarity with high standards on Wikipedia is essential for issues such as style, layout, coding, and file/image permissions and such. From experience, I know that should you nominate an article at FAC with a bulleted list that can be explained in prose, you'd be told to change it. Also, as a Featured Article degrades over time without maintenance, it gets sent to WP:FAR and eventually delisted after they point out all the problems in the article. I'm certain the first thing to fix for this one would be a bulleted list that should be in prose. --Moni3 (talk) 21:25, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
There's at least one less editor watching it now, thanks. Oh, and I've always found a bulleted list much easier to read. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:49, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Documentaries/Sources and notable information[edit]

Regarding the inclusion of documentaries such as this and this, the second was overturned because it has not yet happened. However, the first edits simply state that documentaries aired. These edits don't say anything about what the documentaries stated about the hymn or the music. Information in the article needs to be meaningful and directly relevant to the topic. That "Amazing Grace" has had documentaries produced about it is natural. In fact, I used a documentary as a source in writing the article. But telling readers simply that a documentary aired is for the External links section, not in the prose. If you want to use these documentaries as sources, they need to be summarized and cited, then properly sourced. --Moni3 (talk) 14:24, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

I didn't realise that you "wrote the article". Which documentary source was that? And where do you reference it? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 16:16, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
I did write the article. You can see the rewrite post here. It's a Featured Article and I am interested in keeping it that way.
This doesn't mean I own the article, but that I'm invested in keeping the quality of the article high. You can find the source I used in the Citations section. It's the one that reads "Moyers, Bill (director). Amazing Grace with Bill Moyers, Public Affairs Television, Inc. (1990)". There's nothing wrong with adding information from any reliable source about "Amazing Grace" to this article, but that information should be meaningful and it should expand readers' knowledge about the lyrics or music. Advertising that documentaries were aired doesn't do that. If you watched the documentaries, summarized them, added information about the song and then cited the documentaries, I'd be more than happy to help with that or leave you alone to improve the article.
Finally, can you explain how it's POV to refer to Mahalia Jackson as something more than a singer? And your edit summaries seem to suggest you don't even know "phenom" is an English word. See this in reply. Furthermore, a word doesn't have to be justified in this article by appearing in Jackson's. These articles are independent from each other. Jackson wasn't just a singer--and you can see this discussion in the section above--she was an ambassador for Gospel music for the rest of the world. She had clout few other people had, and she had the clout and authority because of her career and specifically, the moral power of being such a successful representative of Gospel music. The authority she had among the public eclipsed her race during a time when race was pretty much anyone saw of blacks in the U.S. Her social standing is relevant to the passage describing how Jackson employed the song during the Civil Rights era. --Moni3 (talk) 21:48, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
Phenom seems to be real word in American English, and I'm sure that The Queen of Gospel Music deserves to be discussed in such terms. But I'm less sure whether a hymn written by an 18th century English poet and clergyman should use British English or American English, even if he was, for at least part of his life, a slave trader. I'm even less sure that Ms Jackson's "clout and authority" can help us decide, although I am sure that this hymn was truely inspirational for the civil rights movement in America. I didn't know that it also had Cherokee lyrics: [1]. It would have been quite diffucult for me to have watched any of the three documentaries for which I added links. But I'll try and review the content of each to see if anything useful could be added. It's unfortunate that you came across as if you owned this article. But of course I quite disagree with you - I think that, regardless of content, it's quite notable that any 200 year-old hymn should be given a documentary on a popular national music station. Martinevans123 (talk) 22:14, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
Can you provide an alternative word to describe Mahalia Jackson or are you ok with "phenom"? Originally, I described her as a "superstar", as in, "Gospel superstar Mahalia Jackson..." As evident in the thread above, someone objected to that and we settled on "phenom". Can you provide an alternative?
As for whether the article should be written in British or American English, I don't really care. A basic rule of thumb is if the topic is directly relevant to a country that uses British English, it usually gets written that way. In this case, this song was mostly unknown in England until about 1964. Most of the source material written about it is in American English, and most of the history of the lyrics after they were written occurs in the U.S. So that's a coin toss. Whatever it is though, the language should be consistent throughout the article.
Simply adding that a documentary exists is like adding that a book has been written about the song without explaining the content of the book. What does the book say about the song? What do the documentaries say about it? If it's a good documentary that would pass WP:RS without a problem--and anything produced by the BBC would probably qualify--we should use it as a source, not just tell readers that it exists. Unless it just gets mentioned in the External links section. If the documentary was itself notable, as in it won an award or something similar, then it should be mentioned and cited. But we'd have to cite it from a 3rd party source, like the Oscar website, a film review printed in a magazine or newspaper, or something similar. I might be able to access the Michelle Williams sound documentary. The other one is 15 minutes long. I'm not sure what it's going to be able to add to the information presented in this article, but if you can view it, please do. --Moni3 (talk) 22:20, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
As I've tried to make it clear in my edit summaries, I don't think that the word "phenom" is a word normally used in British English, and is not really appropriate to an international encyclopedia. I have changed the text to describe Jackson as The Queen of Gospel, and other editors seem to be ok with that. As regards docurmentaries, it seemed to me similar to provding a bibliography about a subject - just further resources that the reader might wish to be made aware of. Martinevans123 (talk) 07:18, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

Martinevans, your edit summary here and the edit it made...please pay attention to what you're editing. See, if I overturn you, I'm a edit warring douche. Here I have to correct you, making me a pedantic douche. Either way, I'm a douche because you're not paying attention to what you're editing. Turner is cited all over this article and several times in the paragraph you edited. Furthermore, the source is already being used to cite different statements: ones the site makes better than other sources do.

So as it stands, your edit adds a tertiary source (deprecated on Wikipedia, especially in Featured Articles) which is also redundant because the better source is already used in the paragraph. It would help if you removed it. If you don't want to, fine, but please understand why I will. --Moni3 (talk) 21:03, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

So what if "Turner is cited all over this article and several times in the paragraph you edited" ? Is the tune written in the pentatonic scale or not? Does Turner say this? If he does, why not use that ref? If he does not, why not just delete it or find a better source. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:20, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, he does, on p. 122. But why is it important that readers know it? Turner doesn't seem to think it important. On these pages he's trying to narrow down where "Gallagher" and "St. Mary" came from. Pentatonic scale is common in folk music, so he makes the point that that doesn't help to figure out the origins of the melody. --Moni3 (talk) 21:27, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
It's just a fact. It just makes it easy to sing. It could be put elsewhere in the article. Why not just tell readers to not bother reading this - just go and buy a copy of Turner's book. So I give up. There is no point. All the best with preserving your FA article just the way you, and/or Steve Turner, have written it. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:46, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
As you wish. Conversely, you could actually get Turner's book and read it. Then discuss what it says with me, challenge me on my interpretations and summaries of the sources. Then get other books or sources about the song to improve the article. I don't own the article, but reading all the sources gives me a lot more authority to state what should go in it. I just think people are too lazy to read the books and would rather make uninformed edits that are intellectually indefensible. You may disagree. At any rate, I guess I'll overturn your edits. --Moni3 (talk) 22:10, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, am too lazy even to reply. Let alone to go and buy a real book. Martinevans123 (talk) 22:22, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Yet you replied, then apologized for it. --Moni3 (talk) 22:39, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Voyage of The Greyhound[edit]

I have some concerns about some of the content in the section entitled “John Newton’s Conversion”, in particular with the voyage of The Greyhound.

  • 1. “.. and continued in the trade through several voyages where he sailed up rivers in Africa—now as captain of his own ship The Brownlow—procured slaves being offered and sold them in larger ports to be sent to North or South America” Surely the agreed sequence of events is that he transported these slaves himself, as captain, over four voyages, first to Charleston and then to the West Indies?
  • 2. “After hours of the crew emptying water from the ship and expecting to be capsized, he offered a desperate suggestion to the captain, who ordered it so.” Ordered what so?
  • 3. “After an hour's rest, an exhausted Newton returned to the deck to steer for the next eleven hours where he pondered what he had said,” Was that an hour's rest tied to the pump, or an hour's pumping?
  • 4. “He returned to the pump to which he and another mate tied themselves to keep from being washed over” Why was the pump on the deck? It's more likely to have been where the water was, in the bottom of the ship. “Lashing-on” incidents were typically to the wheel and/ or the mast.
  • 5. More generally, why does the account of the voyage in The Greyhound presented here differ so much from that presented at the John Newton article itself? Surely these events are, if anything, more significant in terms of his own life compared with the story of this hymn? In any case, the content of two articles should agree. (talk) 17:09, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
Hello, and welcome to Wikipedia. Thank you for bringing your concerns to the talk page.
  • Newton was the captain of the Brownlow, where he traded slaves up and down the West African coast, back to London, back to the African coast, then to the West Indies and Charleston. That he captained a slave ship bringing them to North America is not specified in the article, but it can be. Right now, the passage is accurate but limited. I have no problems amending the sentence to state that Newton also transported Africans for sale as slaves to the West Indies and Charleston. If you have a suggestion, please make it.
The Triangle trade in slaves went from UK (typically Bristol or Liverpool, not London), to Africa with goods and money, to USA and Indies with slaves and back with goods? Try e.g. ".. and continued in the trade through several voyages where he sailed up rivers in Africa—now as a captain—procured slaves being offered and transported them across the Atlantic to Charleston and the West Indies.” Which was Newton's home port? I thought it was Liverpool.
  • The suggestion Newton made to the captain during the storm is not specified in his biographies. The point the authors make, however, and indeed Newton himself, is his state of mind when he called out "If this will not do, Lord have mercy upon us", as it illustrated the point at which Newton began considering that he needed God's help. The comment surprised Newton as it came from his mouth.
That's a useless sentence that adds nothing and should be deleted. How can it possibly be notable that Newton said something to the captain that he then gave as an order"?
  • Newton and a mate worked the pump for several hours. Newton slept for an hour, then steered the ship for another 11 hours. Right now the article reads He returned to the pump to which he and another mate tied themselves to keep from being washed over. After an hour's rest, an exhausted Newton returned to the deck to steer for the next eleven hours where he pondered what he had said. Do you have a suggestion to make this clearer?
e.g. "He and another crew-member tied themselves to the pump, to keep from being washed overboard, and pumped for several hours. Newton then rested, but only for an hour, before returned to the deck. During his time at he wheel he pondered on the divine challenge he had made."
  • As for where the pump was located, I admit I never paid enough attention to any descriptions of the ship to learn where the pump was located--or paid attention enough to know if the layout of the ship was described. I did, however, read that Newton and a mate had to tie themselves to the pump to keep them from being washed over. All the ship's food, livestock, and most of the cargo were washed overboard. Most of this was below decks. It was quite a violent storm and Newton later said the ship was as much in danger of completely breaking apart as it was capsizing.
You should pay attention. If the location of the pump can be sourced, you should add it.
  • As for the state of John Newton's article, I agree it's a hot mess. But I wrote this one--which is independent from Newton's article--and this is a community encyclopedia and I don't think I should also write Newton's. It leaves too much for me to interpret his life. That doesn't keep you or anyone else from improving it. It should be improved.
If what you have added here is reliable and sourced, you should at least try and copy it so the relevant section in that one article. Not a huge labour. (talk) 17:50, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
Let me know if you have questions. --Moni3 (talk) 21:24, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
Your suggestions of how to reword two sentences are fair. I made changes with a couple compromises. A couple of notes, though:
  • Articles are constructed based on what the best primary sources have published about a topic. As editors, we summarize what the best sources have said and present it clearly to readers.
  • If sources place weight on a certain aspect of the topic, such as John Newton's conversion and the circumstances surrounding it, we don't get to decide not to include it. Newton's conversion was the primary inspiration behind and is the central theme in "Amazing Grace". Removing this passage is not an option. It is adequately summarized from the best possible sources.
  • Conversely, if sources do NOT place weight on some issue, such as where the pumps were located on the ship, then we don't add details because it's tangential to the topic. Where Newton sailed on the Brownlow also is insignificant in this article. At the most, a handful of words can be added, none of which will really clarify anyone's understanding of "Amazing Grace".
  • You or anyone else is more than welcome to write John Newton's article. I won't be doing it. But if you (or anyone else) cut and paste information from this article into that one, you'll be doing a disservice to yourself and readers. The information in this article is tailored to reflect Newton's life as it relates to his writing only one hymn.
Finally, your admonishment that I should "pay attention" was poorly considered and hits a nerve that gets repeatedly hit by damn near every last editor I encounter. You seem to be at a disadvantage about specifics and how articles are constructed, making me think you have no idea what you're talking about. And it pisses me off in the way that group projects in school are usually done by one person who cares more about the final grade than the rest of the group, but now with the added bonus of having people who did no work for the group project dictate to the person who did all the work what more work they need to do. In theory, I'm not solely responsible for the content in this article. The entire Wikipedia community is. I have no problem working amiably with others interested in the topic, but not when the work is so lopsided and I get chastised for trivial matters. It's entirely within your power to improve articles here. If you're interested in the topic, there is little imposition in reading the sources. --Moni3 (talk) 22:33, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
No one's forcing you to read anything, or to to write anything here. You seem to have put a lot of effort into this one article. Perhaps too much. If anything is unclear or ambiguous you should just leave it out. The John Newton article is far more in need of attention. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:45, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

"After hours of the crew emptying water from the ship and expecting to be capsized, he offered a desperate suggestion to the captain, who ordered it so." As it stands, this sentence is pretty meaningless. Mention might be made of hours of emptying water. But the sentence adds nothing to our understanding of Newton, and less than nothing to our understanding of the hymn. It's just useless padding.

Royal Navy not involved in slavery[edit]

The reference that "He was pressed into the Royal Navy and became a sailor, eventually participating in the slave trade" implies that the Royal Navy transported slaves. Slave transport was privately run, and certainly not RN. (talk) 07:43, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Edited accordingly. Straw Cat (talk) 15:07, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

"Forced into service involuntarily" is one way of describing pressing. But actually this was a form of conscription. Wouldn't it be better to describe pressing as conscription? (talk) 23:25, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Political influence[edit]

It is stated that "Amazing Grace" came to be an emblem of a religious movement and a symbol of the U.S. itself as the country was involved in a great political experiment, attempting to employ democracy as a means of government". Isn't that an overstatement? What authority is there for the view that this hymn was symbolic of any movement, associated with the USA, or associated with democracy as a means of Government? (talk) 07:48, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

This also implies that Amazing Grace is seen as American, whereas of course it is an English hymn. (talk) 23:26, 26 April 2013 (UTC)


From up-page:

Many editors favor infoboxes and lists and such to make referencing easier, but that makes conveying complex or nuanced information accurately more difficult. This is a hymn with folk song characteristics: more than 30 melodies and many verses other than Newton's original six. Precise documentation of different versions, changes, and transformations before the 20th century is problematic. A timeline just for the 20th century may place too much emphasis on the recorded history of the song. The Recorded versions section is already quite detailed. And again, my apprehension that it would lead to multiple abuses from editors making uncited changes. If you're envisioning something else or something that would assuage my fears, please explain. --Moni3 (talk) 19:10, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

This from the primary contributor. As far as I know the primary contributor hasn't been notified of the upcoming TFA or of the changes to the page, but it should be discussed before being added. To be honest, haven't we had enough drama about this? Truthkeeper (talk) 22:54, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Had enough drama? You have not been paying attention. Ceoil (talk) 23:19, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, there's been enough fighting over infoboxes on FAs. Time to fight about capitalization now. Mark Arsten (talk) 23:28, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

TK, I've seen the post on my talk and am going to reply. I've been busy. Meanwhile you and Ceoil, who also want my help on that painting's ref are kicking up shite over this. Major drama stirring, you two. Moni doesn't own this article. I do not care what a departed user said about it. Br'er Rabbit (talk) 23:43, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Jack, with all due respect, I did make a cheap shot just there, but going saying "I do not care what a departed user said about it" is deeply unkind, considering the many hours and investment and though she put into the page. Not to mention that she was a friend to people here. If you cant have respect for her in that context, why the hell should we return any for you? Ceoil (talk) 00:01, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I added Moni's post in haste, but honestly her argument is as valid now as it was when she posted and whether she's still editing or not is irrelevant. The problem, in my view, is that the "infobox" that was added is just ugly. I've been itching to take it down for days and it was obvious that yet another edit war would ensue when you and Ceoil got into it, so yeah, I took it to talk and now I've put back the "infobox". I have had this page on watch for years, but I'll take it off for the time being. I am sorry about your response on your talk. Truthkeeper (talk) 00:30, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

I have switched to an "Infobox standard", which allows moving the pic inside the box, which is more attractive, IMO. See what you think. -- Dianna (talk) 16:27, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

It looks far better Dianna. But I still dont see what the point of it is, and have only the worry that now introduced, it will be expanded, leading to the introduction of incorrect or reductive information by passer by editors, as mentioned above. Not that I dont see value in infoboxes across large tracts of the project; but from my own experience of music pages; mostly alt and indie rock, its genre wars, and misplaced associations. Ceoil (talk) 18:00, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
It's an {{infobox standard}}, which has only a few fields of limited scope. There's really no room for timelines and the other problematic additions or expansions Moni was concerned about. At least it's a more attractive presentation that can be left in place while the matter continues to be discussed. FWIW, my personal preference is to include info boxes wherever we have enough information to warrant their inclusion. -- Dianna (talk) 18:25, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
But the slippery slope is for "upgrade" to one that has far more parameters. Ceoil (talk) 19:17, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
People can monitor and remove krappy additions, same like we do with all the material on our watch-lists. -- Dianna (talk) 19:25, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I can't say as I'm in love with it, but this box looks a hell of a lot better than the one that was there before. Kafka Liz (talk) 20:42, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
She doesn't hate it! High praise indeed. :) I think the infobox is one of the things users expect when they visit a Wikipedia article. There's 1.1 million transclusions of the infobox template, so a quarter of our articles have one. I have been doing a lot of biographies lately, and almost all of those articles have one. Check out the hum-dinger on Hermann Göring! It's packed with info, but even so, the most interesting bits are in the prose (he liked to dress up, he was addicted to morphine, etc). So we have to entice the reader to keep reading the prose to get to the juicy bits. It's possible the people who glean their facts from an info box are not the same readers as the ones who read the prose. And we will never know for sure how many read the articles through to the bitter end. Some articles, a very good case can be made for not including an info box; Ezra Pound springs to mind; I remember reading your comments there. Anyway, I expect this info box can sit here and not uglify the article too desperately while a final decision is arrived at. -- Dianna (talk) 00:39, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
She likes it! Hey Mikey! My opinion here is mainly one of aesthetics; I hope I'm still allowed to voice it. :) As I said, this one is much improved, and while I am not a fan in general, I am also not one to stand in the way of what appears to be consensus. You may note that I did not simply remove it. I will look at the Göring box. I do try to take these on a case by case basis, and while my general preference is not to have them, I try to listen to the arguments of others as I hope they will listen to mine. Kafka Liz (talk) 01:38, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
2 vs 2 + 1 floating is not concensus. Liz, I also appreciate her effort at concillation, but I'm not impressed by Diannaa's its on a bunch of other articles, even if *now* she accepts Pound. I remember the tactics on Hemmingway, and that bothers. Look at what happened here. Moni expressly did not want her articles 1. at TFA, 2. with info boxes, 3. with an excess of Tony's files. She was explicit and long term on these views, and we all knew her. The recent activity, well its a warning to people who retire; expect grave dancing. "I do not care what a departed user said about it". Ceoil (talk) 01:48, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
It wasn't me that said that; it was someone else. I don't have strong feelings about the userbox on this article, and only put in a nicer one up as an interim solution. -- Dianna (talk) 02:58, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Was this article on your watch list? Or why are you here, whoes edits do you go around implicitly backing? Seemingly regardless, frankly, from my past experience. Though a best face now. Ceoil (talk) 03:05, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
I've just read through remarks on Br'er Rabbit's talk page and your talk page, and have a better understanding of why you made the remarks you did. Sorry, my intention here was to make a nicer info box, to help make a nicer article, not to play political games. I am sorry you misunderstood my intentions. -- Dianna (talk) 04:06, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Orly. [2]. And thats to say nothing of the bullying at Hemmingway which you and Jack spilled over to as many other pages as ye could manage. Lovely stuff, we all have fond memories. Or was it Jack, you were tagging with a few shifting identities at the time, its all a bit confusing now ;) Ceoil (talk) 04:33, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Enough sniping yet, or are you all enjoying this? Please comment on wp:edits not editors.LeadSongDog come howl! 15:56, 31 August 2012 (UTC)


I reverted an AGF edit as it appears to be WP:COATRACKish IMHO. Also it most certainly should not be in the lead/lede. Thoughts? — Ched :  ?  21:49, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

You may be right, although it's obvious that this was the central "coat peg" of the film (even is the use of the tune in the film was blatantly anachronistic). How many films have this title? not "zillions". That Evening Standard source was quite enlightening. (talk) 21:54, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps some sort of WP:DAB such as using the {{About}} template? — Ched :  ?  22:13, 31 August 2012 (UTC) ... and actually - {{other uses}} is already there. — Ched :  ?  22:17, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

Should bagpipe and other instrumental performances be titled "Amazing Grace" or "New Britain"?[edit]

As the article notes, "Since 1954 when an organ instrumental of "New Britain" became a bestseller, "Amazing Grace" has been associated with funerals and memorial services." — That is, (1) the instrumental piece is properly titled by the tune's name, not the poem's name; and (2) the instrumental piece gained this funereal association without need of those lyrics. — It would seem to follow that the bagpipe performances mentioned, by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the Canadian bagpiper depicted, and "Scotty" in Star Trek: Wrath of Khan, should likewise be titled "New Britain" and not "Amazing Grace" due to the absence of lyrics. Discussion? – Raven  .talk 11:37, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

FYI: Not only has "Amazing Grace" been sung to other tunes, but it is not the only song sung to this tune ("New Britain"), cf. "Broioù Ar Mor / Peuples de La Mer / People of the Sea" (as performed by the Men's Choir of Brittany). Amazon link – Raven  .talk 11:56, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Just as a sanity check on current usage, I ran a quick search on a major sheet music site - JWPepper. There were over 1,500 matches for "Amazing Grace", and somewhere between 200-500 of those were instrumental arrangements. (I wasn't going to check every piano or guitar version to see if it also had lyrics.) There were 20 or so matches for "New Britain". I think it's reasonable to note that over the last 40-60 years the name of the poem has been inextricably linked to that tune. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:17, 15 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, there may well be 200-500 instrumental arrangements titled "Amazing Grace", but are they all the same tune? As I said, the song of that name has been sung to other tunes; the one now familiar was not the earliest — for details see "Amazing Grace: Some Early Tunes". – Raven  .talk 06:43, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Reversion of edit[edit]

"Looking for trouble"? Hardly! Simply attempting to improve the grammar on Wikipedia.

"Likely" is one of the rare adjectives that ends in "ly". The others are "lovely", "homely" and "comely". I can't think of any more. However, you can see the historic connection between these words.

The sentence called for the use of an adverb, not an adjective. The two available adverbs are "probably" and "possibly".

If "likely" is going to be used then the sentence must read: "It is likely that......", in the same manner that one would write "It is probable that...." or "It is possible that....."

"Likely" equates to "possible" and "probable" as a part of speech. It doesn't equate to "probably" and "possibly".

Amandajm (talk) 06:09, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

Yeah. Late at night edit, one regretted soon after hitting save. Ceoil (talk) 11:13, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

Some dogs can hunt...[edit]

and some just cant. Though I try very hard, I can't hunt very well. But although I can't hunt (write) very well, I'm smart enough to know excellence when I see it. Moni's article has had some drastic changes and as far as I can tell, mostly done by a less experienced and talented editor. As time permits I am going to go through the article and, where appropriate, revert to an older version. Gandydancer (talk) 14:35, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

I just edited the article, indicating that Amazing Grace can be sung to the Theme form the Mickey Mouse clubhouse and many other popular tunes, as Garrison Keillor has often done on his various radio shows. While I was looking the Keillor reference to add, some one appears to have reverted the entry, claiming my addition was vandalism. How do you figure that? (talk) 04:26, 30 September 2015 (UTC) (talk), that was me. Can you clarify / adjust a few things in the effort to expand and enrich this article? Is Amazing Grace typically sung to that Mickey And other medleys, or was that a one-time occurrence for the stage show? If the latter, could you edit that fact in? Your contribution currently reads a bit misleading. Also, I think you misspelled Keillor with a single "l" at the article. Please also edit your reference per WP:REFB, otherwise another editor may revert your effort. -- HafizHanif (talk) 06:29, 30 September 2015 (UTC) (talk), I moved it to the section reflecting your effort, namely the popular culture section, since your referenced contribution is categorically popular culture ( Mickey Mouse, that live stage show, etc. ). -- HafizHanif (talk) 06:39, 30 September 2015 (UTC)


Re "Simultaneously, the U.S. began to expand westward into previously unexplored territory that was often wilderness." Wouldn't it be more accurated to say "uncolonized"? The current sentence seems to imply 'unexplored wilderness' (i.e. that there were no people already there). I don't think that is accurate for any part of North America. There would presumably have been sizable areas were colonists would not have encountered First Peoples when they first arrived: but that doesn't mean these areas were unexplored (or even pristine wilderness). (talk) 09:50, 6 November 2015 (UTC)

Excessive focus on biography[edit]

At the risk of being burned by those more experienced than I, could I point out that, in my eyes, the article includes too much biographical information about Newton. It's about the song not the man; certainly his experiences were crucial to why he wrote the lyrics that he wrote, but do we really need a detailed examination of his early life and career as a sailor? It seems that a more concise summary would do the job equally well, and anyone who is curious about the details can just read the article on John Newton. It seems that the only information that really matters is that he lived a rough and tumble life, was irreligious and antisocial, involved in human trafficking, and then while caught in a storm at sea which nearly killed him, he began a process of religious conversion which eventually resulted in the lyrics of "Amazing Grace" being sung. It just seems excessively detailed about a subject which only indirectly relates to the song itself. Just a thought which struck me as I was reading the article. AnnaGoFast (talk) 02:01, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

I can see a case for trimming that section. I went back and looked at the FAC nomination to see if anyone discussed that section and I don't seem much commentary of substance at all. --Laser brain (talk) 02:24, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

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Don’t understand what this means…[edit]

The article says: ‘Excell altered some of Walker's music, making it more contemporary and European, giving "New Britain" some distance from its rural folk-music origins.’ How can a tune be made “more European”, and how does that “distance” an already European folk-tune from its origins? Jock123 (talk) 10:59, 17 March 2017 (UTC)