A myriad of artists have covered the song "Amazing Grace," including Destiny’s Child, Mumford & Sons, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. Aretha Franklin recorded a live version of the song in 1972 for her album of the same name, which became the best-selling gospel album ever.
John Newton, a former atheist and slave trader born in England in 1725, wrote "Amazing Grace" in 1764 as an autobiographical hymn telling the story of how he found faith after surviving a harsh storm while at sea. It was after his conversion that Newton became a leader in the English abolition movement. The song returned to prominence in American popular culture when, during a June 2015 memorial service for victims of a racially-motivated church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, president Barack Obama offered his rendition of the song as he delivered his remarks.