As a den mother who relies *heavily* on puns for her blog posts, I felt a bit intimidated by the challenge DJ Amazing Grace presented for me. Was I really going to try to draw awkward parallels to what is, hands down, one of the most beautiful hymns of all time? Truly, I can’t, so instead I will offer you
five six facts about “Amazing Grace” culled from Wikipedia (albeit with some additional commentary):
* Its author, English poet and clergyman John Newton, wrote the song from personal experience, having been raised without much religious conviction and having (ugh) participated for a number of years in the slave trade. During that time, Newton was best known for the bawdy songs he would write about his captain, such that, “[i]n a culture where sailors commonly used oaths and swore, Newton was admonished several times for not only using the worst words the captain had ever heard, but creating new ones to exceed the limits of verbal debauchery.” Well, I NEVER, John! Did you kiss your mother with that mouth?
(Well, gosh, now that I see it, that mouth DOES look mighty kissable. Did I just type that?!?)
* Depending on your reading of the events, Newton was “saved” either by one too many brushes with death while aboard those slave ships or the love of a good woman. He eventually found his way into the clergy and wrote the lyrics to “Amazing Grace” for use in a prayer meeting in 1773. It was published in a collection of hymns in 1779.
* If you had sung “Amazing Grace” in 1779, it would have sounded very different. It wasn’t until 1835 or so that these lyrics were sung to a tune called “New Britain,” which is how we all know the song to sound today.
* Judy Collins began performing the song frequently in the late 1960′s, largely to express her frustration with the Vietnam War. Her version of the song, released in 1970, rose to number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the charts for 15 weeks.
* The U.S. Library of Congress has a collection of THREE THOUSAND versions of “Amazing Grace,” including versions by Sam Cooke & the Soul Stirrers (1963), Elvis Presley (1971), Johnny Cash (1975), Willie Nelson (1976) and the Lemonheads (1987). Huge Lemonheads fans (Lemonheads-heads?) will note that Wikipedia has *incorrectly* claimed they recorded “Amazing Grace” in 1992. And so, while trying to fact check a joke I was going to make about the song’s relationship to “Mrs. Robinson” (*actually* covered by the band that year), I detected this error and am contemplating updating the Wikipedia page accordingly. Someone please rescue me from myself??
* The 1982 science fiction film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan used “Amazing Grace” amid a context of Christian symbolism, to memorialize the death of (spoiler alert!) Mr. Spock, but more practically because the song has become “instantly recognizable to many in the audience as music that sounds appropriate for a funeral,” according to a Star Trek scholar (I swear, it wasn’t me!!).
Now then, don’t we all feel a bit smarter?
Back to the music. The MODERN music, that is. I wish I had it to play for y’all, because when her playlist started we were all greeted with a cyborg voice announcing DJ Amazing Grace’s arrival to the studio and It. Was. Awesome. Our DJ gets sooooo many points for effort for having actually mixed her playlist like a real DJ, with transitions and everything! Though it wasn’t the precise playlist she’d planned on (darn stereo equipment!), we were all delighted with the tunes, new and old, that she so effortlessly stitched together. Behold for yourself those sweet, sweet sounds:
- Breathe – Telepopmusik
- Push the Feeling On – Night Crawlers
- Faith – Rozella
- Around the World – Daft Punk
- Sexy Back –Justin Timberlake
- Eyes Like Yours – Shakira
- Pump up the Jam – Technotronic
- I Got a Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
- She Wolf – Shakira
- Sexy Chick – Akon/David Guetta
- I Know You Want Me (Calle 8 ) – PitBull
- Barbara Streisand – Duck Sauce
- Boom Boom – Black Eyed Peas
- I Want to Rock You – Giorgio Moroder
- Strange – Amando Amargo
Thanks, DJ Amazing Grace, for making us all feel like Sexy Chicks. I know I want YOU…to DJ again for us real soon!