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'Amazing Grace' band omitted from special

April 9, 2007 at 9:57 PM   |   Comments

EDINBURGH, Scotland, April 9 (UPI) -- The hymn "Amazing Grace" is creating turmoil between the BBC and former members of Royal Scots Dragoon Guard, which many believe gave it global popularity.

A BBC program traces the hymn's history from its 18th century origins, through becoming an anthem in the fight against slavery, to versions recorded by U.S. folk singer Judy Collins and soul great Aretha Franklin. But the Edinburgh-based band was snubbed, The Scotsman said Monday

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards instrumental topped the charts in Britain and Australia after being recorded at Redford Barracks in 1971. Thirteen million copies were sold worldwide.

Guard member Pete Kerr, who said he was outraged at the pipers' omission in the special on slavery, said, "If it hadn't been for that recording, the song would not be the global success that it is today, no doubt about it."

Mel Jameson, the Army captain in charge of the band, said the program was well crafted, but it omitted "the most influential element."

A BBC spokeswoman said the program's producers, while aware of the guards' influence on the song, wanted to offer a broader range of musical interpretations.

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