History: 50 years to the Month Since ‘Amazing Grace’ Took the World by Storm

The above cutting is from the Scottish Daily Express newspaper and readers will see it is dated April 11, 1972. Younger generations will be unaware of the seismic effect the success of this recording had on the public’s perception of the bagpipe and its music. It still resonates today, half a century later.

The report reads: ‘The march of the Royal Scots Dragoon to No. 1 in the Top Twenty is only one step from success. Their chart-busting pipes and drums version of Amazing Grace stands at No. 2 this morning – poised for the pop sensation of the ‘seventies.

‘And in West Germany, where the band is planning a military ‘rave-up’ to celebrate, it was revealed yesterday that a top-secret follow-up record is planned for the summer.

‘Said Band President Major Charles Ramsay: “We’re giving nothing way, but we are working on one or two plans.”

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‘Amazing Grace is outselling the current No 1 ‘Without You’ by Nilsson by 10,000 copies a day. And pop experts predict a certain takeover by Friday.

‘The amazing success story has delighted regimantal ‘brass’ in Germany, at headquarters in Edinburgh and at Redford Barracks.

‘At the baracks Captain Melville Jamieson said: ‘Everyone is waiting for the band to make the top. It’s a wonderful thing for us.’

‘But amid the celebrations yesterday, the man behind the idea, Scots record producer Pete Kerr, revealed that the record might never have been made.

‘”I had to persuade RCA to let me do it because they didn’t think it had much potential,” he said. “I had recorded the Scots Grey’s pipe and military bands on two LPs and when news of the amalgamation with the Welsh Caribiniers came through the CO, Lt. Col. Blacklock, asked if it would be possible to do an LP featuring both bands playing some of the tunes associated with both regiments.”

‘It was the single track taken from the LP [Amazing Grace] which sparked off the controversial ‘who played the solo mystery’.

P/M Tony Crease, the man whose idea it was to record Amazing Grace and who played the solo.

‘When it was made the band was under Pipe Major Jim Pryde, now retired, whose name appears on the sleeve. But the idea to play Amazing Grace came from his successor Pipe Major Tony Crease.

‘And on the track, although Pipe Majpr Pryde was playing with the band, the solo was by Pipe Major Crease.

‘In Germany Major Ramsay said: “Everyone gets credit for the success of the record. We are aware that Pipe Major Pryde has appeared on television but he is due his share of credit. Just now we are planning a big party for the bandsmen and their friends.”

‘One of the band’s top fans is BBC disc jockey Alan Freeman. he said: “I don’t see it as the pop sound of the 70s…but this record is the greatest.”

2 thoughts on “History: 50 years to the Month Since ‘Amazing Grace’ Took the World by Storm

  1. There was a row between Crease and Pryde in one of the past issues of the PT on who should have the credit for the recording.

  2. I remember the late 1970s when I was a boy visiting the ‘Militärmusikschau’ in Münster (Germany), my hometown, for several years with my parents and my elder brother. Grown up with the British Army these annual shows were an absolute highlight for me and I am quite sure that Amazing Grace, played by the Pipes And Drums, meanwhile had become an inherent part of the show. However, the sound of the pipes caught me for life and the army PD corps, that brought the pipes to Germany, are the reason why I became a piper.
    Nice story aside: P/M Dixie Ingram served in Münster (Waterloo Barracks) for many years in the 70s and 80s and I watched him playing in the shows. We talked and laughed about this some years ago when he taught at Breuberg Castle and we played side by side.

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