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Essay: Lee Greenwood and John Newton, composers

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  • Subject area(s): Photography and arts essays
  • Reading time: 3 minutes
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  • Published: September 9, 2015*
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  • Words: 642 (approx)
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  • Lee Greenwood and John Newton, composers
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Lee Greenwood and John Newton are two composers that have written great works of art. Lee Greenwood is famous for the song “God Bless the USA” while John Newton wrote “Amazing Grace”. When choosing a composer to research I picked these two men because of what they songs they composed mean to me and make me feel. I have grown up with knowing the song “Amazing Grace” but did not know anything about the man who composed it or why he was compelled to write this hymn. The same for “God Bless the USA”, Lee Greenwood will always be remembered for this song but I always wanted to know why he wrote it.

Lee Greenwood is a California native born in October 27, 1947.Lee Greenwood has always had music in his life. He was in the band in high school that played pop, jazz, rhythm and Blues but eventually made his way to Nashville playing country music. Lee plays the drums, piano, saxophone, trumpet, banjo, timpani and vocals. Lee did not attend college for technical musical training, he played many different places including Nevada eventually moving his way to Nashville. Lee writes mostly country at this time but has in the past used his pop, jazz and rhythm and blues background to write songs. Many songs have been written by Lee Greenwood including: ” I.O.U.”, ” Somebody’s Gonna Love You” and ” Dixie Road”. Lee comes from a farming family and still helps out on the farm but his main source of income is music. The married the love of his life Kim and they had two boys Dalton and Parker. He is a “conservative Christian”. Lee has some significant honors in country music including Male Vocalist in 1983 & 1984 from the Country Music Association, Grammy for top Male Performance of “I.O.U.”. and in 2001 one about 18 years after he wrote “God Bless the USA” the song went number one on the pop charts (http://www.leegreenwood.com/biography).

John Newton was born in London England on July 24, 1725. John composed hymns later in life while he was ships in his younger years. John self taught himself after he left boarding school. John was also a preacher in the evangelical church. He married Mary, a women he had loved since he was a young man. While they did not have children of their own they raised their nieces. John wrote ” Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken”, ” Sinner Art thou still secure?” and ” Saved by Blood I Live to Tell” just to name a few. John was a strong advocate to abolish slavery in his later years while he did run a slave ship when he was younger.

Lee Greenwood and John Newton have several similarities. Both men have a sing relationship with their faith in God. John became an evangelical preacher and Lee is a Baptist. Lee and John have ties to the military. Lee Greenwood’s father was in the merchant Marines and Navy, this could be one of the reasons he felts so compelled to write “God Bless the USA”. Johns was in the British Navy as a young man. Throughout his stay in the Navy John has seen many different circumstances. Both men married women that were and are the loves of their lives, Lee married Kim and John married Mary.

With as many similarities that the two man had with each other they also has many differences. John was in the era of slavery. He was one of the front runners supporting to abolish slavery. Lee Greenwood was not around during this time. John Newton was a writer of hundreds of hymns while Lee Greenwood stuck with country and pop songs. John Newton’s mother died and his father remarried while Lee’s parents were divorced. Lee Greenwood also has a sister while John was an only child.

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