Amazing Grace is a live gospel album by Aretha Franklin recorded in January 1972 at the New Temple Missionary Baptish Church in LA., Reverend James Clevland and the Southern California Community Choir accompanyed Franklin in electrifying performance and the recording was originally released as a double album in 1972.
The album was a big success, selling over two million copies in the US alone. It also won Franklin the 1973 Grammy for Best Soul Gospel Performance. It stands as THE biggest selling record of Franklin’s long recording career as well as the highest-selling live gospel music album of all time.
Amazing Grace is also a documentary/concert film directed by the late Sydney Pollack for Warner Bros., and was set to be released as part of a double bill with Super Fly in 1972. However, Pollack was unable to complete the film because he had not used a clapper to synch the picture with sound at the beginning of each take and the film ended up in the studio vaults for over 38 years. Before Pollack’s death in 2008, he turned the footage over to producer Alan Elliott, who after two years succeeded in synchronizing the picture and sound and completing the film.[
Elliott planned to release the film in 2011, but was prevented from doing so when Franklin sued him for using her likeness without her permission. But Franklin’s original contract for the film was later discovered at Warner Bros., and Elliott planned to show the film at film festivals. But Franklin once again sued and was granted an emergency injunction against the Telluride Film Festival screening, saying she had not given permission to screen the footage.
Franklin issued a statement saying,
“Justice, respect and what is right prevailed and one’s right to own their own self-image.”
Due to the ongoing litigation, the film was then removed from the schedules of both the Chicago and Toronto festivals too.
That film was FINALLY just released and is playing now.
(Photo, screen grab)