Dolly Parton’s ‘Amazing Grace’ Could Become Tennessee’s State Hymn
Politicians in Tennessee are advocating for Dolly Parton's rendition of "Amazing Grace" to become the state's official hymn.
Rep. Mike Sparks and Sen. Raumesh Akbari recently filed House Bill 938 petitioning for the move. The bill recognizes the hymn, written by John Newton in 1772, as one of the "songs of historic significance that have influenced this state," and cites it as "one of the most celebrated songs in modern history."
"It is appropriate that this body should formally recognize "Amazing Grace" as a state song," the lawmakers write, also noting that, in addition to Parton, several artists with connections to Tennessee have recorded their own renditions of the song. The country legend was born and raised in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, but Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley -- both of whom were born in Memphis -- as well as country icons Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and others have also performed it.
The bill arrived after Parton rejected a different bill, from Rep. John Mark Windle, which proposed that a statue would be erected in her honor at the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville.
"I am honored and humbled by their intention, but I have asked the leaders of the state legislature to remove the bill from any and all consideration. Given all that is going on in the world, I don't think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time," Parton wrote in a statement on the matter. "I hope, though, that somewhere down the road, several years from now or perhaps after I'm gone, if you still feel I deserve it, then I'm certain I will stand proud in our great State Capitol as a grateful Tennessean. In the meantime, I'll continue to try to do good work to make this great state proud."
Parton received her first of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Tuesday (March 2). The star made headlines in 2020 when she donated $1 million to Vanderbilt's COVID-19 research initiatives, which contributed to the development of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine -- the same one that Parton received.
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