Fact Check


Published July 22, 2015


FACT CHECK:   Did Aerosmith's Steven Tyler defiantly offer a rendition of "Amazing Grace" after being told not to sing about Jesus?

Claim:   Aerosmith's Steven Tyler defiantly offered a rendition of "Amazing Grace" after being told not to sing about Jesus.


WHAT'S TRUE:   A rendition of Steven Tyler singing "Amazing Grace" was captured on video.

WHAT'S FALSE: The referenced performance took place just after Tyler was told not to sing about Jesus.

Example:     [Collected via e-mail, July 2015]

Was Steven Tyler told not to sing about Jesus? What was his response!?

Origins:    In July 2015, a video purportedly showing Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler singing "Amazing Grace" began circulating online. While many publications focused on Tyler's singing ability when they shared the video, others attempted to bring in extra views by using a clickbait title that claimed that singer's performance was an act of defiance after he was instructed not to sing about Jesus (presumably because "Amazing Grace" is a powerful spiritual song that doesn't actually reference Jesus by name):

Steven Tyler just shocked the nation with his performance of the most beautiful Christian song in history. This video is amazing!

Steven Tyler has been making headlines for his conversion from rock to country music, but his rendition of the classic gospel song, “Amazing Grace” is making jaws drop.

A few things should strike the viewer as odd about the above-displayed video. First, it's posited as a recent occurrence (related to his emergence as a country singer in mid-2015), but the video was taken in 2001. Second, the attached rumor maintains that Stephen Tyler gave this performance as an act of defiance after he was told not to sing about Jesus — but isn't the Aerosmith frontman performing in a church, the least likely setting in which someone might order him "not to sing about Jesus"?

According to a 23 July 2001 posting from Aerosmith News, the above-displayed performance of "Amazing Grace" took place during services at the Renaissance Unity Church (also known as the Church of Today) in Warren, Michigan:

As I posted on July 17, Steven went to The Church of Today while in Michigan last Sunday. Now, I've been informed that the service is broadcasted the following Sunday on local TV. Apparently it was really good. He sang "Lean on Me" and "Amazing Grace" and throughout different parts of the sermon Marianne Williamson referred to him and Aerosmith. He talked a little bit about how she has helped him with his sobriety, etc.

While it might seem improbable to fans who don't know Steven Tyler as anything other than the heavy-drinking, drug-using "Demon of Screamin'" who fronted Aerosmith, what's shown here is nothing more than a sincere and appropriate rendition of a very well known Christian hymn offered as part of a church service — an expression of faith, not an act of defiance. Last updated:      22 July 2015

Originally published:    22 July 2015

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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