Music: Piping Hot

Rules for creating a hit record in the pop field: find a snappy melody for the Now Generation. Add socially aware lyrics. Dress the song up in a razzle-dazzle instrumental sound. To make the Top 40 charts nowadays, a producer must follow all of these prescriptions—or none. To wit: RCA's new release of Amazing Grace. It is a most un-snappy, 200-year-old American hymn tune, performed on that ancient instrument, the bagpipe. It is also No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week and has sold 1,200,000 copies throughout the world in the past eight weeks, more than 300,000 of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!