From Down Under


Elvis: How Great Thou Art ?

    Part Two

 by Geoffrey Mc Donnell (Australia)


J.A.T. Publishing © Las Vegas, NV January 1972

Las Vegas Winter Season 1972 :

I reckon that this song MUST have been performed during this long January/February 1972 Vegas season, but with the details of just so many shows ‘unknown’ many versions performed must be ‘lost’ of this song. 

On Tour April 1972 :

Performed throughout 1972 and again mainly different now with his pronunciation of the words Soul and holding the last word of the song art. In rehearsals for ‘ On tour ’ Elvis would sing ‘ Nearer my God to Thee ’ which was another Gospel ‘ highlight ’. 

7.4.72 unfortunately my tape of this show suffers ‘cut’ and to this song!.

9.4.72 A/S – Nice version seems straightforward like on 7th.Elvis emphasizes the word Soul by singing it in 2 sylables as So-oul –slightly extended and HGTA is held and part syllable repeated-another good simple version.

9.4.72 E/S – Introduced as a gospel song we did in 1966.Elvis does a 2 syllable version of See-ee then shouts-no notes held except So-oul and x 2 Aaaaart- HELD- nice version.

11.4.72 – unfortunately this is cut VERY early on my tape so cannot review this version.

16.4.72 E/S – This is a ‘straight’ sung version with no notes held and NOT overblown-good.

17.4.72 – Tonight Elvis uses an extra word singing “World’s that thy hands have made-HGTA ,So-oul,HGTA STRONG END very good version.

18.4.72 – Elvis sings See-ee and Soul as 1 word, then So-oul the 2nd time and HGTA up high at the end in a pretty good standard version.

19.4.72 – Sings HGTA and So-oul before my tape cuts out on a good sounding version.


Spring Fever Fan Club Of  Canada © June 9th, 1972

On Tour June 1972 : 

13.6.72 – This version is Excellent, committed and HGTA sung once,NO repeat end.

17.6.72 A/S – A very good version with See-ee and So-oul x 2 and a measured performance up to a ‘fair’ ending of HGTA.   

18.6.72 reprise ending for the first time this year!. Elvis sings See-ee,HGTA, So-oul, How Great ( held a bit )  until it blends into Art!After a great end he actually reprises the ending singing holding the last 3 words again to a good end.

20.6.72 – performed but no version available for review.


Las Vegas Summer 1972 Season : 

18.8.72 D/S – Sung just before closing the show, Elvis sings See-ee,Ro-olling, Bo-ow and So-oul x2 at the end HGTA the last 2 words are held and this is a pretty good version throughout.

19.8.72 D/S – Sung straight throughout, So-oul x 2 and final singing of HGTA gets Aaaaaaart!- HELD in a good straight version.


Photographer unknown © November 18th, 1972 evening show

November 1972 Tour : 

Here it is sung at every show, and as a result ( not surprisingly considered for the January ‘Aloha show’ ) 

8.11.72 –sung as the 2nd song before the introductions this version unavailable for review.

9.11.72 –Elvis introduces the song by saying “We’d like to do a Sacred number we did a few years ago” sings Se-eee, I, I  shall bow So-oul x 2 and HGTA last note held again and then reprised to a similar quality ending again.

10.11.72 – performed but no version available for review.

11.11.72 –sings :- Se-eee,MY GOD – more startling here, and So-oul and again HGTA last word held to a very warm audience applause. Good version.

12.11.72 – Sings :- Ma-ade,Se-eee,,So-oul and reprised version of oooh, So-oul HGTA- high ending and a VERY good version.

13.11.72 performed after I’ll Remember You.Sings Se-eee,bo-ow-a-addoration HGTA,So-oul and HGTA last 2 notes ‘held’.An ‘ok’ version for this tour with the ending reprised again So-oul and higher at the end to a ‘good’ ending.

14.11.72- Sings Se-ee,Bo-ow,a-adoration.HGTA and So-oul twice to an up higher ending-ok.

15.11.72 - Sings Se-ee,Bo-ow,.HGTA –last 2 words held,  better end note held by Elvis – ‘good.’

17.11.72 – Great singing by J.D. Sumner Sings So-oul twice  and HGTA last 2 words held  up high-good!.-reprised again So-oul and again a good end.

18.11.72 A/S - Sings Se-ee,Bo-ow,.HGTA and So-oul twiceHGTA last 2 words held and up higher, but NO Reprise.

18.11.72 E/S - Sings Se-ee,Bo-ow,.HGTA and So-oul twice HGTA last 2 words held to an ok/good end.


Las Vegas Winter 1973 Season : 

5.2.73 M/S - Sings GOD.HGTA and So-oul twice –HGTA nice ending, pretty good performance ‘measured’ not overdone.

11.2.73 D/S Sings GOD.HGTA and So-oul twice –HGTA nice high ending, pretty good except his voice sounds ‘watered down NOT able to perform at full strength.

18.2.73 D/S (speculated only-NO show or track-list available)


Photographer unknown © Anaheim, CA April 23rd, 1973

April 1973 Tour : 

Elvis starting to extend more words into 2 syllables now and often performing VERY, VERY good versions throughout 1973. 

22.4.73- Sings Se-ee,Bo-ow,oh my God!So-oul.HGTA  nice high at end ( great audience applause ) –reprised-So-oul, HGTA – held good.

23.4.73- Sings  So-oul-HGTA-holds last word-ok, but his voice sounds ‘weak’.

24.4.73- ‘one of our favorite songs’Sings Se-ee, Ro-olling Thunder.So-o-oul twice and HGTA with last 3 words held.Good, better than yesterdays version.

25.4.73 A/S- unavailable.

25.4.73 E/S- unavailable, but Press reports say that was a better version than the A/S and the end was reprised.

26.4.73-  unavailable

29.4.73 E/S- Sings  See-ee,So-oul-twice HGTA-holds last 2 words to an up high ending-good.

30.4.73-  unavailable

NO ‘Known’ Performances during his 1973 Lake Tahoe Season.

June/July 1973 Tour : 

20.6.73- ‘ a song we did in 1966 Sings Se-ee, HGTA So-oul,HGTA –last 2 words held,  better end note held by Elvis – ‘good.’Reprised with first 2 words ‘held’ to a VERY good ending!.

21.6.73-  unavailable

24.6.73- Sings.HGTA and So-oul twice HGTA last 2 words held –last part reprised -   So-oul   HGTA  -up higher better/good ending.

25.6.73- Sings Se-ee,So-oul,.HGTA (held)and last part reprised So-oul  HGTA last 2 words held to an ok/better ending.

26.6.73 ( VERY poor quality recording ) - Sings So-oul twice HGTA last 2 words held –average for this tour and NO reprise.

27.6.73- Sings So-oul twice HGTA last 2 words held –average for this tour and again NO reprise.

28.6.73- unavailable

29.6.73- Sings HGTA So-oul twice HGTA last 2 words held – reprised and HGTA up higher-better ending.

30.6.73 A/S- Sings bo-ow-HGTA-held,good ‘one more time?’ reprised So-oul and HGTA ex ending.

30.6.73 E/S- Sings ma-a-de bo-ow HGTA So-oul twice HGTA last 2 words held – av for tour then reprised (want to hear it again?)and HGTA up slightly better ending ok.

1.7.73 A/S- Sings Se-ee,bo-ow, a-adoration HGTA So-oul twice HGTA last word held – to an excellent  ending.

1.7.73 E/S- unavailable

2.7.73- unavailable

3.7.73- sung before H.Dog Sings HGTA So-oul twice oooh HGTA   held – reprised ( as the crowd are going nuts ) and  So-o-oul  an ok end again but not the best version this tour.


Ed Bonja © Las Vegas NV, August / September 1973

Las Vegas Summer 1973 Season : 

6.8.73 O/S ‘ This features the Stamps Quartet ’ - Sings Se-ee HGTA So-oul twice HGTA last 2 words held – reasonable end-only a fair /reasonable version.

8.8.73 D/S- Sings See-ee-HGTA So-oul twice HGTA last 2 words held – up high-ok version.

14.8.73 D/S- Sings HGTA So-oul twice HGTA strong ending-fast,but good version.

18.8.73 M/S - Sings Se-ee,bo-ow HGTA So-oul twice HGTA last 2 words held – fair result, not that good but ok.

19.8.73 M/S- Sings ma-ade, So-oul HGTA So-oul twice HGTA last 2 words held – fair ending ,not the best.

20.8.73 M/S- Sung for Bob Hope Sings Se-ee HGTA So-oul twice HGTA good end, but again not quite so high-still good and a nice soundboard release at the time from ‘ Fort Baxter ’.

26.8.73 M/S- Sings HGTA So-oul  HGTA ok version for the season– reprised and HGTA up higher-much better ending.

27.8.73 M/S- Sings See-ee my God! HGTA - HGTA last 2 words held – not bad version!.

28.8.73 D/S- Sings ma-ade, Se-ee, a-adoration HGTA So-oul twice HGTA average ok version.

28.8.73 M/S- Sings Se-ee.HGTA So-oul twice HGTA last 3 words held –  good version in rich voice.

29.8.73 M/S- Sings bo-ow HGTA So-oul twice HGTA last  word held – and sung up high-not bad!.

30.8.73 D/S- Sings/talks about microphone at the start ruining this version. HGTA So-oul HGTA last 3 words held and up high – reprised to a much-better/good ending.

30.8.73 M/S- Sings Se-ee,Ro-olling bo-ow HGTA So-oul  HGTA up higher at end-great! then reprised to an even -better ending FANTASTIC!.

31.8.73 D/S- Sings God HGTA So-oul twice HGTA up high at end –  very good louder HGTA.

31.8.73 M/S- ‘ wanna hear HGTA? Sings ma-ade,Se-ee HGTA So-oul twice HGTA last 2 words held –  good version.

1.9.73 D/S- Sings Se-ee HGTA So-oul  HGTA last 3 words held up VERY high– reprised and HGTA up higher-again ending-good version.

1.9.73 M/S- Sings Se-ee HGTA So-oul HGTA last 2 words held up high– reprised and HGTA up higher-better ending superb again!.

2.9.73 3AM- Sings ma-ade,Se-ee HGTA So-oul twice HGTA up high –very good – reprised and HGTA great ending again.

2.9.73 D/S- Sings Se-ee,Bo-ow HGTA So-oul twice HGTA last 2 words held good–‘want us to do it again?’reprised So-oul and HGTA good ending again.

2.9.73 M/S- Sung after Elvis says he doesn’t care what the hotel ‘likes’. HGTA So-oul twice HGTA last  word held (aaaart) – reprised ‘lets do it again’and HGTA up higher-better/good ending.

3.9.73 D/S- Sings Se-ee HGTA So-oul twice HGTA last 2 words held up high and good.

3.9.73 M/S- - Sings HGTA So-oul  HGTA up high at end-good’do it again?’ – reprised and So-o-oul HGTA up slightly-better 2nd ending. Unusually Elvis says he’ll sing all night and does a 2nd reprise ending oooh HGTA So-oul-excellent finish! This was arguably Elvis’s best performance from the whole closing show.

Las Vegas Summer 1973 was Elvis’s season for performing it and particularly by the end he seems to be pushing himself to sing it better and better! Great versions performed this Season!Now he likes breaking up See,Bow,Soul  into 2 sylable words and ending going up for the skies on the last note. 

NO Versions performed in Las Vegas Winter 1974 season! 


Sean Shaver © Memphis,TN March 20th, 1974


 March 1974 Tour : 

Sung throughout 1974 and although NO Tahoe version has ever been ‘ known ’ it must be considered possible? Certainly no evidence has come about of it being performed in the short May tour or the longer June tour.So bearing this in mind it was less favoured to be performed in 1974. It’s Well sung and indeed he later won a Grammy for his version at the Memphis 20.3.74 concert.To me he sings HGTA well in 1974, but somehow not quite as strongly as 1973 or 1975, however all versions would have to be considered good apart from the last tour versions of the year. 

3.3.74 A/S-performed after ‘ Help Me ’ ,’Another one of my favorite Gospel songs’ words aren’t held Elvis just raises his volume but goes up higher at the end. A reprise is an improvement to a satisfying version.

9.3.74 A/S- unavailable

11.3.74- unavailable

13.3.74-    Unavailable, but reported.  

20.3.74-‘ one of my favorite Gospel songs ’ Sings My God  HGTA .HGTA  -fair ending only.– reprised and HGTA up higher-better ending again!. Since being re-released by FTD the voice mixing has improved my appreciation of this version and worthy of the Grammy award given to Elvis for it. Original mix wasn’t so good. It’s certainly a good version. 

NO Known Lake Tahoe/Tour Versions in May 74.  NO Known June versions either.


Las Vegas Summer 1974 Season : 

28.8.74 D/S'’like to do a song we get a lot of requests for'’- I ,I shall Bo-ow,HGTA-sung straight.So-oul-nice ending which he lets the Sweets do.

28.8.74 M/S’Sung in rich voice-‘‘ sing it '’ My God!-sung straight.So-oul- sung twice.Goes up at the at the end to a good version.

29.8.74 D/S " God- "sung straight,So-o-oul, oooh HGTA- good version(as on FTD It’s Midnight CD.) 

29.8.74 M/S  sung straight,So-o-oul, twice HGTA- goes up at end ok version "sung right after throwing away ‘oldies'’ in the show

30.8.74 D/S ‘ sing it fellas '’, God-sung straight,So-oul x 2 and up higher at the end-Good version

30.8.74 M/S Go-od,and So-oul x 2," talks during the song,Go-od,and So-oul x 2,"and sings up high at the end. Then reprised to an equally good ending. CD '"‘Midnight in Vegas'’

31.8.74 D/S Elvis seems to get the words mixed up at the start,I, I shall bow, Go-od HGTA.-yeah HGTA –rushed ok only. This version may well be the poorest version of this season- sung b4 closing the show.

31.8.74 M/S straight, but ok version.I,I shall bo-ow, my Go-od –very similar to 30.8.74 M/S version.

2.9.74 D/S ‘like to do a serious song we did HGTA’, I shall bo-ow my Go-od HGTA my So-oul twice, up high at the end and still good despite his voice being stretched today on this.

Noted this season that Elvis is now breaking up the word ‘ God ’ and stretching out this word.


Sean Shaver © Indianapolis, IN. October 5th 1974 matinee

September/October 1974 tour : 

27.9.74 This version runs for 2'43" and isn't bad! At first Elvis sounds 'fine' and after the Stamps sing their part Elvis sings So-oul, my Savour,Savour and Go-e-od HGTA, here he sounds /slightly/ unsure of himself and not at full power.At the ending however Elvis sounds strong and ends in great voice! A Decent version and far better than the abysmal version on 28th September.

28.9.74 Elvis says " I shall attempt to blow Ed Enoch of the stage here’,Elvis saying that Ed Enoch sings it better than anyone he knows-yet he is condescending saying to Ed during the song' do the best you can Ed', Elvis is easily out-performed by the Stamps Quartet.Elvis sounds '‘ hoarse '’and his voice actually ‘cracks’ during the reprise.Lousy version.

5.10.74 E/S-reported.

None of my all time Favorite Versions come from 1974.The song is still performed VERY WELL, but somehow his voice lost part of it’s power in 1974 and that’s why I miss choosing any ‘memorable’ versions from this year.   


Part Three ( Coming Soon )