From Down Under


Elvis: How Great Thou Art ?

    Part Three

 by Geoffrey Mc Donnell (Australia)


Sue McCasland © Las Vegas, NV March 30th,  1975 MS


1975 seemed to be Elvis’s year for getting back into performing the song again. He started off just a few times, then increased performances every tour until by the year ending it was almost performed at every show!.All 1975 versions are well performed- just some more ‘Dramatic’ or better performed than other times-by the time Fans heard him announce this song in 1975 they knew they would be in for a concert highlight and show stopping performance.


Las Vegas 1975  pre-Easter Season


30.3.75 D/S Sings My Go-od HGTA" So-oul and up high at the end of the song-great version!.Then Elvis reprises the ending So-o-oul to even greater heights

1.4.75 D/S Sings:-Go-od,HGTA my So-oul  ooh HGTA and up higher at the end-NOT reprised , but another Great excellent version.



Unknown photographer © March / April 1975 tour


Tour #1 1975           


30.4.75 says to Stamps ‘sing it’, Go-od,HGTA-not held, but goes up to a high note at the ending-good version.Great Voice! Good crowd approval for this version.How could Elvis have NOT performed this song in Atlanta!?

3.5.75 A/S Go-od,HGTA-not held, but goes up to a high note at the ending-good version.Great Voice!



George Hill © June 1st, 1975 matinee show


Tour #2 1975


1.6.75 A/S" sings Se-ee,my Go-od,HGTA So-oul,ooh HGTA- high ending good but not reprised.

4.6.75 ‘serious Gospel song'’-HGTA Se-ee, ( J.D'’S VOICE IS DEEP! ) my Goo-od,HGTA ooh HGTA  So-oul ,HGTA up high at end -reprise "–ooh HGTA lord HGTA-Elvis stretches himself on the 2nd ending.good.

5.6.75"Se-ee,Bo-ow,A-adoration,my Goo-od HGTA ( deep voice ),So-oul, ooh HGTA ( last 2 words held and higher ) -reprised "–and ooh,HGTA my So-oul,lord ooh HGTA higher and better version.

6.6.75 ‘serious Gospel song.' Se-ee,Goo-od HGTA So-oul  x2 HGTA last 2 words held-reprised-a-adoration, my Goo-ood! -good end.

7.6.75 A/S A ‘measured'’ version-Se-ee,a-adoration,Gooo-od,HGTA- soul-1 word,ooh HGTA up higher at the end-very good. no reprise.

7.6.75 E/S unavailable version.

8.6.75 A/S Triple ending ( 2nd repeat ending after a Policeman requested it! ) 1st ending emphasis’s So-oul and Elvis sings Goo-od  in HGTA last 3 words are ‘held’.1st reprise features HGTA with last 2 words ‘held’ and final 2nd reprise features So-oul x2 and again in HGTA last 2 words held and also Elvis’s voice goes up slightly higher at this ending-marvelous performance.(as heard on Fly Trouble CD)

8.6.75 E/S sings Se-ee,Bo-ow,a-adoration,my Goo-od HGTA So-oul,oooh HGTA last 2 words held and up reprise, but good version.(incomplete on CD of show)

10.6.75 sings Se-ee,bo-ow,Gooo-od ( loud! )," a-adoration,"HG ( deep )TA,So-oul twice,Lord HGTA,HGTA last 2 notes held,ending not as high as before though.-reprised my Gooo-od,HGr-eat,TA-lord HGTA So-oul up higher very good ending.Crowd appreciates the extra effort on this reprise.

The length and stretching out of his performance of the word ‘God’ now reaches new lengths! Elvis seems to be trying to make this an exclamation and ‘startling’ too.Some people find this bombastic/melodramatic to the extreme and far,far away from the 1966 version-however Elvis always made this song a show ‘highlight’ and in 1973 onwards it’s starting to REALLY stand out.


Harold J. Newton © Asheville, NC July 22nd, 1975 

Tour #3 1975



9.7.75 sings Se-ee,bo-ow,Goo-od(loud)HG ( deep )TA,Lord HGTA, So-oul HGTA –up high at the ending-good.Then reprised Goo-od,HG(deep)TA but to an average ending this time.

10.7.75 Se-ee,a-adoration,Goo-ood HG ( deep )TA So-oul and repeats the ending and holds the word God ( Goo-od )- and last 3 words,alarming some fans-good version.


12.7.75 A/S’unavailable'

12.7.75 E/S sings Se-ee,Goo-od, HG ( deep )TA,oh  Lord HGTA, yeah So-oul ,lord HGTA –up high at the ending-good.

13.7.75 A/S Gooo-ood! HGTA, however nothing at all ‘special’ in this version and below average for the whole tour.

13.7.75 E/S ‘do a Gospel song that we did in 1966 that features the Stamps Quartet :’sing it’-Goo-od, HGTA oh lord,lord-makes changes here and misses a few words.ok+ version.



19.7.75 E/S Elvis holds out exclamation ‘HOW GREAT’ for long time HGTA ( oh yeah )and reprises the ending as well-now this song is performed at every show till the end of the tour.

20.7.75 A/S Se-ee,Gooo-ood!,HG ( deep )TA,Soul-1 word,HGTA ( last 2 words held ),oh lord HGTA – good strong version with reprise ending again here.

20.7.75 E/S See-ee,Goo-ood,HGTA(strong),-reprise even stronger –a-adoration H Gree-aate TA.Really strong/dramatic version..


22.7.75 Gooo-ood,HG ( deep )TA,HGTA holds last 3 notes,good but not reprised.

23.7.75 another good version Se-ee,Goo-eod!,HG ( deep )TA, oh lord! HGre-ate TA. NO reprise.

24.7.75 “I’d like to do a Gospel song we did in 1966 featuring the Stamps Quartet” Se-ee,A-adoration,Goe-eod,oh Lord HGTA, HGTA-last 2 words held.Excellent version again with a reprise-the-en oh Lord HGTA last 2 words held receiving the best applause of the whole show so far.



Sandi Pichon © August 18th, 1975 opening show

Las Vegas  Summer 1975 Season


18.8.75 O/S My Go-oo-od,HG ( deep )TA,-finishes on a high note-good version.

19.8.75 D/S says it’s a Gospel song we get a lot of requests for:- Gooo-ood,HG ( deep )TA,goes higher to another good version.


How Great Thou Art- visually not many versions are ‘available’ to see of Elvis performing this song.He raises his right hand whilst singing ‘worlds thy hands have ma-ade’, I see the stars ( on this the lights are turned off ) Then light back on him as he sings again. End of the song he lowers himself leaning back-ward with both hands reaching up and ends on the high note.


Sue McCasland © December 15th, 1975 closing show


Las Vegas pre-Christmas Season-EVERY SHOW except 4/12 ( Bridge over instead )


2.12.75 O/S sings Se-ee,Goo-eod,HG ( deep )TA,Lord HGTA, HGTA –up high at the ending-good.Then reprised Goo-eod, HGTA to a great ending.

3.12.75 sings Se-ee,Goo-eod,HGTA,oh Lord HGTA, HGTA –up high not bad ending.reprised-Goo-eod, HGTA oh lord-ending just the same.

5.12.75 sings ma-ade,Se-ee,bo-ow,a-adoration,Goo-eod,HGTA,oh Lord HGTA-last 2 words held and up higher, -good.reprised Goo-eod,HG ( deep ) TA,Lord HGTA last note held again good version.

6.12.75 D/S ‘song we get a lot of requests for’,Se-ee,Goo-od,HGTA,Soul-1 word, oh lord HGTA ,HGTA last 2 words held not bad version.Reprised-oh lord Gooo-od HGTA –very good end.

6.12.75 M/S sings –Se-ee,a-adoration,Gooo-od,HGTA,HGTA up nice and high-excellent. Reprised-Goo-od HGTA oh lord ex finish.

7.12.75 says:-‘we get a lot of requests for’,Goooo-od,HGTA,HGTA-last 3 words held-not bad. .Reprised-Goo-eod HGTA-good end..

8.12.75 says:-‘we get a lot of requests for’,See-ee,bo-ow,Goooo-od,HG ( Deep )TA,-HGTA up higher-v.good.Reprised-Goo-eod HGTA ( deep )oh lord yeah sings my soul-excellent  finish.

9.12.75 says:-‘we get a lot of requests for’,Goooo-od,HG ( Deep )TA,oh Lord HGTA-not  bad end.Reprised  a-adoration, Goo-eod HG ( deep )TA oh yeah Lord sings my soul-better ending.

10.12.75 sung for Rex Humbard-present at the show.,See-ee,a-adoration,Goooo-od,HG ( Deep ) TA,oh Lord HGTA-high again -good- .Reprised-Goo-eod H Gre-eatTA-good end excellent version.

11.12.75 says:-‘we get a lot of requests for’,See-ee,Goooo-od,HG ( Deep )TA, oh Lord HGTA-HGTA up higher-good.last 2 words held good ending.

12.12.75 says:-‘we get a lot of requests for’,See-ee,a-adoration,Goooo-od,HG ( Deep ) TA, oh Lord H GreeatTA-HGTA up higher-good.Reprised-Goo-eod H Gre-eatTA-good finish.

13.12.75 D/S says:-‘we get a lot of requests for’,See-ee,a-adoration,Goooo-od,HG ( Deep ) TA,oh Lord ,lord H Gre-eatTA-not a bad ending up higher good.FTD show released,but NO reprise.

13.12.75 M/S says:-‘we get a lot of requests for’,See-ee,a-adoration,Goooo-od,HG ( Deep )TA,oh Lord H GreeatTA-HGTA up higher-good.again.Reprised-‘glad you like it,shall we attempt to do it again’,Goo-eod H Gre-eat ( deep ) TA-yeah good finish.

14.12.75 says:-‘we get  lots of requests for’,See-ee,a-adoration,Goooo-od,HG ( Deep ) TA,oh Lord H GreeatTA-HGTA up higher-good.Reprised-Goo-eod H Gre-eatTA-better/ex  finish.

15.12.75 Excellent all out version + reprise(where Elvis mentions it is no problem-just have to make sure my suit stays together-that’s all)Great Version.

Just a superb season for Elvis’s singing of HGTA and of cource his sheer ‘power’ of HGTA performances are just incredible.ALWAYS a big show highlight.



George Hill © December 31st, 1975  New Year's Eve show



31.12.75 says:-‘get a lot of requests for’, Sings See-ee,,Goooo-od,HG ( Deep )TA-fair end. Reprised saying he can do it better, Goo-eod HG ( deep )TA up higher-good, but doesn’t quite hold the last note.

 On Tour in  1976


Apart from the April tour HGTA is only usually performed between 1-3 times a tour, but again performed far, FAR better than most other songs in his 1976 ‘standard’ show- in fact surely if he sang it during his 1976 show it would raise the overall show to above average for 1976!.


17.3.76-performed more like an early 70’s version-Great Drum roll thunder and  Gooo-ood HGTA-real power, sung straight till the ending no emphasis on extending the word ‘great ‘at all.

20.3.76 A/S ‘We’d like to do a Gospel song for you-featuring the Stamps Quartet HGTA’mentions that the thunder went out ( Larry gives a great drum roll after ) after pausing here sings:-, Goo-ood,HGTA only-great power and volume here

20.3.76 E/S Se-ee,bo-ow,Goo-eod,HGTA, Lord HGTA ,Lord HGTA-last 2 words held and up higher-excellent best tour version so far this year. 



Harold J. Newton © Johnson City, TN  March 17th, 1976


21.4.76 sings:-Goo-eod,,My God!,My God! HGTA,how great x 1 only.a normal end to the song after this mega-dramatic start.VERY unusual and interesting version.

22.4.76 ’unavailable'

23.4.76 Gooo-eod,HG ( deep ) TA how great x 1 but seems to go up higher quite ok.


25.4.76 A/S Goo-eod,HGTA ( oh thank-you all ),2 x how greats, and ‘oh thank –you Lord’just before this good version.

25.4.76 E/S unfortunately talks during the start which lowers the quality.Goo-eod,HGTA-good, oh thank-you all, how great x 2 – ok version, but afternoon show is the better version.

26.4.76 ok performance 2 x how greats  b4 the ending.



Sue McCasland © Lake Tahoe, NV May 9th, 1976 closing show


Lake Tahoe Season 1976- at LAST regularly performed here!


30.4.76 D/S Goo-od,HGTA, 1 x how great only a fair version.

1.5.76 D/S Goo-od,HGTA-oh thank you all, how great x 1 only.fair version.

1.5.76 M/S –Elvis says he hopes to God he can hit that high note.-‘gotta sing from your shoe soles’,Sings:- Oh Lord when I’m Bored!-false start.Goo-od,HGTA –thank you Lord, how great x 1 only.ends up only a ‘fair’ result.

5.5.76 first there is NO rolling thunder drum roll!-Gooo-eod HG ( deep ) TA,-oh thank-you Lord,how great x 1  but ends up higher-quite good version.

6.5.76 Gooo-od,HG ( deep ) TA,, oh thank-you Lord, how great x1,but seems to end well up higher.Good.

7.5.76 D/S Goo-ood,HG ( deep ) TA,,oh thank-you all,stretches end and sings up higher-quite good.-rich voice.

7.5.76 M/S-cannot hear the drum rol?-Goo-eeod, ( V.GOOD! ),up high till end,oh thank-you all oh Lord,sings,sings my soul once only and up high-very good.

9.5.76 Goo-eod, Hgreat TA, rich deep voice.oh thank-you all, only 1 x how great, but WITH Reprise-Goo-eod, Hgreat TA ( better ), oh thank-you all x 2 and 1 time ending.

Whilst it’s great that HGTA is finally getting performed here and versions are mostly ‘good/very good’ his very best versions this year are not performed in Lake Tahoe.


28.5.76 Goo-eod, HGTA, x once only, just a clear sing good version-ok.

29.5.76  noted in track-listing for 29.6.76 show by Luca Barbonaglia



George Hill © Tulsa, OK July 4th, 1976 


4.7.76 Great Stamps backing!-Goo-od,HgreeatTA,,oh thank-you all,how great x 1,good version.

5.7.76 Goo-od,HGTA,how great x 2,good version.


31.7.76 this version silences the audience straight away!-Goo-od,HGTA,thank-you Lord,how great x once only. Av 76’ version but ok and MUCH better form than he holds the next day.


4.9.76 E/S Goo-od,HG ( deep ) TA,oh thank-you all,how great x 1,goes up higher to a great ending.

5.9.76 yeah their proclaim Hgreat TA,-not quite as overblown as usual and oh thank-you all,oh Lord, HGTA up higher, but not quite as good as yesterdays version.

8.9.76 Great deep voice,Goo-od,HG ( deep ) TA,thank-you all x 2, How Great x 2 also, explosive ending and the most powerful heard for quite a few months on tour.


23.10.76 Excellent rich voice, -‘sing it fellas’, Gooo-ood,HG ( deep ) TA,-how great x 2, strong ending and also ex version.

25.10.76 flowery piano playing, NO’sing it fellas-missed out’.,Goo-ood,HGTA, how great x 2, goes up well on last note-ex version.

26.10.76 ‘like to do a song we did in 1966 featuring the Stamps-your hands have madeGoo-od,-high up.oh thank-you all and how great x 2,ends up high-great!.


25.11.76-not available.

27.11.76 Goo-eod,HGTA, oh thank-you Lord, 3 x how great!, and THOU-held-great version.



Crazy Canuck © Las Vegas, NV December 5th, 1976 


Las Vegas December 1976 Season


3.12.76 M/S suggests this song to the audience first,-false start-you know-Goo-eod,HGTA oh thank-you all, soul,soul,3 x how great’s!- however only ‘fair’ version NOT as good as usual.

4.12.76 D/S ‘this show wouldn’t be complete unless we did HGTA’,you know,I see the stars,Gooo-eeod HG ( depth ) TA,-ex version  oh thank-you all x 2 and 3 x how greats , down on his knees at the end of this version for dramatic affect as seen on video. Excellent version.

5.12.76 ‘didn’t think the evening would be complete unless we did HGTA’, your hands were made –you know,Goo-eod,HG ( deep ) TA, x 4 how greats!

8.12.76 HGTA Gee-od,HGTA,3 x how greats, + decent ending –ok., but 4/12 is BEST Vegas version.


27.12.76 Goo-eood,HG ( Depth ) TA,-oh thank-you Lord, 3 x how greats and hear him on what must have been an excellent ending!


On Tour 1977


20.2.77 newspaper reviewed as THE show highlight.Goo-ood, HGTA,3 x how greats at end ,however can’t quite hear Elvis at the ending therefore average version. Strange to perform ‘well’ after a disastrous attempt at ‘Moody Blue!’.


23.3.77 This is the version that first impressed new band member Bobby Ogden.Goooo-ood,HGTA,yeah my savour ( just piano and Elvis ), 3 x how greats at end. Great version!.

27.3.77 Goo-od, HG ( depth ) TA,oh thank-you Lord, 2 x how greats,difficult to hear at end but version of ‘great depth’.Great show highlight before the introductions.

29.3.77 reviewed as ‘how loud thou art’, my Goo-od, HGTA- 2 x how greats, another great version and huge crowd applause.



Harold J. Newton © Greensboro, NC April 21st, 1977


21.4.77 deep J.D’s voice with Elvis- Gaoo-od, HGTA,2 x how greats, my tape ends here but seems like good version.


20.5.77 2 x how greats, oh thank-you Lord x2 ,but cannot quite hear Elvis at the end-fair version.


19.6.77 mentions it’s a Gospel song you’ve heard us do before ( referencing to the 22.4.76 version ) Stunning performance during which he seems to ‘WAKE UP’,features the Stamps Quartet on HGTA. how great  x 3 and  sings my Gooooo-oood!, Hgree-et TA,-as if chewing the meat to get the words out..Meaningfull last version. Performed on a Sunday. Hardly surprising that the Omaha show quality markedly improves after Elvis woke up during this song performance. As Elvis left Omaha and stared into the mid-western sky was he thinking My God How Great Thou Art? Because he seemed convincing during his great performance- it is a question TRUE fans of Elvis often think of him - Elvis How Great Thou Art.?

By the latter 1977 tours he seems content by performing it just once ONLY each version thus ‘rare’ and more ‘standout’ virtually ALL of these versions are without doubt a concert highlight and my goodness he could still sing! However Elvis felt during the concerts he always managed to dig deep into his inner strength and religious beliefs to perform this song well. Lucky that his final version was captured on film-clearly the biggest ‘highlight’ of his whole Omaha show.


My top 12 versions ( underlined ) NB 4 come from 1975 and 1976-showing how outstandingly he performed it during those years. Considering Elvis must have performed well in excess of 200+ live versions we are lucky to have this much to ‘review’ ALWAYS a concert highlight. Sung with him totally focused. Performed with similar conviction as best versions of “An American Trilogy”

With the exception of the 3 versions performed on 27.1.71 M/S, 28.9.74 and Tahoe 1.5.76 M/S at all other times Elvis treated his performance of the song with 100% serious sincerity and GREAT RESPECT. He may have sent up/kidded during ‘WHY ME LORD’ but rarely  if ever does HGTA get less than a decent/good performance. That’s why a show that contains HGTA in it will most times be a ‘good’ show. Their are a number of 1977 performances on Sundays noted and although ‘pure speculation’ maybe Elvis would have performed it during his forthcoming Sunday 21.8.77 show in Utica, New York ? or Indeed in Memphis at his closing tour show on Sunday 28th August 1977? Elvis How Great Thou Art?.