How Great Thou Art (Elvis Presley album)

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How Great Thou Art
Elvis How Great Thou art.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 27, 1967
RecordedOctober 1960, May 1966
LabelRCA Victor
ProducerFelton Jarvis
Elvis Presley chronology
How Great Thou Art
Easy Come, Easy Go
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
MusicHound3.5/5 stars[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[3]
Rough Guides5/5 stars[4]

How Great Thou Art is the ninth studio album by American singer and musician Elvis Presley, released by RCA Victor in mono and stereo in February 1967. Recording sessions took place at RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 25, 26, 27, and 28, 1966.[5] It peaked at No. 18 on the Top Pop Albums chart.[6] It was certified Gold on February 16, 1968, Platinum and 2x Platinum on March 27, 1992 and 3x Platinum on October 13, 2010 by the RIAA.[7] The title song won the 1967 Grammy Award for Best Sacred Performance.[6]


His previous gospel album His Hand in Mine had been a solid catalog seller for RCA.[8] While Presley faced difficulty getting radio airplay in the mid-1960s, during that decade radio stations played Christmas music at Christmas-time and religious music at Easter, and Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was convinced Presley could break through in these niche markets.[8] So, recording sessions were arranged with the purpose of producing a Christmas single and a follow-up LP to His Hand in Mine.

How Great Thou Art would in fact be Presley's first non-soundtrack album recording of new material since Pot Luck with Elvis in 1962, and his first album release not to include any soundtrack recordings since the previous gospel album in 1960.[8] It also introduced producer Felton Jarvis to Presley on the singer's second non-soundtrack sessions since May 1963.[8] Jarvis would continue to work with Presley for the remainder of his career.

The church and its steeple featured on the cover is that of the First Church of Christ, located in Sandwich, Massachusetts.[9]


As the sessions for the album progressed, Elvis rejected many of the planned songs for which Freddy Bienstock had obtained publishing deals, and began picking favorites of his own and those of the musicians.[8] The five songs in the public domain were credited as "arranged by Elvis Presley" and published by Elvis Presley Music allowing Bienstock to secure the royalties for those selections.[8] In fact, it is likely that an engaged and enthusiastic Presley indeed did the arrangements, as he certainly did with the title song, his months of practice at home on his beloved gospel songs paying off.[8]

Twelve tracks were completed for the album, including the standards "In the Garden" from 1912 popularized by Billy Sunday and "Run On" from the jubilee tradition.[8] The 13th track, "Crying in the Chapel," had been recorded during the sessions for His Hand in Mine and released as a single in 1965.[8] The sessions also produced the single "Love Letters", two B-sides, and two additional songs that would be added to the Spinout album.[8] The Christmas single would be completed, a composition by Memphis Mafia mainstay Red West "If Every Day Was Like Christmas", at the next session on June 10.[8]


In 2008, Sony Music reissued for compact disc a remastered version of the album with three bonus tracks. Two had been released as a single in 1968, the hit side Presley's stab at "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel barely making the Billboard Hot 100, with the third track a leftover from the sessions at American Sound Studio in 1969 and issued on a budget album in 1971.[8]

The album was re-released in 2010 on the Follow That Dream label as a two-disc set with outtakes.[10]

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."How Great Thou Art"Stuart K. HineMay 25, 19663:00
2."In the Garden"C. Austin MilesMay 26, 19663:11
3."Somebody Bigger Than You and I"Hy Heath, Sonny Burke, Johnny LangeMay 27, 19662:25
4."Farther Along"Traditional; arranged by Elvis PresleyMay 26, 19664:04
5."Stand By Me"Traditional; arranged by Elvis PresleyMay 25, 19662:26
6."Without Him"Mylon LeFevreMay 27, 19662:27
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
1."So High"Traditional; arranged by Elvis PresleyMay 26, 19661:56
2."Where Could I Go But to the Lord"James B. CoatsMay 27, 19663:36
3."By and By"Traditional; arranged by Elvis PresleyMay 26, 19661:49
4."If the Lord Wasn't Walking by My Side"Henry SlaughterMay 27, 19661:36
5."Run On"Traditional; arranged by Elvis PresleyMay 25, 19662:21
6."Where No One Stands Alone"Mosie ListerMay 25, 19662:42
7."Crying in the Chapel"Artie GlennOctober 31, 19602:24

2008 reissue bonus tracks[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Recording dateLength
14."You'll Never Walk Alone"Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard RodgersSeptember 11, 19672:43
15."We Call On Him"Fred Karger, Sid Wayne, Ben WeismanSeptember 11, 19672:31
16."Who Am I?"Charles Rusty GoodmanFebruary 22, 19692:07

"Crying in the Chapel" was released as a single (RCA 47-0643) on April 6, 1965 and reached number 3 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. "You'll Never Walk Alone" was released as a single (RCA 47-9600) in March 1968 and reached position 90. Its B-side is "We Call On Him".

2010 Follow That Dream reissue[edit]

Disc One
Original album
1."How Great Thou Art"3:02
2."In the Garden"3:11
3."Somebody Bigger Than You and I"2:27
4."Farther Along"4:06
5."Stand by Me"2:29
6."Without Him"2:32
7."So High"1:59
8."By and By"3:38
9."Where Could I Go but To the Lord"1:52
10."If the Lord Wasn't Walking by My Side"1:38
11."Run On"2:23
12."Where No One Stands Alone"2:44
13."Crying in The Chapel"2:28
Bonus songs
14."You'll Never Walk Alone"2:46
15."We Call on Him"2:34
16."If Everyday Was Like Christmas"2:57
First takes
17."How Great Thou Art" (takes 1 & 2)3:31
18."Somebody Bigger Than You and I" (takes 1,3,11)4:31
19."Stand by Me" (takes 1 & 2)2:55
20."Without Him" (take 1)3:04
21."So High" (take 1)2:16
22."By and By" (take 4)1:53
23."If the Lord Wasn't Walking by My Side" (take 1)1:53
24."Run On" (takes 1 & 2)4:51
25."Where No One Stands Alone" (takes 1 & 4 spliced)3:07
26."You'll Never Walk Alone" (take 1)5:35
27."We Call on Him" (takes 1 & 2)2:55
Disc two
May 1966 sessions
1."Run On" (takes 3-6)5:01
2."Stand by Me" (takes 5-7)3:43
3."Stand by Me" (takes 9 & 10)4:19
4."Where No One Stands Alone" (takes 2, 3 & wp 1)4:42
5."Where No One Stands Alone" (wp takes 2, 3 & 5)2:22
6."So High" (takes 2 & 3)2:21
7."Farther Along" (takes 1& 2)3:57
8."By and By" (takes1, 2, 3, 4 (fs), 5 & 7)4:28
9."By and By" (takes 8 & 9)2:33
10."In the Garden" (takes 1-3)5:03
11."Somebody Bigger Than You and I" (take 12)2:42
12."Somebody Bigger Than You and I" (takes14 (fs), 15 & wp 5)4:39
13."Without Him" (takes 4 & 8)2:49
14."Without Him" (takes 11, 13 & 14)4:35
15."If the Lord Wasn't Walking by My Side" (takes 2-4)3:04
16."If the Lord Wasn't Walking by My Side" (take 6)1:49
June 1966 sessions
17."If Every Day Was Like Christmas" (takes 1 & 2, undubbed master)3:27
September 1966 sessions
18."We Call on Him" (takes 4 & 5)3:11
19."We Call on Him" (take 7)2:48
20."We Call on Him" (take 8)2:36
21."You'll Never Walk Alone" (take 2)3:54
22."You'll Never Walk Alone" (takes 3, 4, 6 & 8)4:47




Year Chart Position
1967 Billboard Pop Albums 1

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[11] 3 x Platinum 3,000,000^

See also[edit]


  1. ^ How Great Thou Art at AllMusic
  2. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. pp. 892. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "Elvis Presley: Album Guide". Archived from the original on September 18, 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  4. ^ Simpson, Paul (2004). The Rough Guide to Elvis. London: Rough Guides. p. 129. ISBN 1-84353-417-7.
  5. ^ Lichter, Paul (1978). The Boy Who Dared To Rock: The Definitive Elvis. Garden City, NJ: Doubleday. pp. 167, 175. ISBN 0-385-12636-0.
  6. ^ a b Awards for How Great Thou Art at AllMusic
  7. ^ "Searchable database". RIAA. 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2015. Note: Go to advanced search and enter "Presley, Elvis" (artist) and "How Great Thou Art" (album name)
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; pp. 203-420.
  9. ^ "Sandwich Massachusetts for Couples". Cape Cod for Couples. 2011. Archived from the original on August 27, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
  10. ^ Sources:
  11. ^ "American album certifications – Elvis Presley – How Great Thou Art". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]