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How Great Thou Art

A Tribute to George Beverly Shea (1909 - 2013) 

Please see a short bio, lyrics, and story behind How Great Thou Art following the embedded YouTube videos.

George Beverly Shea - Then Sings My Soul

Bill Gaither interviews George Beverly Shea on his 98th birthday.

Use the following YouTube link if the embedded video will not play:

https://youtu.be/DmZ7SlYoB4E

 

George Beverly Shea - First Sang How Great Thou Art in 1957 @ Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.

Use the following YouTube link if the embedded video will not play:

https://youtu.be/kUUm_I6-s3s

George Beverly Shea - How Great Thou Art ( New York, N.Y. 1969 ) 

Use the following YouTube link if the embedded video will not play:

https://youtu.be/dsrEscUUNMA

How Great Thou Art - George Beverly Shea

Cliff Barrows directs the giant choir, while Shea delivers a powerful performance of the classic song, How Great Thou Art

Use the following YouTube link if the embedded video will not play:

https://youtu.be/HcYvLvhgwJU

George Beverly Shea sings The Wonder of It All for which he wrote words and music.

Bev also shares his testomy of Just As I Am  and talks about his new book How Sweet the Sound.

Hymn History: The Wonder of it All

Also on the video's playlist:

I'd Rather Have Jesus
Sweet Hour of Prayer
Count Your Blessings
George Beverly Shea Music Collection

Use the following YouTube link if the embedded video will not play:

https://youtu.be/MS5-YJacjaI?list=PLD4BDD0921586358F 

How Great Thou Art - George Beverly Shea @ Age 93

Performed @ Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y. in 2002

Accompanied by Anthony Burger

Anthony John Burger (June 5, 1961 – February 22, 2006) was an American pianist and singer, most closely associated with Southern gospel music. At age eight months, he was using a baby walker and fell into a heating duct on the floor of his house. He suffered third degree burns on his hands, face and, legs. After suffering the burns, Burger’s doctor told his parents he was very likely to not be able to move his hands in the future. Despite the odds, Burger recovered. At the age of five, he was accepted at the Cadek Conservatory, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. A child prodigy, Burger was playing classical piano repertoire within a few years. Burger graduated from Bradley Central High School in Cleveland. 

He played for the popular Gaither Homecoming shows and earned Dove Award nominations for his albums of instrumental music.

Death

While performing aboard the MS Zuiderdam, a cruise ship chartered for a Gaither Gospel Cruise on  February 22, 2006, Burger died of a massive heart attack at the age of 44. According to eyewitnesses, Burger was accompanying Bill and Gloria Gaither and Guy Penrod on the song “Hear My Song, Lord” (erroneously reported as “We Shall Behold Him” at first) when fans in the audience noticed Burger had ceased moving, his hands clenched into fists over the keyboard. Several fellow artists carried him backstage, where the cruise ship’s emergency response team futilely performed CPR for about 45 minutes.

Use the following YouTube link if the embedded video will not play:

https://youtu.be/5b3VSLMEbuo

Use the following player to hear: 

 How Great Thou Art - George Beverly Shea (God Bless America Version)

Performed @ Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y. in 2002

 

George Beverly Shea at nearly 103 years old, "How Great Thou Art" 

When Randy Alcorn  was speaking at the Cove on Heaven, they wheeled in George Beverly Shea. He came to the platform, sang a few songs including How Great Thou Art, and stayed to hear the message on Heaven...

Use the following YouTube link if the embedded video will not play: 

https://youtu.be/mdF1wR98OeE

 George Beverly Shea (February 1, 1909 – April 16, 2013) was a Canadian-born American gospel singer and hymn composer. Shea was often described as "America's beloved gospel singer" and was considered "the first international singing 'star' of the gospel world," as a consequence of his solos at Billy Graham Crusades and his exposure on radio, records and television. Because of the attendance at Graham's Crusades, Shea has the Guinness World Record for singing live before more people than anyone else in history. (220 million people) Shea has also sung on every continent in the world.

Before George Beverly Shea sang How Great Thou Art in the 1957 Billy Graham Crusades it was virtually unknown. However, to quote Bill Gaither, "How Great Thou Art has become one of the biggest songs in christendom in the last century."

George Beverly Shea Dies at 104; Stirring Singer at Billy Graham Revivals

GEORGE BEVERLY SHEA IN MEMORIAM 1909-2013

George Beverly Shea Interview - Archive

Hymn History: The Wonder of it All


How Great Thou Art

Words: Stuart K. Hine (1899-1989)

Music: Swedish folk melody, adapted by Stuart K. Hine

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the *worlds thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the *rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed:

Refrain:

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:

(Refrain)

And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

(Refrain)

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then *I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, My God, how great thou art!

(Refrain)

*Author’s original words are works, mighty and shall I bow

George Beverly Shea got per permission from the translater, Stuart K. Hine, to change the words when he was singing How Great Thou Art at the Billy Graham Crusades.

Please see the story of How Great Thou Art below.


How Great Thou Art

Words: Stuart K. Hine (1899-1989)

In 1885, at age 26, Swedish preacher Carl G. Boberg (1859-1940) wrote the words only of a poem entitled "O Store Gud". Several years later, Boberg attended a meeting and was surprised to hear his poem being sung to the tune of an old Swedish melody.

In the early 1920s, English missionaries, Stuart K. Hine and his wife, ministered in Poland. It was there they learned the Russian version of Boberg’s poem, "O Store Gud", along with the original Swedish melody. Later, Hine wrote original English words and made his own arrangement of the Swedish melody, which became popular and is now known as the hymn, "How Great Thou Art".

The first three verses were inspired amidst unforgettable experiences in the Carpathian Mountains. In a village to which he had climbed, Mr. Hine stood in the street singing a Gospel Hymn. Awe-inspiring was the mighty thunder echoing through the mountains of a gathering storm. It was this impression that was to bring about the birth of the first verse.

Upon crossing the mountain frontier into Romania and Bukovina, Hine wandered through the woods and forest glades and heard the birds sing sweetly in the trees. Thus, the second verse came into being. Verse three was inspired by the conversion of many Carpathian mountain-dwellers. The fourth verse did not come about until Hine’s return to Britain.

Music: Swedish folk melody, adapted by Stuart K. Hine