The hallmark voice of the Billy Graham crusades has passed at 104, after an amazingly full life. His rendition of "How Great Thou Art" is a madeleine of my evangelical youth. My first visit to Madison Square Garden (after the circus) was to a Billy Graham rally, featuring Bev Shea, Cliff Barrows, Ethel Waters and the rest. Video below -- and first thoughts: would that booming voice and tinny piano resonate with today's evangelical culture, where Broadway-style production values are the norm? RIP, indeed.UPDATE: David Neff on the story behind the hymn:
George Beverly Shea's first contact with "How Great Thou Art" dates to 1954. But the song itself dates to 1885, when Swedish pastor Carl Gustav Boberg was caught in a thunderstorm.