February 19

Without Him (I Could Do Nothing)

Memphis, Tennessee

Fifteen minutes before the Gospel singing group, LeFevres were to perform on stage, a young lad in an army suit arrived. He was dirty and unshaven from hitching rides and hiking all night and the following day. His family wanted him to join them in the convention. After securing a three-day pass from his sergeant, he set off traveling over 500 miles from Fort Jackson, Carolina to Memphis.

At the sight of the lad, Mrs. LeFevre introduced him to the audience.

“My son has written a song, and I want you to hear it,” she said.

And so he went onto the stage and sang the song that his mother loved.

In that same convention, a booth contains Elvis Presley with his fiancée, Priscilla. They heard the song and watched the lad’s performance. After the concert, Presley invited him into their booth. That same week, Elvis Presley recorded the young songwriter’s song. It was included on his album, ‘How Great Thou Art‘ which became his biggest selling hit. By the end of the year, a hundred and twenty-six artist recorded “Without Him” as well as the young LeFevre’s other compositions.

“Without Him” by Elvis Presley

The Songwriter
Without Him (I Could Do Nothing) 1

Mylon LeFevre wrote “Without Him” at age 17. He knew little about music but can play instruments by ear. He thought his song’s great so he sang it before J.D Sumner, a Gospel Music Hall of Fame member. Mr. Sumner advised the boy that he needed verses and chorus to complete the song. Heeding his hero’s counsel, young Levre completed the song.

Song’s Anatomy

Mylon LeFevre based “Without Him” on John 15:15. In it were descriptions of a man’s plight if ever tries to trust his own good works and merit to be heaven-worthy. The conclusion is to trust in Jesus’ finished work on the cross. The closing line expressed thanksgiving for mankind’s salvation.

Since its recording in 1963, “Without Him” has been included in all major hymnals.


Elvis Presley, gospel, hymn, songwriters

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