This beautiful musical medley was popularized by Elvis during a worldwide TV broadcast in 1973. Most Elvis fans seem to agree that this broadcast - Elvis - Aloha from Hawaii - was the King's last great accomplishment before his decline and eventual passing four years later. The general consensus is that An American Trilogy was the highlight of the concert.
The song combines short exerpts from three highly-regarded American traditional songs and can be considered an allegory of the South and the struggles of its people. During An American Trilogy, the first verse of Dixie, the good-natured anthem of the Confederacy, gives way to a few sobering lines from the reflective spiritual All My Trials, and then concludes with the triumphant chorus from The Battle Hymn of the Republic, written during the Civil War as an anthem for the Union.
Because of the tasteful arrangement and evocative lyrics, this song is a favorite during Independence Day concerts and American religious gatherings. In 2002, the power metal band Manowar recorded a wonderful version of the song on their album Warriors of the World.