From 1964 to 1968 — in between recording sessions with the Wrecking Crew, touring with the Beach Boys, and recording his own albums — Glen Campbell was recruited to record songs for the King of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley. Originally intended for Presley’s ears only, eighteen of these recently unearthed and unreleased gems will be released together on CD, LP and digitally for the first time, more than half a century later, as the lost album Sings For The King on November 16th via Capitol/UMe. The collection will also be available on limited edition 180-gram clear vinyl exclusively at GlenCampbell.com.
Sings For The King includes songs written by the songwriting team of Ben Weisman and Sid Wayne. Weisman is significant for having written the most songs recorded by Elvis than any other songwriter in history at 57. Weisman and Wayne turned to Glen Campbell who had perfect pitch and an uncanny ability to match Presley’s key and even mimic his delivery, to record fully fleshed out studio versions that they could present to Presley for his recording consideration. The songs were discovered by Executive Producer Stephen Auerbach who found the 50 year old recordings on long-forgotten reel-to-reel tapes in a storage space belonging to his uncle-in-law, Ben Weisman. Of the 29 recordings that have been rescued, there are twelve of Campbell’s recordings that went on to be recorded and released by Presley including “Stay Away Joe,” “Clambake,” “Spinout” and “Easy Come, Easy Go,” which were all made famous with iconic singing performances of the title tracks in his movies. “Easy Come, Easy Go” is available now on all streaming services and as an instant grat download with digital pre-order.
The variety of the material is striking and ranges from the country-flavored “Any Old Time” to the more rocked-up “I’ll Be Back” to meaty ballads like “I’ll Never Know.” On “I Got Love” Campbell begins the song sounding like himself but then subtly shifts into Presley’s trademark tone. The album opens with the gospel song “We Call on Him,” which features the two legendary voices fused into a duet, giving a real sense of how Campbell’s performances teed up these songs for Presley, and then where The King took them and made them his own. All eighteen songs highlight Campbell’s incredible vocal range and guitar skills and draw focus to Weisman and Wayne’s understanding of all the styles of music Presley could perform.
As noted music journalist and author Alan Light writes in the illuminating liner notes, “With their genre-bending musical exploration and rural Southern roots, it’s no surprise that Glen Campbell and Elvis Presley formed something of a mutual admiration society. ‘Elvis and I were brought up the same humble way,’ Campbell once said, ‘picking cotton and looking at the north end of a south-bound mule.’ The friendship between the Rhinestone Cowboy and the King of Rock and Roll spanned three decades, and they often orbited each other professionally.”
Campbell and Presley first met in 1956, when Presley performed in Albuquerque, where Campbell had recently moved to join his uncle’s band, Dick Bills and the Sandia Mountain Boys. “I saw him in the rough,” Campbell later said. “He was so electrifying.” In 1960, Glen headed to Los Angeles to find work as a session musician and took a regular gig at a club called the Crossbow, where Presley and his friends would sometimes come watch from a small private room upstairs. As a member of the incomparable group of LA studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew, Campbell appeared on dozens of immortal hits, from “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’ ” to “Strangers in the Night.” In 1963 alone, he added his guitar to almost 600 sessions, including his one and only recording with Presley, for the Viva Las Vegas soundtrack.
By 1967, Campbell’s own career was exploding with the release of his breakthrough albums Gentle on My Mind and By the Time I Get to Phoenix, which both reached No. 1 on the charts, and made Grammy history by sweeping the Song and Performance awards in both the pop and country and western categories. The following year, By The Time I Get To Phoenix took home the prize for Album of the Year, the first country record to do so. Yet Campbell continued to knock out songs for Weisman and Wayne in whatever spare time he had.
The relationship between these two Hall of Famers might have become more extensive: When Presley was assembling his TCB band in 1969, his two finalists for the lead guitar chair were Presley and James Burton. But while Campbell was riding high as a solo artist following the monster hits “Gentle on My Mind,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” and “Wichita Lineman,” Burton was available since his previous boss, Ricky Nelson, had recently broken up his backing band.
As it turns out, though, there was a deep connection between Presley and Campbell that almost no one was aware of — until now, with the release of Sings for the King. This historic collection casts new light on the quiet influence that one musical giant, and an often-overlooked songwriting team, had on America’s greatest rock and roll star.
1. We Call On Him (A Duet With Elvis Presley) *
2. Easy Come, Easy Go *
3. Any Old Time
4. Anyone Can Play
5. I Got Love
6. I’ll Never Know *
7. All I Needed Was The Rain *
8. How Can You Lose What You Never Had *
9. Spinout *
10. Magic Fire
11. I’ll Be Back *
12. Love On The Rocks
13. Stay Away, Joe *
14. Cross My Heart And Hope To Die *
15. Clambake *
16. There Is So Much World To See *
17. Do The Clam *
* Recorded by Elvis Presley
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.