Only Elvis could get away with having an album full of songs by a rising star recorded entirely for him. But that’s exactly what happened in the mid-1960s, with one of Elvis’ favorite songwriting duos, Ben Weisman and Sid Wayne, convinced an early-in-his-career Glen Campbell to record a dozen-and-a-half of their songs, so they could pitch them to The King. The tactic obviously worked as Elvis went on to record 12 of those songs, including “Clambake” and “Easy Come, Easy Go.” You’ve got to wonder if “Clambake,” one of the most fun songs on this record, was the inspiration for the entire Clambake movie Elvis would star in (and sing this song for the soundtrack) in 1967.
As a result, discovered on a long-since forgotten reel to reel, we finally get to hear Campbell’s versions of these songs at a time when most fans need it the most, still contemplating the singer’s death last year. The record, “Sings For The King,” is an amazing musical urban legend come to life and a great footnote in Campbell’s storied career. Though the songs themselves definitely have a very dated mid-60s sound, with plenty of gloss and over production, Campbell’s vocals sound amazing.
Recording of these songs started in 1964, just a few years before Campbell would really take off with the back-to-back hits “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Wichita Lineman,” but it’s clear from “Sings For The King” (what is essentially a glorified demo tape) that he was already prepared to take over the pop and country music charts. An unexpected Campbell artifact that is finally surfacing at just the right time.
Glen Campbell – Sings For The King/Capitol & UMe/ 2018 / Twitter