Fit For A King: The Charm Of Glen Campbell’s Recordings For Elvis Presley

Reviewing the 18 unearthed tracks recorded between 1964 and 1968 and released as ‘Glen Campbell Sings For The King.’

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Glen Campbell - Photo: Capitol Records Archives
Glen Campbell photo: Capitol Records Archives

It’s a rare treat to discover a set of songs from a distant pop era and listen to them as a complete, “lost” album. So it was with Sings For The King, the Capitol/UMe collection of 18 unearthed tracks compiled from the recordings that Glen Campbell made between 1964-68 for Elvis Presley.

The album is fascinating enough as a history lesson about the relationship between two of the defining voices of popular music, period. Campbell first saw the soon-to-be-King perform live in 1956 and much later, after his own breakthrough, would become his friend (and, if it hadn’t been for Glen’s own success, potentially the guitarist in Presley’s late 1960s TCFB band).

But Sings For The King is also an absorbing eavesdrop into the pop milieu of the 1960s, the very particular expectations of the movie-bound Elvis, and most of all, into Campbell’s generosity as, essentially, Presley’s demo man. The 18 fully-fledged recordings featured here, written by Ben Weisman and Sid Wayne, were cut to be presented to Elvis for his recording consideration by a vocalist of considerable note; Campbell threw in his in-demand virtuosity as a guitarist at no extra cost.

The “digital duet” that leads off the record may seem a contrivance, but it’s especially relevant since Glen was chosen for the work since his light tenor was so much in tune with Elvis’ own delivery. They dovetail elegantly on “We Call On Him,” flagging up the rare, pristine expression they shared.

Thereafter, one might argue that it’s a shame the “demo years” didn’t go as late as Presley’s own creative rebirth of his Memphis sides of the late 1960s. Here, we are very much in Hollywood soundtrack mode, and no Elvis fan would pretend they represented the apex of his musical achievements. But there’s still much to enjoy in hearing the blueprints for such subsequent film themes as “Easy Come, Easy Go,” “Spinout,” “Stay Away Joe,” and “Clambake,” all of which are among the 12 songs from this selection that he gave his seal of approval.

Glen Campbell studio

Glen Campbell photo: Capitol Records Archives

It’s also enlightening to hear Campbell – who, for much of this time span, was either busy as a member of the Wrecking Crew or on his own career – having fun in the studio with the versatility of his own voice. On the bluesy “Any Old Time,” he starts by authentically mimicking Elvis’ style, before adopting one closer to his own; on “I Got Love,” he starts as himself but then “does” Presley to great effect.

Listen to the best of Glen Campbell on Apple Music and Spotify.

Perhaps the greatest take-home is saved until last, and one of the songs that Elvis, sadly, didn’t say yes to. “Restless” is a charming vocal adaptation of Debussy’s Clair de Lune that provides a fitting end to a unique record that really is fit for a king.

Buy or stream Glen Campbell Sings For The King.



  1. John

    January 5, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Or…Glen was responsible for the mediocrity of Elvis movie sound tracks of the 1960’s, it’s obvious that the producers were pushing mediocre movies at Elvis at a rate of 3 or 4 per year

  2. Ron Tennant

    November 28, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    I love every Elvis film ever made & I also love every song Elvis ever sang in all of his films.So I absolutely love this Glen Campbell CD of demos he did for Elvis. I have this CD of course & the next CD of Elvis demos I would love to see out in 2020 if possible & what I would buy is a wonderful CD of demos all done by the great P.J. Proby. From 1961 until early 1964 P.J. did lots of Elvis movie demos. And then in mid 1964 P.J. himself became a big star after his appearance on the TV show “Around The Beatles.

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