Various Artists

A Tribute to the King

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Already on the fall 2002 schedule, Capitol Records' Elvis Presley covers compilation A Tribute to the King was given an unexpected boost by the success of Elvis: 30, which just preceded it into the marketplace. If any further proof of Presley's continuing impact on popular music 25 years after his death were needed after that album's debut at the top of the charts, A Tribute to the King provides it by collecting 13 recordings of songs associated with Presley, drawn from the EMI-Capitol vaults. The album opens and closes with members of the Beatles, leading off with Paul McCartney's "All Shook Up" and concluding with John Lennon's "Hound Dog." In between, Presley contemporaries Eddie Cochran ("Blue Suede Shoes") and Jerry Lee Lewis ("Jailhouse Rock") are heard from, with the rest of the album seeming to have been drawn from many different musical styles over many years, including country (Willie Nelson and Leon Russell's "Heartbreak Hotel" and Kenny Rogers' "Love Me Tender"), modern rock (Bryan Ferry's "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" and Fine Young Cannibals' "Suspicious Minds"), gospel (Candi Staton's "In the Ghetto"), blues (Canned Heat's "That's All Right Mama"), new wave (the Smithereens' "Don't Be Cruel," on which they are joined by its author, Otis Blackwell), early-'60s pop/rock (Del Shannon's "[Marie's the Name] His Latest Flame"), and supper-club soul (Lou Rawls' "[Now and Then There's] A Fool Such As I"). Probably Presley himself would have found the musical range a bit wide, so it may be too much to expect any one listener to enjoy every track. But every one of them was made in the King's shadow, and so the album can be seen as a gloss on Presley's original recordings, and therefore a good complement to the concurrent Presley hits compilation.

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