The title Elvis for Everyone! echoes that of Something for Everybody, but where that 1961 record was designed as an actual album -- it was largely recorded in a single session with the intent of cutting a long-playing record -- this set is a clearinghouse for odds and ends ushered out in the summer of 1965 between a stopgap in soundtracks. Because it is not a soundtrack, the overall quality of the songs is much higher (and certainly, they're a lot less silly) and because it digs deep into the vaults, it does contain some terrific cuts even if it doesn't hang together well as an album. To its credit, RCA didn't quite suggest Elvis for Everyone! was designed as anything other than odds and ends: the title itself suggests a sampler and the cover depicts a bunch of older Presley LPs, conscious that this record was released on the ten-year anniversary of Elvis signing to RCA. One of its highlights dates earlier than that: "Tomorrow Night" is a Sun side cut in 1954. A couple other standouts date from the '50s -- a nimble "Your Cheatin' Heart" from 1958, the raw 1957 blues "When It Rains, It Really Pours," and a hopping version of Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee" also feel directly connected to Elvis' rock & roll roots, which is welcome because much of the rest of the record is devoted to light pop and ballads. Some of this does have its charms -- the breezy island vibes of "Summers Kisses, Winter Tears" finds a counterpart in the skipping "Sound Advice," Presley slides into the cabaret balladry of "For the Millionth and the Last Time" with ease, and underplays the romance on "Forget Me Never" -- but it ultimately feels like the grab bag it unapologetically is.
Elvis for Everyone! Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine