Elvis Presley

Any Way You Want Me (That's How I Will Be)

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Recorded in the same one-day session that produced classic versions of "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel," "Anyway You Want Me" is a standout urgent ballad that demonstrates a young singer hitting his stride; 21-year-old Elvis Presley sounds absolutely authoritative on the track. In Peter Guralnick's biography Last Train to Memphis, The Rise of Elvis Presley, Gordon Stocker (of Presley's classic backing vocal group, the Jordanaires) recalled his feelings upon hearing Presley sing the song: "I wasn't all that impressed with him, as a singer. I mean, I kind of got a kick out of "Don't Be Cruel"...but then with "Anyway You Want Me," all of a sudden I took a different attitude, the feeling that he had on that particular sound made the hair on my arm come up. I said to the guys, 'Hey men, this guy can sing!'" The song begins with a wily guitar line and Shorty Long's steady, studied "Heart and Soul"-inspired piano rhythm. Accompanied by his legendary backing musicians, Scotty Moore on guitar, D.J. Fontana on drums, Bill Black on bass, and the Jordanaires, as well as Long on piano and Chet Atkins on guitar (two sidemen and producers who became stars in their own right), Presley does a slow-burning croon to start the verses, finishing off the refrains with a powerful bellow. Presley, one of the great song interpreters, inhabits the lyric, singing behind the beat, as would a jazz or R&B singer. He breathlessly climbs the steps of the line "And in your arms I will stay-ay-ay," until finishing it off with a falsetto into the next verse: "I'll be a fool or a wise man...." Written by Cliff Owens with Aaron Schroeder (a Brill Building producer/composer who also co-wrote "Good Luck Charm" and "Big Hunk o' Love" for Presley), the lyric of "Anyway You Want Me" is a typical pledge of love: "I'll be as strong as a mountain/Or weak as a willow tree/Anyway you want me/Well, that's how I will be/I'll be as tame as a baby/Or wild as the raging sea/Anyway you want me." On the page, these lines may seem banal and clichéd, yet Presley's phrasing and inflection make all the difference and, along with his reading of the song's soulful melody, add depth to the sentiment.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Elvis Presley [1956] 1956 RCA / BMG 0:00
Elvis [1956] 1956 BMG International 0:00
No Image 1958 RCA 2:16
Elvis' 50 Worldwide Gold Award Hits, Vol. 1 1970 RCA 2:15
No Image 1972 RCA
The '56 Sessions, Vol. 2 1979 RCA
Heartbreak Hotel & Other Hits 1990 RCA 2:13
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Elvis, the King - 1954-1965 1990 2:14
The King of Rock 'n' Roll: The Complete 50s Masters 1992 RCA 2:15
His Life and Music 1995 Life Times & Music 2:14
Elvis '56 1996 BMG Heritage / RCA 2:15
Artist of the Century 1999 RCA 2:14
No Image 1999 RCA 2:14
Meer Dan Het Beste Van Elvis Presley 2001 BMG International 2:14
No Image 2001 Collectables
My Best of Elvis: Elvis Charity Album 2001 BMG 2:16
Love, Elvis 2005 BMG / BMG Heritage 2:15
Elvis #1 Singles 2006 RCA / Sony BMG 2:13
No Image 2009 Legacy / RCA 2:16
Young Man with the Big Beat: The Complete 1956 Masters 2011 Legacy / RCA / RCA Victor 2:15
No Image 2012 Must Have Records
No Image 2012 Labelle
No Image 2012 Puzzled Records
No Image 2012 Puzzled Records
No Image 2012 Labelle
No Image 2012 Puzzled Records
No Image 2012 Must Have Records
No Image HMV