The Vast History and Tale Of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley

The Vast History and Tale Of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley | I Love Classic Rock Videos

via Ed Sullivan Show / Youtube

Though often ridiculed, Elvis Presley’s motion picture ventures undoubtedly made money. After realizing how valuable Elvis Presley was, Hollywood quickly adopted a successful strategy and began casting him in films that bore the names of his hits. While Presley was serving in the US, this trend was momentarily stopped. two years in the army. After his return, he threw himself back into the movie business, earning credits for 27 different movies in the 1960s. These movies were commercial triumphs even though they received little critical praise and were frequently accused of having thin stories with cheesy musical padding. Nine of these projects were produced by the renowned producer Hal B. Wallis, who once said that an Elvis Presley movie was “the only sure thing in Hollywood.”

A Masterpiece Born from Blue Hawaii

1961’s Blue Hawaii exemplified this formulaic approach, stitching together a narrative that featured idyllic landscapes, the vibrancy of youth, a twist of romance, interlaced with Elvis ballads and fast-tempo tracks that occasionally mocked rock ‘n’ roll. Among the film’s soundtrack was a song that would become an unmistakable classic, “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

The enchanting lyrics of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” draw inspiration from the 1784 French love song “Plaisir d’Amour,” composed by Jean-Paul-Egide Martini. The original composition, which Martini crafted by adapting a poem from Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian’s novel, was initially written from a female’s perspective, with the title “Can’t Help Falling in Love with Him.”

Recording this timeless track took place in Hollywood, California, at Radio Recorders on March 23, 1961. The narrative within Blue Hawaii cleverly integrates the song when Chadwick Gates, Presley’s character, gifts his girlfriend’s grandmother a music box that plays the tune. As Presley serenades, the musical arrangement blooms from a simple melody to a full orchestral accompaniment, showcasing talents like Scotty Moore, Hank Garland, Floyd Cramer, and the mellifluous harmonies of The Jordanaires, among others. The perfectionism Presley applied to his craft is evident in the recording process, which demanded 29 takes to achieve the desired vocal quality. Interestingly, the film’s rendition is a condensed version compared to the single release.


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A Legacy of Covers, Success, and Cinematic Shifts

“Can’t Help Falling in Love” resonated not just with Presley’s fans but also with fellow artists, inciting a myriad of covers across the decades. From Andy Williams’ UK chart-topping version in 1970 to The Stylistics’ disco rendition in 1976, and UB40’s reggae interpretation in 1993 that ascended to No. 1 in the U.S., the song has been a versatile canvas for artists across genres. Moreover, the foundational melody, “Plaisir d’Amour,” has been revisited by luminaries such as Placido Domingo and Joan Baez.

Blue Hawaii marked a pivotal moment in Presley’s career, not merely for emphasizing his cinematic endeavors but for encapsulating a rich array of 14 songs within its soundtrack — more than any other Elvis film. This period saw Presley, alongside manager Colonel Tom Parker and booking agent Abe Lastfogel, pivot the focus of his career towards the silver screen.

Blue Hawaii subsequently emerged as Presley’s highest-grossing film. Its soundtrack’s unparalleled popularity was evidenced by its No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 for 20 weeks—a record only bested in 1977 by Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors. Lingering on the album chart for 79 weeks and selling over 2 million copies, the soundtrack’s success underscored the commercial viability of marrying Presley’s musical talent with his on-screen charisma.