Friday, February 3, 2012

50 years ago: Elvis Presley hit #2 with “Can’t Help Falling in Love”

Can’t Help Falling in Love

Elvis Presley

Writer(s): Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, George David Weiss (see lyrics here)

Released: October 1, 1961

First Charted: November 10, 1961

Peak: 2 US, 4 CB, 11 GR, 3 HR, 16 AC, 14 UK, 4 CN, 15 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 393.8 video, 477.38 streaming

Can’t Help Falling in Love

Lick the Tins

Released: 1985

First Charted: --

Peak: 3 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 2.37 video, 0.45 streaming

Can’t Help Falling in Love


First Charted: May 1, 1993

Peak: 17 US, 18 CB, 13 GR, 11 AC, 11 MR, 12 UK, 12 CN, 17 AU, 8 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.3 US, 0.64 UK, 2.71 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 201.71 video, 178.86 streaming

Awards (Elvis Presley):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Lick the Tins):

Awards (UB40):

About the Song:

Elvis Presley may have been the King of Rock and Roll but “there’s nothing rock ‘n’ roll about ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love” and it makes no attempt to recapture the early danger of Elvis. Instead, it’s Elvis hitting his romantic-crooner stride, his voice hitting a deep puppydog quaver and harmonizing beautifully with the Jordanaires’ gospel-informed backing vocals.” SG Music historian Steve Sullivan calls it “Elvis’ defiintive snuggle-up-close love ballad” SS “rivaled lonly by 'Love Me Tender’ and ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight?’” SS Critic Dave Marsh voices a similar sentiment, calling it “one of the great ballad performances of his career.” SS It is a “confession of Presley’s complete surrender to the whims of forces greater than he can comprehend…this is what…renders the song with such tremendous conviction.” SS

The melody was adapted from “Plasir d’Amour,” a 1784 song by a German-born French composer with the Italian name Jean-Paul-Égide Martini. It was originally written from the perspective of a woman falling in love with a man. WK It was featured on Blue Hawaii, Elvis’ most successful soundtrack – it spent 20 weeks atop the Billboard album chart. In the movie, he doesn’t sing it to his love interest, but her grandmother. He gives her a music box on her birthday and it plays the song and he sings along. SF

The song became Elvis’ regular concert closer. In fact, it was the last song he ever performed live at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis on June 26, 1977. WK

The song has been recorded multiple times, including a #1 version by UB40. The British reggae group made a career out of remaking pop songs. They took Neil Diamond’s “Red Red Wine” to #1 and had top 10 hits with covers Al Green’s “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)” and the Temptations’ “The Way You Do the Things You Do.” They first recorded “Can’t Help Falling in Love” for the 1992 Honeymoon in Vegas soundtrack, but one by Bono of U2 was used instead. FB Then the band were approached about using their version in the Sharon Stone 1993 erotic movie thriller Sliver.

Billboard’s Larry Flick wrote that UB40’s version “has a pillowy, midtempo pace that dabbles in island beats and radio conscious funk.” WK Entertainment Weekly’s Marisa Fox said that UB40 “revitalize” the song. WK Music & Media magazine described it as “a reggae remake that sounds like the sun will never stop shining.” WK

Others who have recorded the song include the A-Teens, Bob Dylan, Corey Hart, Engelbert Humperdinck, Chris Isaak, Al Martino, Kacey Musgraves, Pearl Jam, the Stray Cats, and Andy Williams. The song played a role in reuniting Fleetwood Mac when Christine McVie recorded it in 1986 for the movie A Fine Mess. She convinced Fleetwood Mac members Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood to back her on the recording. The next year, the four reunited with Stevie Nicks for the 1987 album Tango in the Night. SF

My personal favorite version was recorded by Lick the Tins in 1985 and featured in the closing credits of the John Hughes’ 1987 teen movie Some Kind of Wonderful, one of my all-time favorite movies.


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First posted 1/13/2023.

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