This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Honourable Mention Song #20: I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You by Elvis Presley (as Nominated by JoAnn Kroft-Hedley).
“I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” is a song that is based upon a French song called, “Plaisir d’ amour” that was written all the way back in 1784!!! That song was, also, written for a female lead to be sung about falling in love with a man. In the late 1950s, “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” was created by three songwriters named Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore and George Davis Weiss. As it turned out, these three gentlemen ended up writing some of the biggest hits of the day; including, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” for The Tokens and “Honeycomb” and “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” for Jimmie Rodgers and “Lullaby of Birdland” for Ella Fitzgerald. All three were inducted into The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in the Songwriting Category and finally, as if that wasn’t enough, David George Weiss served as President of the Songwriter’s Guild of America for over two decades. But, the biggest hit produced by this trio of accomplished songwriters was “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” which became a worldwide hit when it was sung by The King, himself, Elvis Presley.
Elvis Presley sang this song as part of the soundtrack to the movie, “Blue Hawaii”. That song became a #1 all around the world and remained in the top spot for seven weeks. In fact, the “Blue Hawaii” soundtrack album was the #1 album for twenty consecutive weeks, which held the record for almost two decades until it was replaced by Fleetwood Mac’s, “Rumours” LP in the late 1970s.
One of the things I have always admired about Elvis, as a performer, was his stage presence. He sure knew how to move and how to work an audience. He even knew what strings to pull in his movies. For example, in “Blue Hawaii”, Elvis did not do the cliched thing and sing this song to his love interest. Instead, when courting her, he did so by singing this song to her grandmother! That Elvis was a clever boy, for sure! In real life, Elvis often saved “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” for the finale of his shows. Sometimes when he sang this song, he would pick out the prettiest girl in the room and sing it to her but, just as often, he would focus in on a Grandma in the audience and serenade her. When finished, Elvis would smile and, on occasion, would kiss Grandma on the cheek or hand. The audience would swoon. Elvis was “The King” for a reason.
As an aside, in several previous posts, I have pumped the tires of a TV show called, “Full House/Fuller House” that starred, among others, John Stamos as “Uncle Jesse”, an aspiring singer who loved Elvis. Anyway, that show was a treasure trove of smart musical references, hidden amid the family comedy storylines. In one episode, the entire family went to Hawaii for a vacation. Uncle Jesse was so excited to visit all of the locations where “Blue Hawaii” was filmed. At one point, the family was invited to participate in a ceremonial luau near their hotel. Uncle Jesse, being a singer, asked to sing, “Rock a-Hula, Baby”, which he did. “Rock a-Hula, Baby” was the B-side to “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” when it was released as a single. When we watched that episode as a family, my daughters completely enjoyed the song but missed the clever Elvis reference. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the moment because I had to respect the attention to detail that the creators of this show employed each week. As a lover of the history of music, I can’t speak highly enough of “Full House/Fuller House” and the lengths they went to honour the History of Rock n’ Roll.
This song was nominated by my friend, JoAnn Kroft-Hedley. If there is a bigger Elvis fan then, I haven’t met her. She has been promoting him to me all throughout this musical countdown journey of ours so, I was definitely not surprised at all when her nominated song turned out to be an Elvis pick. JoAnn was lucky enough to have seen Elvis perform in person. According to her, as was his tradition, he saved “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” until the very end and then, when he started to sing, she says it felt like he was singing directly to her. She swooned and is still swooning to this very day. As mentioned, Elvis either picked the prettiest girl in the room or the most matronly Grandma. In JoAnn’s case, I am sure it was the former and not the latter. 🙂
JoAnn has been a staunch ally and good friend for a few years now. I met JoAnn through her daughter, Cuyler. Cuyler was a student teacher who spent time in my classroom a year or two before I retired. Because we both live in the same town, I used to run into Cuyler and her family on occasion when we were out and about. On one of those occasions, Cuyler introduced me to her Mom and we have been fast friends ever since. I am fortunate to know them, both. In fact, Cuyler has gone on to be one of the teachers that my youngest daughter, Sophie, has this year. Small world, eh?
So, thanks, JoAnn for nominating such a great song. As well, I thank you for your comments, questions and shared stories all the way through the countdown process as it has unfolded. Your input has made this experience more enjoyable for me. I am endlessly appreciative.
Without further delay, here is Elvis Presley with “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” from the movie, “Blue Hawaii”. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” by Elvis Presley, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Elvis Presley, can be found here.
The link to the video for the song, “Rock a-Hula, Baby”, as shown on the TV show, “Full House”, can be found here.
6 thoughts on “The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History: Honourable Mention Song #19…I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You by Elvis Presley (as Nominated by JoAnn Kroft-Hedley) (KTOM)”
Aw ! Thanks Tom . I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed this countdown .
I’ll miss the daily interaction .
Maybe movies / actors next ❤️Lol
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As for what’s next…….let’s see how it feels to close this one out first. Maybe most folks will react with relief that it’s over? Who knows? We shall see..
I am happy that you have enjoyed it, though. That makes me happy. ❤️
Here I go again! I cannot count the times that you have told the story of a song that was one of my favourites, and this one from my 13 year old self, is yet another. I can remember vividly sitting at the theatre in Toronto with my best friend watching as she alternately screamed or shed copious tears.
This song is one of my husband’s and my favourite songs at any event where there is dancing. Thank you Joanne and Tom
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Once again, happy to oblige! We still have a few songs to go that may fall into the “favourites” category, we shall see. Your Honourable Mention song is slated for tomorrow….Friday…..just so ya know. 😀
I used to idolize Elvis when I was child. While I no longer idolize anyone – not even my all-time favorite band The Beatles – I still enjoy much of Elvis’ music. “Can’t Help Falling in Love” just is a beautiful tune, no question.
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The lady who picked the song thinks it is beautiful, too. 😀