Elvis Presley is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. Often referred to as the “King of Rock & Roll” or just “The King”, Elvis is undisputedly one of the most iconic musical legends, whose songs are played and enjoyed even today.
On The King’s 85th birth anniversary, Tanuja Gomes, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Furtados School of Music, decodes and shares anecdotes about some of Elvis’ most popular songs.
Can’t Help Falling In Love:
Recorded and released under the Blue Hawaii album in 1961, the single was certified platinum and recorded sales of over 1 million in the US alone. The song was initially written for a woman, titled “Can’t help falling in love with him” which explains the second and third line ending with “in” and “sin”, rhyming with him. The song has been covered by multiple artists through the years and its popularity was recently rekindled when the song’s cover was used in the movie ‘Crazy Rich Asians’.
In The Ghetto:
Written by Mac Davis, the song was sung and popularized by Elvis in 1969. The song holds a strong social message of poverty and the struggle of surviving. The song gained much popularity and managed to get Elvis in the UK top 10 hit after 3 years. In 2007, Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie Presley recorded the song as a duet with her father to raise money for the Presley Charitable Foundation.
The popular song from Elvis was release in 1957 along with the movie titled the same. The song was included in the list of Top 500 songs of all times by the prestigious Rolling Stones magazine. The performance of the song in the movie shows a dance routine performed by Elvis and some other male inmates. What’s interesting is, the song suggests a gay romance between two inmates, something that wasn’t considered legal in the United States at that time! The song was also covered by musical legends like The Beatles and Queen.
Released in 1956, this song broke many records for Elvis and also became his first million-seller. Inspired by a newspaper article about a man committing suicide by jumping out of a hotel window, song writers Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton penned the song. The song post its release was certified double platinum by RIAA and also entered the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1995.
If I Can Dream:
Recorded in June 1968, just two months after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. During his comeback this song, which is a notable tribute to the civil war hero, rose to number 12 on the Hot 100 charts and is till date known to be one of his best vocal performances.
Don’t Cry Daddy:
Originally released in the year 1969, the song showcases a child urging his father to spend time with them, even though their mother is not around anymore. The song hit an intense emotional chord in 1997, when Elvis’ daughter Lisa sang the song as a duet to pay tribute to her father. She released a video as well which showcased her memories with Elvis, moving the fans to tears.
The famous song which explores the complexities of a dysfunctional relationship was written and originally recorded by American songwriter Mark James. Although the original version didn’t receive any commercial success, Elvis’ version made it reach the number 1 spot in the United States. The song had its share of legal battles; however, it solidifies its position in the King’s career as it was his last number 1 hit before his untimely death.
This was the first song that was ever recorded by Elvis, when he was just 18 years old and was self financed. Although it wasn’t originally his song, the record in which it was recorded, an acetate disc, is considered to be one of the most popular Elvis memorabilia and was actually sold for over $300k.