Country Throwback: Watch Elvis Presley Croon ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ in 1961’s ‘Blue Hawaii’

by Joe Rutland

Beauty comes in many forms, yet for his fans nothing could be more beautiful than hearing Elvis Presley croon a love song.

That is just what Presley does in his film “Blue Hawaii,” where one of the numbers, “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” would become a hit.

Well, he’d already built up quite a hit collection in rock-and-roll. Now he was turning his attention, under the guidance of manager Colonel Tom Parker, to the big screen.

In 1961, Presley was revving up his movie-making career. A lot of them were rather formulaic in nature. Elvis plays Chad Gates, who has just finished his time in Army, in “Blue Hawaii.” He’s returned home to Hawaii and is getting reacquainted with his girlfriend, Maile Duval, played by actress Joan Blackman.

Elvis Presley Gives Music Box To Grandmother In Movie

At one point, Chad gifts a music box to Maile’s grandmother. She opens it up and it starts playing. What does it play? Of course, it plays “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” Time for “The King” to sing his song not only to Maile but her grandmother as well. There are a host of people sitting around a fire while Presley, um, Chad stands next to Maile’s grandmother.

It’s a touching scene in the movie, giving Presley (as in nearly all of his movies) a chance to let his singing do the talking.

When reading the lyrics, it’s pretty obvious that songwriters George Weiss, Hugo Peretti, and Luigi Creatore were going for the vibe of love.

“Wise men say
Only fools rush in
But I can’t help falling in love with you
Shall I stay?
Would it be a sin
If I can’t help falling in love with you?

Like a river flows
Surely to the sea
Darling, so it goes
Some things are meant to beTake my hand
Take my whole life too
For I can’t help falling in love with you

Like a river flows
Surely to the sea
Darling, so it goes
Some things are meant to be

Take my hand
Take my whole life too
For I can’t help falling in love with you
For I can’t help falling in love with you”

Take a few minutes and let your mind drift away to an island paradise while listening to “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” Elvis gets some help as all of those people sitting in the background begin to sing in harmony.

Elvis Presley Started Hit Song Run With ‘Heartbreak Hotel’

It’s not surprising to see Presley’s name all over music hit charts, whether it is rock, gospel, or country. He was a singer whose music touched different genres.

Yet in the beginning, he needed a hit. Just one to get the ball rolling.

One fell in his lap called “Heartbreak Hotel.”

Tommy Durden, a session musician and guitar player, recalls seeing a story about a man’s suicide in the Miami Herald newspaper.

“I saw a little item one day about a man that had killed himself,” Durden recalls in a 1991 interview, “and all that he left in the way of a suicide note was ‘I walk a lonely street.’ And that just struck me as being very, very lonely. He must’ve been extremely lonely.

“So I started working on that idea and I knew Mae Axton,” Durden says. “She was a school teacher and songwriter and also did some public relations work for some Grand Ole Opry shows, including Tom Parker and Oscar Davis, the groups he would bring in.”

Elvis Records ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ In Nashville

Durden and Axton worked up the song and got it Presley.

One thing led to another and, on Jan. 10, 1956, Elvis went into the RCA Studios in Nashville and recorded the song.

Fans hold “Heartbreak Hotel,” just like “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” close to their hearts. For them, that’s where Elvis always will be now and forever.

It should be noted that Presley held a deep fondness for Hawaii throughout his life. He’d visit the Hawaiian islands often, including for his “Aloha From Hawaii” concert that was beamed around the world via satellite in 1973. At that time, it was a very unique experience to receive a special like this one on a satellite into your homes.

Leaving you with one last, glorious glimpse of “Blue Hawaii,” here’s Elvis singing “Hawaiian Wedding Song.”

H/T: Country Music Nation