In honor of Elvis Presley’s birthday (tomorrow, Jan 8th), I thought I’d compile a short list of performances that have stuck with me over the years. These are from movies, YouTube, and TV, and feature songs made famous by Elvis. I’ll just be honest, they’re mostly “Can’t Help Falling in Love” performances, except for this first one…
There are quite a few songs I’ve heard that were simply remakes of an older version. An easy one to use as an example is “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” Everyone and their mother knows this song was made popular by Elvis Presley.
But this isn’t the version I heard first. For me, it was the recording by UB40 that I fell in love with in the early 1990s.
There are other songs, too, that are only a newer artists take on an old classic. So my question is this:
Does a person generally like the first version they hear of a song, even if it’s not the original artist singing it?
Alien Ant Farm “Smooth Criminal,” Boyz II Men “In the Still of the Night,” Jeff Buckley “Hallelujah,” Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You,” and Sinead O’Connor “Nothing Compares 2 U” are arguably better covers than the originals, along with many, many other songs. If you heard these first, would you think they’re better than Michael Jackson, The Five Satins, Leonard Cohen, Dolly Parton, and Prince’s originals?
What are your thoughts? Do you have a few cover favorites you like better than the original? Chime in below!
Have you ever thought about specific words and the power they have? I’m just now realizing the strength of the word ‘you’. It all began way, way back in the year 2010 while watching a great performace of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” on YouTube (here). A quick history lesson, this song was originally recorded by Elvis Presley (used in the film “Blue Hawaii”) and has since been covered by many artists, arguably the most notable being UB40 in the early 90s. For such a short song, the lyrics repeat “I can’t help falling in love with you” five times! However, it never feel repetitive, ie. “Say” by John Mayer (listen to it once and it already feels overplayed). Of course, there are many more songs including ‘you’ because every song is about you, me, or us, right? The word ‘you’ in singular fashion cuts a narrow path to an audience of one, personalizing the message for the intended receiver. But so much more importantly, it elevates their importance! There is a message meant for no one else in this whole wide world, it’s only for you.
I love you.
You are great.
I don’t like you.
You are the worst.
How thoughtful! Gaining the hearers attention, the message-sender now has the the power to build up or tear down. A song like “Can’t Help Falling In Love” builds up. A song like “Crying Like A Bitch” tears down. That’s the power of ‘you’… there’s no general vagueness, no “I wonder who he’s talking to,” no questions about the intended target. So whether it’s encouraging or not, it’s definitely special.
Wise men say, “Only fools rush in.” But I can’t help falling in love with you.
And you wonder why no one can stand you, and there’s no denying, you were crying like a bitch.