Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love

Recorded as (“Plaisir d’Amour”) by Emilio De Gogorza (1902).
Also recorded (as “Plaisir d’Amour”) by Beniamino Gigli (1934), Joan Baez (1961).
Hit versions (in English) by Elvis Presley (US #2/MOR #1/UK #1 1961), Andy Williams (UK #3 1970), The Softones (R&B #53 1973), The Stylistics (R&B #52/UK #4 1976), UB40 (US #1/UK #1/IRE #1/AUS #1 1993).
Also recorded (as “I Want to Live”) by Aphrodite’s Child (NETH #1 1969).

[Note: The above recording is not by Emilio De Gogorza. It is a 1945 arrangement recorded by French cabaret tenor Emile-Jean Vanni-Marcoux.]

From the wiki: “‘(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love’ was written by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore and George Weiss (‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight‘, ‘What a Wonderful World’) based on a popular romance melody by Jean Pierre Claris de Florian, ‘Plaisir d’Amour’, first performed in 1784 and first recorded in 1902 by Emilio De Gogorza.

“Beniamino Gigli, considered by some to be the greatest opera tenor of his generation, covered ‘Plaisir d’Amour’ in 1934. (Gigli rose to true international prominence after the death of the great Italian tenor Enrico Caruso in 1921. Such was Gigli’s popularity with audiences he was often called ‘Caruso Secondo’, though in great operatic ego tradition he much preferred to be known as ‘Gigli Primo’.)

“English-language lyrics were later written by George Weiss for an Elvis Presley feature movie, but who claimed that neither the movie producers nor Elvis’ associates liked the song demo. Nonetheless, Elvis insisted on recording the song for the movie Blue Hawaii.

“‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ would go on to become Elvis Presley’s most popular and most famous ‘love song’, although it failed to reach #1 (kept from the top spot by Jpey Dee & the Starlighters’ ‘Peppermint Twist’), peaking instead at #2, although it did top the MOR chart for six weeks. The Blue Hawaii soundtrack album, however, hit #1 on the Billboard Album chart in the fall of 1961 and remained there for 20 consecutive weeks (a chart record that wasn’t broken until Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 landmark album, Rumours, topped the US album chart for 31 consecutive weeks).

“In 1961, almost as a counterpoint to the Elvis recording, Folk singer Joan Baez also recorded a version of the song – in the original French.

“A song based on the melody but lyrically different, titled ‘I Want to Live’, was a 1969 chart-topper in the Netherlands for the Greek rock band Aphrodite’s Child (Demis Roussos, and pre-Chariots of Fire Vangelis). In 1970, Andy Williams’ version of ‘(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love’ went to #3 in the UK. In 1976, the song again became a UK hit when the Stylistics’ disco-fied version hit #4.

“In 1993, UB40 topped both the US and UK charts with their pop-reggae arrangement of ‘(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love’.”

Beniamino Gigli, “Plasir d’AMour” (1934):

Joan Baez, “Plaisir d’Amour” a 1965 BBC-TV performance (1961):

Elvis Presley, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (1961):

Aphrodite’s Child, “I Want to Live” (1969):

Andy Williams, “(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love” (1970):

The Softones, “(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love” (1973):

The Stylistics, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” BBC-TV performance (1976):

UB40, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (1993):

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