Can’t Help Falling in Love: A History

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and you know what that means: countless people spending money on expensive chocolates, flowers, and jewelry to show their significant other how much they love them.

With that in mind, today I want to spread some love through the classic Elvis Presley song Can’t Help Falling in Love.

About the Song

Lyrics

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

Melody

The melody is based on Plaisir d’amour (“Pleasure of Love”), a French song composed by Jean-Paul-Égide Martini (1741–1816) in 1784. Martini’s song was a hit during his time as well:

The words to Plaisir d’amour were taken from a poem written by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian (1755–1794):

Plaisir d’amour ne dure qu’un moment,
chagrin d’amour dure toute la vie.

J’ai tout quitté pour l’ingrate Sylvie,
Elle me quitte et prend un autre amant.
Plaisir d’amour ne dure qu’un moment,
chagrin d’amour dure toute la vie.

“Tant que cette eau coulera doucement
vers ce ruisseau qui borde la prairie,
je t’aimerai”, me répétait Sylvie,
l’eau coule encor, elle a changé pourtant.

Plaisir d’amour ne dure qu’un moment,
chagrin d’amour dure toute la vie.

The pleasure of love lasts only a moment,
The grief of love lasts a lifetime.

I gave up everything for ungrateful Sylvia,
She is leaving me for another lover.
The pleasure of love lasts only a moment,
The grief of love lasts a lifetime.

“As long as this water will run gently
Towards this brook which borders the meadow,
I will love you”, Sylvia told me repeatedly.
The water still runs, but she has changed.

The pleasure of love lasts only a moment,
The grief of love lasts a lifetime

Favorite Covers

Can’t Help Falling in Love has seen its share of success; Presley’s version has been sold over one million times in the United States alone, and the song has been covered many times since its release in 1961. Here are some of my favorite covers of Can’t Help Falling in Love:

Haley Reinhart

Her silky, effortless voice adds another dimension of vulnerability to the song.

Pentatonix

Tight harmonies. Enough said.

The Piano Guys

Their take is so much more upbeat than other covers I’ve heard, and I love it!

Why is Can’t Help Falling in Love so timeless?

The melody is simple and memorable. The tender lyrics are raw and relatable. Combined, the song is unforgettable.

Can't Help Falling in Love

 

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I'm a pianist, composer, writer, photographer, and overall classical-music-lover who is always open to new sounds.

25 thoughts on “Can’t Help Falling in Love: A History

      1. Just took another listen. Yes, that’s in the same vein for sure. I know they’re fans of Imogen’s too because they did one of her lesser-known tracks, “Aha!” on their PTX, Vol. 1 album.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. The Piano Guys – they make a slow somber song, sound really cheerful and beautiful. I also enjoyed the Melody, the French version.
        Hey, you see, I enjoyed the piano version! YOU DID IT, I’m enjoying the piano now. I still love the flute and violins too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. What a delight to hear these different versions of one of my favourite sings… had no idea Elvis had sung it, and I love his rich voice and interpretation of it… the other singer’s versions were somewhat marred by their sloppy diction I felt… I chose Joan Baez
    version for a radio program I did on my favourite music….. which included Paul Robeson, and Elina Garanca

    Liked by 1 person

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