“Can’t Help Falling in Love” is one of Elvis Presley’s most famous songs, however, he did not record the highest-charting version of it. In fact, the highest-charting cover of the song was by a band that was not composed of Elvis fanatics. Here’s a look at the rendition of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” that reached No. 1 — and how Bono factored into its story.
The massive importance of Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’
Firstly, a little background. If any Elvis song has become a standard, it’s his 1961 ballad “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” It reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Subsequently, it’s been covered by everyone from Britney Spears to Bob Dylan to Meghan Trainor to Zayn Malik.
According to Rolling Stone, a cover of the song featured in the romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians helped Elvis’ Spotify to receive over 544 million streams in 2019. This made him one of the 200 most-streamed artists on the platform that year. Clearly, the song is connecting with people decades after its release — and a lot of that has to do with covers of it.
How a Nicholas Cage movie led to the creation of the most famous cover of Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’
According to Far Out Magazine, the most famous cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” came into existence because of a movie. Specifically, the film was the Nicholas Cage romantic comedy Honeymoon in Vegas. Elvis impersonators play a significant role in the film, so it only makes sense the soundtrack features covers of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s most famous songs. The soundtrack includes gem’s like Bruce Springsteen’s “Viva Las Vegas” and Billy Joel’s “Heartbreak Hotel.”
British reggae band UB40 recorded a cover for the film that wasn’t included on the soundtrack. “When we did ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’, it was for a Nicolas Cage film,” UB40’s Ali Campbell said. “It was Honeymoon in Vegas, the soundtrack was all Elvis songs. They didn’t use ours, Bono sang it in the end. We weren’t raving Elvis fans, but we released it anyway and it made number one in something like thirty countries. They used it in a Sharon Stone movie, I can’t remember the name of.” The film in question was Sliver, an obscure erotic thriller.
How UB40’s cover performed commercially compared to their other hits
UB40’s decision to release their cover paid off commercially. Their rendition of the ballad reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It became the only No. 1 hit of their career with the exception of “Red Red Wine.” Interestingly, “Red Red Wine” was also a cover of a 1960s song, specifically a song by Neil Diamond. UB40 knew how to bring back the hits of the past, including “Can’t Help Falling in Love” — even if they weren’t’ massive fans of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.