Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ Inspired 1 of The Who’s Songs

TL;DR:

  • Pete Townshend said Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” inspired one of The Who’s songs.
  • The song in question was a piano ballad.
  • The track appeared on one of The Who’s hit albums.
"Can't Help Falling in Love" singer Elvis Presley wearing red
Elvis Presley | Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer

Elvis Presley‘s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” is one of the most famous ballads ever. Notably, Pete Townshend said “Can’t Help Falling in Love” inspired one of The Who’s songs. In addition, Townshend said The Who’s Elvis-inspired song came from an album that was difficult to complete.

Pete Townshend ‘borrowed’ Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ for 1 of The Who’s songs

In his 2012 book Who I Am: A Memoir, Townshend discussed one of The Who’s compilation albums. “The Who now had another tour booked, and with yet another ‘best of’ album due for release, Then and Now, we went into Oceanic to rehearse and record at least two or three new songs to add some now to the then,” Townshend wrote. 

The Who drew inspiration from other artists for the new songs. “My song was ‘Real Good Looking Boy,’ a piano-based ballad borrowed from Elvis Presley’s hit ‘I Can’t Help (Falling in Love with You) [sic],'” Townshend revealed. “Roger [Daltry] submitted ‘Certified Rose,’ a C&W [country and Western] song I liked very much — it had the feeling of a Ronnie Lane song about it.” 

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Pete Townshend explained why The Who’s John Entwistle didn’t contribute to ‘Then and Now’

Townshend discussed why The Who’s John Entwistle didn’t contribute to Then and Now. “John had a number of songs ready, but pretty much refused to share them,” he wrote. “He told me privately that he couldn’t bear to have his work subjected to Roger’s critique.”

Townshend said creating new songs for Then and Now was difficult. “The recording was rather strained,” Townshend recalled. “John was clearly not in good health: his hearing had gone completely, and he was wearing two powerful hearing aids even while performing.”

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How Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ and The Who’s ‘Real Good Looking Boy’ performed in the United States

“Can’t Help Falling in Love” became a major hit for Elvis. The track reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 14 weeks. The song appeared on the soundtrack for the film Blue Hawaii. The soundtrack was No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for 20 weeks.

On the other hand, The Who’s “Real Good Looking Boy” did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The song’s parent album, Then and Now, became far more popular. The album reached No. 57 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for seven weeks.

The Who are very different from Elvis — but they still took inspiration from the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

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