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ZZ Top covered Elvis Presley‘s “Viva Las Vegas” in the 1990s. One of the two versions was a much bigger hit than the other. Despite this, the less popular version of the song might have had a greater impact on the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll‘s image.

Elvis Presley’s ‘Viva Las Vegas’ and ZZ Top’s cover both appeared on hit albums

Elvis introduced “Viva Las Vegas” to the world in his musical film of the same name. The track was designed to promote the film, but, more than anything, it promotes the idea of Las Vegas. It captures the vivacious and eclectic spirit of the city more than any other song. Despite that, it wasn’t huge upon its release in 1964.

Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas” became a modest hit. It reached No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for a total of seven weeks. The track appeared on the compilation album Elvis: 2nd to None. That compilation reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 16 weeks.

On the other hand, ZZ Top’s 1992 cover of “Viva Las Vegas” didn’t hit the Billboard Hot 100 at all. The cover appeared on the album Greatest Hits. That album peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 74 weeks. 

How ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill felt about singing ‘Viva Las Vegas’

According to Variety, Bob Merlis was ZZ Top’s publicist for decades. After ZZ Top member Dusty Hill died in 2021, Merlis discussed the band’s introduction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. “When the band were, themselves, inducted in 2004 — by Keith Richards, no less — it was a high point for a kid whose original and abiding influence was Elvis Presley,” he said. 

“[Hill] loved Elvis and delighted in singing lead on ‘Jailhouse Rock,’ which ZZ Top often performed as a concert encore, and on ‘Viva Las Vegas,’ a standout during their residencies at The Venetian,” Merlis added. “Yes, he was one of rock’s most bass players but also a richly nuanced vocalist who delivered in no uncertain terms.” For context, The Venetian Las Vegas is a luxury resort.


Why Elvis Presley’s Manager Nixed a Full ‘Viva Las Vegas’ Soundtrack

Elvis Presley’s music also impacted Duty Hill’s wedding

Elvis’ influence on Hill extended beyond ZZ Top’s cover songs. “Speaking of Elvis, at Dusty’s 2002 wedding to his beloved Charleen ‘Chuck’ McCrory, directly after vows were exchanged and all in attendance expected the traditional bride and groom first dance, he grabbed the mic and serenaded her with a heartfelt and evocative rendition of ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love,'” he said. “The spirit of the King truly lived in ‘The Dust.'”

While Elvis influenced Hill, ZZ Top also had an impact on Elvis’ image. “Viva Las Vegas” wasn’t one of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s biggest hits in the 1960s. It didn’t even crack the top 20! Despite this, it’s now one of his most famous songs, appearing in numerous films, television shows, and greatest hits albums. The tune might not be as famous today without ZZ Top’s rendition.

“Viva Las Vegas” is a great song and ZZ Top helped make it ubiquitous.