For the August playlist, I am doing something a little different. Recently, I heard a cover of one of my all-time favorite songs, which is “I Can’t Help Falling in Love,” originally recorded by Elvis Presley in 1961. Listening it to it again reminded me of another cover of the song that I had loved from years ago, and researching that version led me down a rabbit hole of covers, so I thought that it would be fun to do a playlist of nothing but “I Can’t Help Falling in Love.” And if you are anything like me (and if you’re reading this, I hope you are), I am one of those people who listen to the same song 13 times in a row. This playlist is a chance to for you do that, but with a twist, because each one will be a little bit different.
I originally realized that I loved “I Can’t Help Falling in Love” while working in my studio after graduating from art school. (Before I started making jewelry, I was an abstract painter). I had an ever-changing playlist full of new music to accompany my art-making because I worked at a music store (the musicscape of the internet was still in its infancy so I had to find musical inspo IRL). It was Howe Gelb’s spare version of the song from his album Confluence that brought back memories of hearing an old Elvis recording of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love” from when I was a child.
There have literally been dozens of covers of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love.” It was a bit late to have been a pop standard (which were mainly from the thirties through the fifties). I am a little mystified by the ongoing popularity of the song. Falling in love is relatable to most people, but there are thousands (millions?) of songs about love that have not been covered by dozens of musicians like this one has. Is it the melody? The music was based on a song from the 1700s called “Plaisir D’Amour” (The Pleasure of Love). Maybe it’s the weird mixture of happiness and sadness that permeates the song; because although falling in love should be a joyful occurrence, the song treats it as a strange and painful obligation.
In any case, and as you’ll hear from the playlist, everyone from Beck to Bob Dylan has their own distinct version of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love.” And believe me, despite being comprised of one song, this was no easy playlist to assemble. It turns out that a lot of dorks have sung this song and because I am not going inflict schmaltz on anyone, a lot of covers ended up getting cut (sorry Rick Astley). I also included two bonus tracks; the first is the Spiritualized track “Ladies and Gentlemen We’re Floating in Space,” which includes lyrics from the song; the second is the aforementioned song ancestor Plaisir D’Amour.” Enjoy!