We all know the song as soon as we hear the title, or indeed, as soon as we hear those first lines, “Wise men say / Only fools rush in”. In our minds we can also instantly hear the resonating vocals of The King himself, Elvis Presley, who died this day, 44 years ago. It’s a hard act to follow, but we think John Grimes has got it in the bag with his acoustic guitar cover of ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’.
Written by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, and George David Weiss, ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ was first recorded by Elvis Presley for his 1961 album, ‘Blue Hawaii’, and the film of the same name. The melody was based on the classical composition ‘Plaisir d’amour’, by Jean-Paul-Egide Martini. It’s been covered by a diverse range of artists, including Bob Dylan, and UB40, both of whose renditions veered somewhat sonically from the Presley original; Dylan choosing to accompany himself on harmonica, as well as using a different arrangement and tempo. UB40 of course kept to their customary reggae style, with an a cappella opening by Ali Campbell, before being joined by the rest of the band on vocals and instruments.
John’s version keeps close to the original, while at the same time imbuing it with his own style. He pays homage to Elvis’s vibrato, and yet it’s a whole lot less fussy than Presley’s crooning, slow dance style – it’s just John and his guitar, no other accompaniment – but in its simplicity he effectively brings it back for a new generation.
As with all John’s covers, he’s uploaded directly from what he’s recorded on his phone. This hasn’t been done in the studio; there’s no recourse to mixing desks, or editing in post. It’s exactly as John has sung, a live performance.
We think it’s a great rendition, and it gives John the opportunity to show off his vocal range. He’s not got the bass of Elvis in his later years, but we shouldn’t expect him to; just like Dylan and UB40 played to their own strengths, so too does John.
Today, as we remember The King, 44 years after his death, it’s nice to know his music lives on, and continues to resonate with audiences of all ages.
Listen to John Grimes singing ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’. Let us know what you think!