This is an Elvis song, but U2 have covered it enough that I am including it separately. As an Elvis song you’ve got to expect that Larry was happy to include it, but I wonder how much involvement he had. Did he bring it to the group and say let’s play it, or was Bono picking it up and singing it and they decided to include it?
Famously the song - at least in U2 terms - ended the Zoo TV shows, and can be seen on the end of the Zoo TV Live From Sydney DVD, ending the show and rolling into the credits. Bono is dressed as MacPhisto, as he has been for a while, and this - and Love Is Blindness before it - really seem to me to be the coming back of the singer from down wherever he has been. If MacPhisto is the faded rock and roll singer playing Vegas - appropriate given that is an image of Elvis - then by the time Bono gets to these songs he has been given new life, because he clearly has switched away from that persona and back to himself.
The song is powerful in it’s own terms, used all over the world based just on the title, I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You. I bet it is played at more weddings than just about any other song, although I base that stat on imagination rather than knowing anything specific. In fact it wasn’t played at my own wedding (at least I hope not, if my wife is reading I’m sorry if it really was!), so I don’t know why I have that idea. I mean, of all the weddings I’ve been in it wasn’t played, suggesting it should really be at zero percent, right? But no, it works well as a love song, one of the most popular like I said.
Now, having said all that, the song was used frequently during the Zoo TV tour, I was surprised to see that it has been played exactly 100 times in full or snippet, but it has been almost non-existent since then, making just a handful of appearances since. And that’s okay, the band does move on and make room for new things, and some of the old disappears. Frankly I’d rather this song disappeared from the playlist than a U2 song of any kind. And again, I’ve mentioned my interest in what is going to change in the current tour when Europe starts up in a couple of days, have to wonder which songs we heard on the first leg will never be heard again.
I suppose I could talk about the music here, but I don’t know enough of the original, or the many variations, to know how much of a twist that U2 put on it. For all I know it could be a very conventional version, or it could be wildly different. And for that matter so could the lyrics, although I think that Bono stuck pretty well to the script there, for a song that is pretty well known it is hard to deviate too much. But then again, he deviates in his own songs, so why not?
My rating for Can’t Help Falling In Love: 4 / 10