This was featured in the 1961 Elvis movie Blue Hawaii. It was written by the songwriter George Weiss, who claimed that neither the movie producers nor Elvis' associates liked the song demo, but Elvis insisted on recording this song for the movie. Weiss, who died in 2010 at age 89, was a military bandleader in World War II.
This was Elvis' most popular and famous "love song," but it was not sung to his love interest in Blue Hawaii - It was sung to his grandmother on the occasion of her birthday. Elvis presented her with a music box, which she opened and it played the song, which Elvis then sang along with. (thanks, Terry - Willmar, MN)
The soundtrack to Blue Hawaii hit #1 on the US charts in the fall of 1961 and remained there for 20 weeks in a row, a record that wasn't broken until 1977 by Fleetwood Mac's landmark album Rumours.
The melody is based on a French song called "Plaisir D'Amour," which was penned in 1784 by a German with an Italian name, Jean-Paul Egide-Martini.
Elvis ended most of his concerts with this song.
Hal Blaine played drums on this. He became one of the most successful session drummers of all time, playing on hits by The Beach Boys, The Association, Sam Cooke, Simon And Garfunkel, Neil Diamond, and many others. He entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. (thanks, Ken - Leicester, NC)
UB40 covered this in 1993 with a reggae beat. Their version was a #1 hit in the US.
A version by the Swedish pop group A-Teens appeared on the soundtrack of the animated feature Lilo and Stitch, which like the original version was also set in Hawaii. (thanks, Rick - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
In 1970, Andy Williams' version went to #3 in the UK. In 1976, it became a UK hit once again when The Stylistics version hit #4. The previous year, The Stylistics had a hit with I Can't Give You Anything (But My Love), which was also written by Weiss.
New York-born George Weiss was a prolific songwriter in the '40s, '50s '60s and '70s. Among the string of hits he penned in addition to this song were "What a Wonderful World
" recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1967, The Stylistics 1975 UK chart-topper "Can't Give You Anything (But My Love)," and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight
," a reworking of a South African Zulu song recorded by The Tokens in 1961. As well as writing songs for pop and jazz stars, Weiss also worked on a number of musicals, most famously the Sammy Davis Jr. starring Mr Wonderful
, which he wrote in 1956 with Jerry Bock and Larry Holofcener. Weiss died on August 23, 2010, of natural causes at his home in Oldwick, New Jersey.
Christina Grimmie performed the song on the May 19, 2014 finale of The Voice. Her version reached #74 on the Hot 100.
This was given a double A-sided release in the UK with another song from Blue Hawaii
: "Rock-A-Hula Baby
Haley Reinhart, who placed third on American Idol in 2011, recorded a cover of this song for a commercial for Wrigley's Extra gum. The spot shows a couple (Sarah and Juan) who meet when they are still in school. As they grow older, she is constantly sharing her gum with him, and their love grows. The spot ends with Sarah discovering that Juan has saved some of the wrappers and drawn pictures on them. After she sees his wrapper art, she turns around and finds him proposing to her.
The ad agency, BBDO, had a range of artists record the song, looking for just the right feel. Reinhart's version was the winner, capturing the sentimental but contemporary sound that worked with the story. The song and commercial were released around the same time, and they both went viral, garnering millions of views on YouTube and Facebook.