This features Glen Campbell on guitar. Before he became a successful Country/Pop recording artist, Glen Campbell was much in demand as a session guitarist in the mid 1960s. He even briefly replaced Brian Wilson in The Beach Boys in 1965. Campbell first met Elvis in Albuquerque in 1957 when he was 21 and they stayed in touch. He recalled to UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph in a 2011 interview: "We both come up the same way, in the sticks. Elvis was a great singer, he really was. I wanted to play the guitar more so than I did singing. He was a great guy."
This was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman as the title song for the film of the same name staring Elvis Presley. Among the other songs they wrote for Presley were the hits "Little Sister," "Suspicion," "Surrender" and "His Latest Flame (Marie's The Name)."
The song is featured twice in the film The Big Lebowski. During the film it is performed by a Rock band called Big Johnson featuring Bunny Lebowski, the wife of Big Lebowski. During the closing credits Shawn Colvin performs a softer version.
Viva Las Vegas was the most successful of the 31 films Elvis starred in, returning more than $5 million to MGM Studios on an investment of less than $1 million.
The song was revived by ZZ Top, who took it to #10 in the UK in 1992.
As part of a series of re-releases of Elvis songs in the UK in 2007, this re-entered the UK chart at #15, two places higher than its original chart placing of #17 in 1964.
The Pfizer drug company used this song in a commercial for their erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, changing the lyrics to "Viva Viagra." The ad generated a fair share of buzz, as some Elvis fans were dismayed to see his song transformed into an ode to Viagra.
Hardcore punk band Dead Kennedys covered this for their 1980 debut Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, but singer Jello Biafra rewrote some of the lyrics to mock compulsive gambling and drug abuse. For example, Elvis' line "'Cause even if there were forty more, I wouldn't sleep a minute away" is changed to "Even if I ran out of speed, boy, I wouldn't sleep a minute away" and "Let me shout a seven with every shot" is changed to "Got coke up my nose to dry away the snot." Their version was used in the 1998 dark comedy Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, starring Johnny Depp. (thanks, Kyle - Seattle, WA)