Elvis Presley has proven throughout his career that he is not only a brilliant rocker but also a true box office star. Almost immediately after getting his first hit record, King started acting in movies and found he had a knack for it.
In total, Elvis has starred in 31 feature films and he consistently provided a catchy soundtrack for almost all of his images. Some of Elvis’ greatest hits actually come from his films, and the music for many of his films has become touchstones of pop culture.
ten “Heart of wood” – GI Blues (1960)
Drawing on his real-life experience in the military, Elvis played the role of a soldier in GI Blues. The film centers on an American soldier stationed in Germany who dreams of opening his own nightclub. The film featured many great tunes from the King, but one song in particular stood out.
“Wooden Heart” was the movie’s biggest hit and showed Elvis’ cutest side as a singer. The instrumentation of the song uses sounds of German clockwork and is a unique melody in Elvis’ songbook.
9 “Return to sender” – girls! Girls! Girls! (1962)
Girls! Girls! Girls! was a typical king’s movie. Elvis plays a sailor who must find a way to buy the boat he’s working on so that he doesn’t retire. Along the way, he falls in love with two different girls and has to make the difficult choice of choosing one.
“Return to Sender” was the film’s flagship song and turned out to be a huge hit for Elvis. The song allows him to show his playful side but also the patented sensibility for which Elvis is known as a singer.
8 “Treat Me Well” – Jailhouse Rock (1957)
Elvis Third Film Prison rock would be one of the defining moments in the king’s legendary career. Elvis plays a young man in prison for manslaughter who becomes a rock star on the inside. The film was perfect for the young rock musician who himself had only found fame a year earlier.
Prison rock was packed with great music and Elvis is excellent on every song on the soundtrack. “Treat Me Nice” wasn’t the movie’s biggest hit, but it showed the young rocker’s skills perfectly. The song characterized the entire picture of Elvis by not only being a rock song, but also showing Elvis as an idol.
seven “Bossa Nova Baby” – Fun in Acapulco (1963)
By the time he starred in Have fun in Acapulco, Elvis had appeared in 13 films. Having fun in Acapulco is a typical Elvis movie and sees him wooing girls and making a living as a nightclub singer. While the film is pretty catch-all, the music in the film is excellent and some of the best of his soundtrack career.
“Bossa Nova Baby” is a swing track which incorporates elements of rock and the popular genre of bossa nova. Elvis’ image had softened somewhat by the 1960s, but “Bossa Nova Baby” showed he could still rock as before.
6 “Hard-headed woman” – Creole king (1958)
In many early Elvis films, he plays a young rocker in a close approximation to his own real life. Creole king sees Elvis as a New Orleans rocker whose music has upset a gangster who aims to end his career. The film is unique for an Elvis movie as there is real danger to his character, as opposed to the usual lighter plot lines.
“Hard Headed Woman” quickly grew beyond the movie it was featured in and was one of Elvis’ early successes. The song has a harsh side that was common in early Elvis music and he sings the words with an appropriate amount of gravity.
5 “Viva Las Vegas” – Viva Las Vegas (1964)
The setting was usually the biggest selling point of an Elvis movie, aside from the King himself. Long live Las Vegas sees Elvis as a race car driver who has to work as a waiter to repair his engine for the big race. Las Vegas was the perfect backdrop for the thrilling film and soon Elvis would become synonymous with the City of Sin.
The title song “Viva Las Vegas” was written for the film but became the official Las Vegas soundtrack. Elvis’ voice is perfect for songwriting and he brings all the star power and excitement the song called for.
4 “Follow this dream” – Follow this dream (1962)
Although he doesn’t remember Elvis as well as other titles, Chase this dream is one of the best movies Elvis has ever starred in. Elvis takes on the role of a member of a group of vagrants who have established a property on a secluded Florida beach. A greedy man wants to develop the beach and tries to evict them from their home.
Elvis’ personality shines through not only in the film, but in the title song as well. “Follow That Dream” perfectly sums up the story of the film and also the entire career of Elvis. Although the song was not as much of a success as others would be for him, Elvis put all his heart and soul into it.
3 “Jailhouse Rock” – Jailhouse Rock (1957)
Prison rock was one of Elvis’ most successful films and the imagery became forever linked to the King. The movie is strong because it doesn’t force Elvis to overdo it in terms of acting and it also encompasses everything that was great when Elvis started out.
In many ways, the film’s soundtrack could be considered just another Elvis album, and classic songs certainly stand out in his discography. “Jailhouse Rock” is not only the title song of the film, but one of Elvis’ most famous songs. The perfect composition along with Scotty Moore’s incredible guitar playing make the song an instant classic and one of the greatest movie songs of all time.
2 “Love me tender” – Love me tender (1956)
Elvis’ debut movie came out the same year as his debut album, and the young rocker has proven he’s up to it. The film follows a group of Confederate soldiers who are ordered to steal a Union train, only to discover that the war has ended shortly before their flight. Elvis is not the star of the film and is in fact playing a supporting role.
Despite his supporting role, he provided several songs for the film, including the famous title song. “Love Me Tender” is the song that catapulted Elvis to superstar rank. Before the movie, Elvis was a huge hit on the rock scene but was a bit of a niche. “Love Me Tender” changed all that. In addition to being a vector of his success, the song is a perfect illustration of what made Elvis great. It is a soft ballad which allows the King to show his beautiful voice and his softer side.
1 “I can’t help but fall in love with you” – Blue Hawaii (1961)
Several years in his acting career, Hawaii Blue was a revelation for Elvis. The story centers on an ex-GI who returns home to Hawaii and defies his parents’ wishes to work in their company. Hawaii Blue is all that made Elvis movies great with its beautiful location, funny story, and wonderful music.
The soundtrack at Hawaii Blue was filled with Elvis classics and, like Las Vegas, Elvis would become inseparable from Hawaii. Although the album is top notch, “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” is definitely the most outstanding track. The song was not only a hit for the movie, but it became Elvis ‘greatest song and is an instantly recognizable’ 60s classic.
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