Elvis Presley

Viva Las Vegas

Song Review by

Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman's "Viva Las Vegas" was custom-written as the title song for Elvis Presley's 14th film, released in April 1964. It was a rollicking tribute to the city of gambling and was given a spirited performance by Presley and his session musicians (the best thing about the film and the music heard in it). Strangely, although there were enough songs for a soundtrack album, RCA Victor opted to release only a single and a four-song EP, with the title song relegated to the B-side of a Presley cover of the Ray Charles classic "What'd I Say." That didn't give proper exposure to "Viva Las Vegas," but the song nevertheless climbed into the Top 20, and the single eventually went gold. Still, it remained an underrated Presley song for a long time, finally beginning to gain some recognition from an unexpected quarter when Jello Biafra's Dead Kennedys recorded it for their Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables album in 1980. With its fast pace and frisky lyrics, the song turned out not to be such a bad match for a hardcore punk approach, though Biafra probably intended the interpretation to be ironic and campy. Such a radical recontextualization helped the song to an independent life beyond its origins in a bad Elvis Presley movie, and on its own it could be appreciated as a tribute to Las Vegas that probably deserved to be the city's official anthem. Other cover versions followed, establishing "Viva Las Vegas" as a minor standard.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Viva Las Vegas 1964 Sony Music Entertainment 2:27
Viva Las Vegas [Video] 1964 MGM
Elvis' Gold Records, Vol. 4 1968 BMG 2:21
Elvis' 50 Worldwide Gold Award Hits, Vol. 1 1970 RCA 2:11
No Image 1970 RCA
No Image 1972 RCA
50 Years-50 Hits 1976 BMG 2:14
No Image 1977 RCA
This Is Elvis 1981 RCA
No Image 1981 Warner Home Video
No Image 1982
No Image 1983 RCA
No Image 1984 RCA
Love in Las Vegas/Roustabout 1993 RCA
Viva Las Vegas/Roustabout 1993 RCA 2:20
Gold: The Very Best of the King 1995 BMG International 2:22
Command Performances: The Essential 60's Masters II 1995 RCA 2:22
Elvis Elvis Elvis: The King & His Movies 1997 Life Times & Music 2:22
Greatest Jukebox Hits 1997 RCA 2:21
The Elvis Presley Collection: Movie Magic [Time-Life] 1997 Time / Life Music 2:23
All the Best, Vol. 1-2 1999 BMG International 2:12
No Image 1999 RCA 2:21
Can't Help Falling in Love: The Hollywood Hits 1999 BMG Heritage / RCA 2:21
Movies 1999 RCA / BMG International 2:23
Rock & Roll 1999 BMG 2:21
Legendary [BMG] 2000 BMG International 2:24
No Image 2000 BMG
The 50 Greatest Hits 2000 RCA 2:23
Swedish Hit Collection 2001 BMG International 2:20
The Best of Elvis Presley [RCA] 2001 RCA 2:20
2nd to None 2003 BMG Heritage / RCA 2:25
Elvis Forever [2004] 2004 RCA
Hitstory 2005 Sony Music Distribution 2:25
Elvis Movies 2006 RCA 2:21
The Essential Elvis Presley [RCA/Sony BMG] 2007 RCA 2:25
No Image 2007 RCA 2:23
As Seen on Screen: Film Title Songs from the 50s and 60s 2008
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:23
Sounds of the 60's Generation 2008
Various Artists
Destra 2:27
Elvis 75 2009 Legacy / RCA / Sony Legacy 2:27
60's Summer Party 2011
Various Artists
EMI Gold 2:22
Pure... America 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:25
I Am an Elvis Fan 2012 Legacy / RCA 2:26
The Movie Soundtracks: 20 Original Albums 2014 RCA 2:27
Bossa Nova Baby: The Ultimate Elvis Presley Party Album 2014 Legacy / RCA 2:24
60s: Elvis Presley 2014 BMG / Sony Music Entertainment 2:25
50 Australian Top Ten Hits 1956-1977 Sony Music Entertainment 2:27
Elvis by Request: The Australian Fan Edition Sony Music Distribution 2:22
Turn Me Loose: The Songs of Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman
Various Artists
Retroactive 2:23