With the release of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, I’m reviewing all of Elvis Presley’s 18 #1 hits on Billboard including 11 that topped pre-Hot 100 charts and 7 that topped the Hot 100 after its 1958 inception.
Elvis Presley- “Good Luck Charm”
HIT #1: April 21, 1962
STAYED AT #1: 2 weeks
Thanks to our current streaming era in music, an artist can go to #1 on the Hot 100 with basically any song thanks to their fanbases that will rabidly consume their music to get it to the top even if it no one else cares about said song. We’ve been seeing this play out so many times in the past few years where major artists release often mediocre songs that debut at #1 thanks to the fan activity but then dramatically fall off as if they never existed becoming instantly memory-holed.
I bring this up because this is essentially a similar kind of condition with Elvis Presley’s “Good Luck Charm” 60 years earlier. By 1962, Elvis had stopped performing to act in often formulaic movies but those movies were still big and he was still dominating the charts with all his new releases even if he wasn’t the energetic performer he was in the ‘50s. Like Drake today, Elvis in 1962 could release anything regardless of how below average it was and still go to #1. “Good Luck Charm” is the perfect example of a forgettable song that only owes its existence as a #1 hit thanks to the star power of its artist. The song also happened to be Elvis’ final #1 hit at least until the big comeback.
That said, “Good Luck Charm” is a fun laid back stroll of a song. Elvis sounds like he’s having fun making the most of this average song through his well charm as he sings about having this girl be his good luck charm while also having a nice interplay with Jordanaires singer Gordon Stoker who joins Elvis to sing on the chorus. Like a lot of Elvis songs in the early ‘60s, “Good Luck Charm” isn’t one of the career-defining songs people think of when they think of Elvis but I find myself enjoying it in all its forgettable nature. Personally, for me, it’s always fun singing along and mimicking Elvis’ voice on the song.
Even though his early-‘60s hits don’t get looked back on all that fondly, Elvis was still capable of making great songs. A few months before “Good Luck Charm” hit #1, he got up to #2 with the tender ballad “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” a song done for his movie Blue Hawaii and which is probably his best-remembered song of this period. (“Can’t Help Falling In Love” is a 9.) And it’s not like Elvis immediately stopped having hits after “Good Luck Charm” either. For about the next year, some of his singles were still landing in the Top 10 such as “Return To Sender” which like “Can’t Help Falling In Love” made it to #2 at the end of ’62. (It’s a 6.) But the arrival of the Beatles in February 1964 marked a big decline in Elvis’ fortunes on the pop charts with his singles now often charting lower along with his movies starting to make less and less money. Clearly, a change was needed for Elvis to get back to his former glory and that would eventually come in more ways than one.
BONUS BEATS: Here’s the cover of “Good Luck Charm” that Alvin and the Chipmunks put out in 1988: