Arts & Entertainment
The Wedding Song
Couple share special memories of
"Can't Help Falling in Love."
Special to the Jewish News
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arc Feldman will never
forget 1998. He moved
from West Bloomfield to
Chicago that year, and while attend-
ing law school, mutual friends intro-
duced him to graduate student Lara
Wolf from Pepper Pike, Ohio.
After six months of friendship and
more than two years of dating, they
married in Cleveland, on Aug. 18,
2001. Halfway through the evening
reception, Feldman planned to
romantically surprise his bride and
more than 200 guests with a per-
formance of Elvis Presley's hit "Can't
Help Falling in Love."
"I've never done karaoke, and I
would hardly call myself a singer,"
Feldman insists. 'A few days before
the wedding, I spoke with the band-
leader and told him that I wanted to
do a song sometime during the night.
"I chose 'Can't Help Falling in
Love' because I've always liked
Elvis' music and I knew the song
was short and easy to sing.
"I also felt that everyone at the
wedding could relate to the song,
because it was a hit that's remained
popular through the years.
"I just figured that my wedding
was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
to sing something to my wife and
make it more special."
To cause as little suspicion as possi-
ble, Feldman strategically waited until
he and his new bride had finished
dancing together. He then proceeded
to the stage and joined a section of
the live band that was also in cahoots.
"I don't think many of our guests
knew what was happening, until I
began singing," Feldman recalls
about suddenly changing the mood
of the upbeat celebration.
"I could see Tnra standing in front of
me, looking beautiful, and with many
of her friends standing around her and
hugging her. She was very surprised."
The groom even got more than he
bargained for, when his bride unex-
pectedly ascended the stage and man-
aged to sing the last stanza of the love
We appreciate your business! ;
HE WRITES THE SONGS from page 67
about becoming a professional song-
writer, his collaborations with
Benjamin scored hits from the mid-
1940s into the 1950s, including
recordings by Frank Sinatra ("Oh!
What It Seemed to Be"), Kay Starr
("Wheel of Fortune"), Patti Page
("Cross Over the Bridge") and others.
In 1956, Weiss teamed with future
Fiddler on the Roof music writer Jerry
Bock, scoring the Broadway hit Mt:
Wonderful that starred Sammy Davis Jr.
And throughout the '60s, transistor-
ized baby boomers were attuned to
Weiss' hits by the Tokens ("The Lion
Sleeps Tonight"), the Essex ("A
Walkin' Miracle"), Johnny Horton
("Johnny Freedom"), Little Peggy
March ("I Wish I Were a Princess"),
Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole
("That Sunday, That Summer") and,
in the '70s, the Stylistics ("Let's Put It
All Together"), to mention a few.
It was in 1968, though, when racial
tensions were grabbing headlines, that
Louis Armstrong recorded "What a
Weiss was commissioned to write
the song by ABC record producer Bob
Thiele, the husband of '50s pop stylist
"Louis was my idol," Weiss explains,
"so I told Bob that I would love to
write a song that metaphorically spoke
of Louis' life and about his bringing
the races together.
"That's what I'm talking about,
when the song mentions "the colors of
the rainbow"; the image of "the dark
sacred night" has a dark-skin connota-
tion and the line "I see clouds of
white" envisions light-skinned people."
When finally released, Weiss
remembers that Armstrong's recording
turned out to be "a total and complete
flop" in America.
However, Weiss found out that a
preacher in England started playing
"What a Wonderful World" on his
Sunday morning radio show. The air-
play began selling records, and, unbe-
lievably, the song hit No. 1 in Britain,