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"Wooden Heart (Muss I Denn)"
Single by Elvis Presley
from the album G.I. Blues
A-side "Blue Christmas" (USA 1964)
B-side "Tonight is So Right for Love" (UK 1961)
Released 1960
Format 7", 45rpm
Recorded April 28, 1960
Genre Blues
Length 2:03
Label RCA
Writer(s) Fred Wise, Ben Weisman, Kay Twomey, Bert Kaempfert
Elvis Presley USA chronology
"Ask Me"
"Blue Christmas"
"Do the Clam"
Elvis Presley UK chronology
"Are You Lonesome Tonight?"
"Wooden Heart"

"Wooden Heart (Muss I Denn)" is a song best known for featuring in the 1960 Elvis Presley film G.I. Blues. The song was a hit for Presley in the United Kingdom, making number one for six weeks, but wasn't released as a single in the USA until November 1964 (as B-side to "Blue Christmas"). Presley was pipped to the post in the U.S. by Joe Dowell's cover version, which made number one at the end of August 1961, knocking Bobby Lewis' Tossin' and Turnin' off the number one chart after 7 weeks. Elvis performed the song live during his Dinner Show concert at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas in 1975. The recording is available on the Elvis Presley live album, Dinner At Eight.

"Wooden Heart", created by Fred Wise, Ben Weisman, Kay Twomey and German bandleader Bert Kaempfert, was based on a German folk song, "Muß i' denn zum Städtele hinaus". "Wooden Heart" features several lines from the original folk song, written in the German dialect Swabian. Bobby Vinton recorded his version in 1975 with those lines translated into Polish.

The Elvis Presley version featured two parts in German, the first one is the first four lines of "Muß i' denn zum Städtele hinaus", whereas the second part appears towards the end and is based on a translation of the English version (therefore not appearing in the original German folk lyrics). This part being "Sei mir gut, Sei mir gut, Sei mir wie du wirklich sollst, Wie du wirklich sollst...." This literally means "Be good to me, Be good to me, Be to me how you really should, How you really should...."

"Wooden Heart" was covered by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1993. It was released in their 1995 Playback box set on disc six, "Nobody's Children".

Another Elvis song from the same session, this one a track from G.I. Blues, "The first album I ever owned," Petty says. In 1995 Petty arranged for his family to take a private tour of Graceland, and for the Heartbreakers to record at Sun Studios. "I am the true Elvis fan. The music meant so much to me. I really have to give him credit for saving my life on so many levels.

-Tom Petty, Playback box set liner notes


  • (US) "Blue Christmas" b/w "Wooden Heart" Released: November 1964, RCA 447-0720
Preceded by
"Walk Right Back" b/w "Ebony Eyes" by The Everly Brothers
UK number one single
(Elvis Presley version)

March 23, 1961 (six weeks)
Succeeded by
"Blue Moon" by The Marcels
Preceded by
"Tossin' and Turnin'" by Bobby Lewis
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
(Joe Dowell version)

August 28, 1961 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Michael" by The Highwaymen

External links



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