Wooden Heart

This article is about the 1960 song. For the 2010 Listener album, see Wooden Heart (album).
"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 All Right for Love" (UK 1961)
Released 1960
Format 7", 45rpm
Recorded April 28, 1960
Length 2:03
Label RCA
Writer(s) Fred Wise, Ben Weisman, Kay Twomey, Bert Kaempfert[1]
Producer(s) Steve Sholes[1]
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" lit. Must I then) is a song best known for its use in the 1960 Elvis Presley film G.I. Blues. The song was a hit single for Presley in the UK Singles Chart, making No. 1 for six weeks there in March and April 1961,[1][2] but was not released on a single in the United States until November 1964, where it was the B-side to "Blue Christmas". Presley performed the song live during his Dinner Show concert at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas in 1975, a recording available on the Elvis Presley live album Dinner At Eight.

A cover version by Joe Dowell made it to number one in the US at the end of August 1961, knocking Bobby Lewis' "Tossin' and Turnin'" off the number-one spot of the Billboard Hot 100 after seven weeks. Dowell's version also spent three weeks at number one on the Easy Listening chart.[3]

"Wooden Heart", created by Fred Wise, Ben Weisman, Kay Twomey and German bandleader Bert Kaempfert,[1] was based on a German folk song by Friedrich Silcher, "Muss i denn", originating from the Rems Valley in Württemberg, southwest Germany. "Wooden Heart" features several lines from the original folk song, written in the German Swabian dialect, as spoken in Württemberg. Marlene Dietrich recorded a version of the song sometime before 1958, pre-dating Presley, in the original German language, which appears as a B-side on a 1959 version of her single "Lili Marlene", released by Philips in association with Columbia Records.[4] The Elvis Presley version was published by Gladys Music, Elvis Presley's publishing company. 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..."



  1. 1 2 3 4 Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 56. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  2. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 122–3. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 82.
  4. ""Lili Marlene" Philips issue". Discogs. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
Preceded by
"Walk Right Back" b/w "Ebony Eyes" by The Everly Brothers
UK Singles Chart number-one single (Elvis Presley version)
March 23, 1961 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Blue Moon" by The Marcels
Preceded by
"Together" by Connie Francis
Billboard Easy Listening number-one single (Joe Dowell version)
August 14 – 28, 1961
Succeeded by
"Michael" by The Highwaymen
Preceded by
"Tossin' and Turnin'" by Bobby Lewis
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (Joe Dowell version)
August 28, 1961
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