About the song

Ah, Pocketful of Rainbows. A song that evokes a sense of whimsical optimism, nestled within the filmography of the legendary Elvis Presley. But for those of us who delve a little deeper, the story behind this tune is just as fascinating as the melody itself.

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Elvis, fresh off his stint in the military, was experiencing a resurgence in popularity by 1960. His film career, however, was taking a more formulaic turn. Gone were the rebellious rock and roll days of “Jailhouse Rock” and “Hound Dog.” Instead, Hollywood was churning out lighter musicals that capitalized on Elvis’s charisma. G.I. Blues, released that year, was a prime example. Set in West Germany, it showcased Presley as a charismatic soldier navigating romance and cultural clashes.

Pocketful of Rainbows wasn’t originally intended for the film. The songwriting duo Leiber and Stoller, who had penned some of Elvis’s biggest hits like “Jailhouse Rock” and “Hound Dog,” had a falling out with the film’s producers. Their absence left a void, and much of the soundtrack ended up being filled with generic, forgettable tunes.

Enter Pocketful of Rainbows, a song written by Mort Shuman and Doc Pomus. Shuman, a rising songwriter, had already collaborated with Presley on a few tracks, but Pomus was a heavyweight. A veteran lyricist known for his soulful ballads, Pomus brought a touch of depth and sincerity to the table.

The resulting song is a delightful paradox. The lyrics paint a picture of a world overflowing with joy, a place where pockets are literally filled with rainbows. Lines like “Skies are filled with diamonds, what a sight to see” and “Every cloud has a silver lining, that’s the way it’s meant to be” exude a childlike wonder. Yet, Elvis’s delivery adds a layer of melancholic yearning. His smooth vocals and subtle phrasing hint at a deeper longing for happiness, a sentiment that resonated with many fans who were witnessing a shift in the King’s musical direction.

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Pocketful of Rainbows stands out within the G.I. Blues soundtrack. It’s a testament to the power of a well-crafted song to transcend the limitations of a formulaic film. It’s a reminder that even amidst manufactured Hollywood cheer, Elvis Presley could still deliver a vocal performance that tugged at the heartstrings. So, the next time you hear this seemingly lighthearted tune, remember the story behind it – a story of changing eras, a touch of creative conflict, and the enduring power of a King’s voice.

Video

Lyrics

“Pocketful Of Rainbows”
(from “G.I. Blues” soundtrack)

I don’t worry
Whenever skies are gray above
Got a pocketful of rainbows
Got a heart full of love

Mister Heartache
I’ve found a way to make him leave
Got a pocketful of rainbows
Got a star up in my sleeve

Kiss me extra tender
Hold me extra tight
‘Cause I’m savin’ your sweetness
For a lonely night, aye
Aye, aye, aye, aye, aye, aye, aye, aye

No more teardrops
Now that I’ve found a love so true
I got a pocketful of rainbows
Got an armful of you

Kiss me extra tender
Hold me extra tight
‘Cause I’m savin’ your sweetness
For a lonely night, aye
Aye, aye, aye, aye, aye, aye, aye, aye

No more heartaches
Now that I’ve found a love so true
Got a pocketful of rainbows
And an armful of you

Rainbows…
Rainbows…