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Elvis Presley‘s “Viva Las Vegas” is one of the most infectious rock songs of the 1960s. According to Bob Dylan, it’s also an advertisement. Dylan had a lot to say about the co-writer of the song. “Viva Las Vegas” went on to have a significant impact on the titular city.

Bob Dylan wrote that Elvis Presley’s ‘Viva Las Vegas’ is a ‘bright and breezy love song’

In his 2022 book The Philosophy of Modern Music, Dylan had plenty of positive things to say about “Viva Las Vegas.” “‘Viva Las Vegas’ is also a commercial,” he opined. Notably, “Viva Las Vegas” was co-written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, the same duo behind other Elvis hits such as “Surrender,” “Little Sister,” and “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame.”

“Of course, when Elvis first recorded this Doc Pomus–Mort Shuman composition in 1963 and released it in 1964, he didn’t know that five years later, in July of 1969, the subject of this bright and breezy love song would become the hub of his live performances — and that in turn, the famed man-made nocturnal oasis would vampirically indulge his worst habits and impulses,” Dylan added.

Bob Dylan shared a fascinating anecdote about master songwriter Doc Pomus

Dylan had a lot to say about Pomus’ career. “Finding songwriting too chancy, he quit for the relative security of dealing high-stakes poker games out of his Manhattan apartment, quitting that only when one of the players left the table one night and washed up in the East River,” he wrote. “Soon after that, B. B. King and Dr. John knocked on Doc’s door and dragged him back to the merely metaphorically cutthroat world of music.”

Dylan had a cynical thing to say about the “Hound Dog” singer, Colonel Tom Parker, and Pomus. “Today, Elvis is gone, the Colonel is gone, Doc Pomus is gone,” he wrote. “B. B. and Dr. John are gone. Meanwhile, Hilton now owns 31 hotels in Las Vegas.”

Elvis Presley’s ‘Viva Las Vegas’ went on to impact Las Vegas, pop culture, and rock stars

If “Viva Las Vegas” was an advertisement, it seems to have worked pretty well! reports “Viva Las Vegas” has become the official anthem of the city. The tune went on to appear in films set in the Las Vegas Valley, such as Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Army of the Dead, and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas. The tune seems to have added to the city’s appeal in popular culture.

“Viva Las Vegas” also became a standard. The Killers, one of the most famous rock bands from Las Vegas, recorded the track. Dead Kennedys, ZZ Top, and Ann-Margret all put their spin on the track. Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis includes the tune in a mashup with Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” Elvis’ “Bossa Nova Baby,” and the Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).” The mashup highlights how Elvis went from being a rock singer to a pop idol.

If “Viva Las Vegas” is a commercial, it’s one of the best commercials ever!