A Little Less Conversation

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"A Little Less Conversation"
Elvis Presley A Little Less Conversation PS.jpg
The original picture sleeve of the 1968 single.
Single by Elvis Presley
from the album Almost in Love
A-side"Almost in Love"
ReleasedSeptember 3, 1968
RecordedMarch 7, 1968
StudioWestern Recorders, Hollywood, California
GenreRock
Length2:28
LabelRCA Victor
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley singles chronology
"Let Yourself Go" / "Your Time Hasn't Come Yet, Baby"
(1968)
"Almost in Love" / "A Little Less Conversation"
(1968)
"If I Can Dream" / "Edge of Reality"
(1968)

"A Little Less Conversation" is a 1968 song recorded by American singer Elvis Presley, written by Mac Davis and Billy Strange and published by Gladys Music, Inc., originally performed in the film Live a Little, Love a Little. The song became a minor hit in the United States when released as a single with "Almost in Love" as the A-side. A 2002 remix by Junkie XL of a later re-recording of the song by Presley became a worldwide hit, topping the singles charts in nine countries and was awarded certifications in ten countries by 2003.

The song has made numerous appearances in popular culture and has been covered by several artists.

Original recordings[edit]

"A Little Less Conversation" was first recorded on March 7, 1968, at Western Recorders in Hollywood, California, and released on a single backed by "Almost in Love", another song from the movie. The song was not released on an LP until November 1970, when it was included on the RCA Camden budget label LP Almost in Love. There are several different takes that were made of the song in the session on March 7. The single version used take 16, which was also used for the soundtrack of the film. The version released on the Almost in Love album is take 10, which is 1 second longer in duration.

The musicians on the March 7 recording session included Hal Blaine, drums; Al Casey, guitar; Larry Knechtel, bass; and Don Randi, piano.[1]

The vocalists on the March 7 recording session and alternate version were BJ Baker (Betty Jane Baker), Sally Stevens, Bob Tebo, and John Bahler. Many think that The Blossoms sang background vocals on this song but that was listed on the liner notes by mistake. There was one session where alternate versions were recorded using the same vocalists.[2]

1968 television special re-recording[edit]

It was thought Presley re-recorded the song in June 1968 for the soundtrack of his 1968 comeback special, with the intent of performing it during the program (in part due to Live a Little, Love a Little being scheduled for release about a month before the special's broadcast date). Ultimately, it was decided not to use this recording, and the song was dropped from the planned special. The newer version transposed the key of A major recording of three months earlier into E major and featured a vocal and heavy reverb with backup vocals from The Blossoms.[3] In the mid-1990s, Joseph A. Tunzi sold this recording to Bertelsmann Music Group and it was initially included on the 1998 release Memories: The '68 Comeback Special. Tunzi had been the first to document this recording in his 1996 book Elvis Sessions II: The Recorded Music of Elvis Aron Presley 1953-1977.[4] After the tapes from the original session were rediscovered, it is now known to be take 2, recorded on March 7, 1968.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1968) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100[5] 69

Junkie XL / JXL remix[edit]

"A Little Less Conversation"
ElvisVSJXLCDSingleCover.jpg
Single by ELVIS VS JXL
from the album ELV1S: 30 No. 1 Hits
ReleasedJune 10, 2002 (2002-06-10)
Recorded
  • 1968 (original vocals and instrumental)
  • 2001 (remix)
Genre
Length
  • 3:30 (radio edit)
  • 6:09 (extended remix)
  • 6:22 (album version)
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Junkie XL
  • Ad Bradley
Junkie XL singles chronology
"B Y Whop to the Y" / "Siyncho"
(2002)
"A Little Less Conversation"
(2002)
"Obsession"
(2002)
Audio sample

Following the song's use in the 2001 film Ocean's Eleven, "A Little Less Conversation" was remixed by Dutch musician Tom Holkenborg, better known as Junkie XL (billed as JXL). The electronic remix featured Elvis with his baritone voice, and added emphasis to the 1968 guitars, horns, and a funk drum beat. Holkenborg is the first artist outside the Presley organization to receive authorization from the Presley estate to remix a Presley song[6] (in the 1980s, Elvis' longtime producer Felton Jarvis had overseen remixes of a number of Elvis recordings that saw new backing added to Presley's original vocals, the first of which were released as the album Guitar Man in 1981). The electronic version of the song became a number-one hit in the UK in 2002. The song also became a top 10 hit in upwards of 17 other countries, reaching number-one in 13 of them. This version was also used in DreamWorks Animation's 2004 animated film Shark Tale.

In 2002, the TV special version of "A Little Less Conversation" remixed by Junkie XL was used for Nike's 2002 FIFA World Cup advertising campaign, titled "Secret Tournament".[6] A single, credited to "Elvis vs. JXL", was issued and went on to become a number-one hit in over 20 countries.[7]

At about the same time, a compilation of Presley's US and UK number-one chart hits, titled ELV1S: 30 No. 1 Hits, was being prepared for release. At the last minute, "A Little Less Conversation (Junkie's remix version)" was added as the album's 31st and final track, just before its release in October 2002. The full 6:09 version was edited slightly and extended to 6:22, and this version was featured on the US version of Junkie XL's 2003 album Radio JXL: A Broadcast from the Computer Hell Cabin.[8]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, the song peaked at number 50 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also spent four consecutive weeks at number-one on the UK Singles Chart, which is the only number-one hit by Elvis Presley to be released after his death in 1977.[9] The song was re-released as a single in the United Kingdom in 2005, and reached No. 3.[10]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[65] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[66] Gold 15,000*
Belgium (BEA)[67] Gold 25,000*
France (SNEP)[68] Silver 125,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[69] Gold 40,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[70] Gold 5,000*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[71] 2× Platinum 20,000*
Sweden (GLF)[72] Platinum 30,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[73] Platinum 40,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[75] Platinum 894,000[74]
United States (RIAA)[76] Gold 500,000^
United States (RIAA)[77]
Video Single
6× Platinum 300,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref(s).
United Kingdom June 10, 2002 (2002-06-10)
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • CD
  • cassette
[78][79]
Australia June 17, 2002 (2002-06-17) CD [80]
United States July 8, 2002 (2002-07-08) Radio [81]

Other covers and remakes[edit]

An uptempo Eurodance remix was recorded by CJ Crew, appearing on the 2002 dance compilation Dancemania Speed 10.[82] There are three very exclusive releases in Spanish, the film Live a Little, Love a Little and two mixes played by Marco T., a Colombian rockabilly musician. In addition, Dolph Lundgren performed this song at Melodifestivalen 2010. In Glee, Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) sings a combination of a Spanish and English version of the song. The song is covered by Trisha Paytas on her Fat Chicks EP.

In popular culture[edit]

Presley's original "A Little Less Conversation" has been used in several political campaigns as a message of more accomplishment and less talk. The first time the song was used in political campaign was in 2003 by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean.[83] In 2004, Democratic presidential nominee Senator John Kerry used the song during his campaign.[84] George W. Bush also used the song as the anthem of his reelection campaign in 2004. The Junkie remix was also used in a scene in the 2004 American computer-animated comedy film Shark Tale, produced by DreamWorks Animation, as well as 2010's Megamind. Furthermore, in 2008 in Colorado Springs, Sarah Palin and John McCain emerged while "A Little Less Conversation" was playing in the background.[85] In 2003, the song was played in the Everybody Loves Raymond episode titled "Robert's Wedding" as newlyweds Robert and Amy Barone danced their first dance following their long-awaited Wedding. The Presley version was used in the 2006 film, Jackass Number Two during the segment where several cast members are locked in a limo with bees inside.[86] The remix was used in the 2009 Nintendo Wii game, Just Dance.[87]

In September 2020, the song was used in the Toyota TV Commercial 'Hybrid Power'.[88]

References[edit]

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