|A-side "Almost in Love"|
Format 7" 45 RPM
|Released September 1968|
Genre Rhythm and blues, soul
|Recorded 7 March 1968, Western Recorders, Hollywood, California|
"A Little Less Conversation" is a song written by Mac Davis and Billy Strange originally performed by Elvis Presley for the 1968 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.
- Original recordings
- 1968 television special re recording
- Junkie XLJXL version
- Other covers and remakes
- In popular culture
The song has made numerous appearances in popular culture and has been covered by several artists.
"A Little Less Conversation" was first recorded on 7 March 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 7 March. 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 7 March recording session included Hal Blaine, drums; Al Casey, guitar; Larry Knechtel, bass; and Don Randi, piano.
1968 television special re-recording
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. 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.
Junkie XL/JXL version
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 (alternatively JXL). The electronic remix featured Elvis with a lower 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 Elvis Presley estate to remix an Elvis Presley song (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 ten hit in upwards of 17 other countries, reaching No. 1 in at least 10 of them.
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". A single, credited to "Elvis vs. JXL", was issued and went on to become a Number 1 hit in over 20 countries.
At about the same time, a compilation of Presley's U.S. 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 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 2004 album Radio JXL: A Broadcast from the Computer Hell Cabin.
In the United States, the song peaked at #50 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart, the first Hot 100 hit for Presley since 1981, and extending his list of charted singles into the 21st century.
Other covers and remakes
An uptempo eurodance remix was recorded by CJ Crew, appearing on the 2002 dance compilation Dancemania Speed 10. 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.
In popular culture
The song has made a generous impact on the popular culture of both the 20th and 21st centuries. The song has made appearances on at least four TV shows, two movie trailers, and eight films—the most notable being the 2001 remake of Ocean's Eleven.
The remix version by JXL subsequently appeared:
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. In 2004, Democratic presidential nominee Senator John Kerry used the song during his campaign. George W. Bush also used the song as the anthem of his reelection campaign in 2004. Furthermore, in 2008 in Colorado Springs, Sarah Palin and John McCain emerged while “A Little Less Conversation” was playing in the background.
It has also been used in various advertisements, including 2002 Nike "The Jungle" and the 2012 BMW ad, linked to BMW's sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics.