Why Elvis Presley Sang 'A Little Less Conversation' When It Was Written for Aretha Franklin

“A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley became a huge hit. Mac Davis, the songwriter behind “A Little Less Conversation,” intended the song for Aretha Franklin. During an interview, Davis explained why Franklin never recorded the song.

Elvis Presley performed ‘A Little Less Conversation’ in a movie

Davis was a singer and songwriter known for writing Elvis songs like “In the Ghetto,” “Memories,” and “Don’t Cry Daddy.” According to the book Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air: Legends of West Texas Music, Davis discussed the origin of “A Little Less Conversation.” I wrote that specifically with Aretha Franklin in mind, but that was my first record I had with Elvis,” Davis said. 

“It just happened to fit into this movie that Elvis was doing at the time,” Davis added. The movie in question was a musical called Live a Little, Love a Little. In the film, Elvis performs the song while trying to seduce someone at a party.

Mac Davis didn’t try to get Aretha Franklin to record the song

Davis didn’t ask Franklin to sing “A Little Less Conversation” because he doesn’t try to sell his songs in general. “This is how the songwriting business works,” he said. “Some people specifically write for an artist, and someone like me I just write the song and if I get lucky, somebody cuts it. But I don’t pursue that.”

Davis said he wasn’t a fan of every aspect of the music industry. “That is the part of the music business I hate,” he said. “The one part of the business that I do not like is that part of trying to get a song recorded, being a salesman. I am not much of a salesman. I write them and half the time I just sit around and play them for my friends. Once in a while, somebody like Elvis cuts one.”

The way the world reacted to ‘A Little Less Conversation’

Davis said “A Little Less Conversation” only became a big hit when Junkie XL remixed it in 2002. That version of the song became a minor hit in the United States. It reached No. 50 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for nine weeks. The remix appeared on the album Elvis: 30 #1 HitsElvis: 30 #1 Hits lasted 118 weeks on the Billboard 200, spending three of those weeks at the top of the chart.

Junkie XL’s “A Little Less Conversation” became even more popular in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the remix lasted on the U.K. chart for 20 weeks. It was on top of the chart for four weeks. Meanwhile, Elvis: 30 #1 Hits lasted 125 weeks on the chart, spending two weeks at No. 1. “A Little Less Conversation” became a famous song even if Franklin didn’t record it.

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