This Elvis Presley Hit Features ‘Tonight Show’ Musicians

Elvis Presley was a music and film icon, but while he did appear on TV shows, he wasn’t really a television icon. However, that didn’t stop him from releasing a collaboration with The Tonight Show band. Here’s a look at the song –and how the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll reacted to it.

Elvis Presley with a blue backdrop
Elvis Presley | Bettmam / Contributor

This famous drummer worked with Elvis Presley

Firstly, some background. Hal Blaine is a famous session drummer who worked on innumerable hit songs. He worked with many artists, including Barbra Streisand, Simon and Garfunkel, Roy Orbison, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, and the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

During an interview with Music Radar, Blaine listed his 11 greatest recordings. His list included recordings as varied as Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’.” He also discussed working with Elvis.

“These Boots Are Made For Walkin'”

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“Working with Elvis was always a wonderful experience,” he recalled. “It was a thrill and quite a feather in my cap. Everybody was envious of me. Elvis was a terrific guy.”

Hal Blaine’s favorite Elvis Presley song

One of the songs on his list was Elvis’ “A Little Less Conversation.” “A straight-8 with a firm backbeat,” he said. “The track was pure rock ‘n’ roll. A lot of fun to play. There was me and Tommy Tedesco and a lot of the guys from The Tonight Show band. We had a great time. Bones Howe was on the faders, and he knew just what to do.” 

“A Little Less Conversation”

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There have been several Tonight Shows over the years, such as The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. However, since “A Little Less Conversation” is a song from the 1960s, Blaine was likely referring to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Blaine clearly enjoyed the song. This raises an interesting question: Was the track successful when it was released in the 1960s? “A Little Less Conversation” reached No. 69 on the Billboard Hot 100. While this isn’t bad, Elvis produced No. 1 hits like “It’s Now or Never,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight?,” and “Suspicious Minds.” The performance of “A Little Less Conversation” looks meager in comparison.

“Suspicious Minds”

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What it was like making ‘A Little Less Conversation’

Blaine also gave fans a little more insight into the song. “Elvis never said anything about what we’d recorded, but that’s how you knew you did something right,” he said.”He only spoke up if he didn’t like something. I can’t imagine what he’d think about the song becoming a smash again several years ago [remixed by Junkie XL]. He’d probably be tickled pink. How many songs can you say that about? Not many.” The Official Charts Company reports Junkie XL’s remix reached No. 1 in Great Britain, showing Elvis is still the King.