It was very exciting to hear a “new” Elvis song in 2002. That is, this Mac Davis-penned song from Elvis’ 1968 movie Live A Little, Love A Little, was given new life when the Presley estate granted Dutch musician JXL (Tom Holkenborg) permission to remix “A Little Less Conversation,” the first time anyone had been officially allowed to do such a thing. The results were spectacular, and the three different versions of the remix combined hit number one on the music charts in over 20 countries. Long live the King!
In 2015 we will commemorate what would have been Elvis’ 80th birthday, and there will be lots of celebrations and discussion of his role not only in music, but in popular culture and history in general. Elvis is important. Like, he’s very, very important. Kids today don’t understand that. It makes me sad that so many of them don’t know who he is, or even care. Sigh.
What the remix makes me wonder is what Elvis would be doing today if he were still with us. Would he still be singing? Would he be acting? How different would his legacy be had he lived past age 42? I love that JXL kept the integrity of the original song but funked it up. It’s energetic and sexy and gets all up in ya! I know Elvis would approve.
But how would he have evolved as an artist? Would Elvis have had a disco phase as The Rolling Stones did? He definitely would have been on MTV. What about grunge and boy bands? What would he have thought? Rap and heavy metal would not have been his favorites, but what about Adele? Janelle Monae? John Mayer? Who would Elvis be listening to today? He definitely would not have approved of Miley, though one could make an argument that the outrage against pop stars performing provocatively on TV started with Elvis, so Miley’s just trying to outdo everyone who came before.
But Elvis didn’t need to be controversial to get everyone’s attention. Elvis had charisma. Talent. Natural sex appeal. You felt compelled to watch him, to study him, to imitate him. Everybody in the music world owes a debt to Elvis. He had swagger before everyfuckingbody! He had bling. He had gold records and money and power. He could give away a bunch of cars without blinking an eye. Oprah’s got nothin’ on the King!
What would life be like had Elvis never been born? Thank God, we’ll never have to know.