Elvis Presley’s #1 Hits – Part 6

Elvis Presley earned the title of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll thanks to his endless work inside the studio, on the stage and on the big screen.

Elvis topped the charts again and again – if you need the proof, check out his wall of awards at Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum at Elvis Presley’s Memphis at Graceland. Here on the Graceland Blog, we’re digging deep to go behind the scenes of Elvis’ biggest hits – in fact, we’re up to part 6. Check out part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.

Which of these following Elvis hits is your favorite?

“Too Much”

Elvis was 22 when he released "Too Much."

Elvis was 22 when he released “Too Much.”

Now you got me started
Don’t you leave me broken-hearted
‘Cause I love you too much

This jaunty hit was written by Lee Rosenberg and Bernard Weinman. It was recorded by other artists first, such as Bernard Hardison. Elvis recorded the track on September 2, 1956 at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, where he would often record his movie soundtracks. The Jordanaires provided background vocals, Scotty Moore was on guitar, Bill Black was on bass, D.J. Fontana played the drums and Gordon Stoker of the Jordanaires played the piano. The engineer was Thorne Nogar, who was very respected in the industry, and Elvis enjoyed working with him.

“Too Much” was released as a single in January 1957 with “Playing for Keeps” on the other side. It hit No. 1 on Billboard’s pop singles chart, where it stayed for three weeks, with a total chart run of 17 weeks. It also reached No. 3 on Billboard’s R&B and country singles charts, and it ran on those charts for 10 weeks and 14 weeks, respectively. It peaked at No. 6 on the British pop singles chart.

“(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such as I”

Elvis wore his uniform at this recording session.

Elvis wore his uniform at this recording session.

You taught me how to love
And now you say that we are through
I’m a fool, but I’ll love you dear
Until the day I die

Elvis added a healthy dose of the blues to this country song to create his own hit single. “(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such as I” was written by Bill Trader and was recorded by Hank Snow in 1952. Elvis recorded it several years later, on June 10, 1958. He was on leave from the army and it was his only recording session during his two-year stint of active service.

Elvis wanted – and got – a strong bass line in his recording. Ray Walker was the new bass singer for The Jordanaires, replacing Hugh Jarrett. Elvis had Ray sing the bass part into the same microphone that he was using, so that when the song was mixed, Ray’s voice would not be cut down.

Take number 9 was released in March 1959, with “I Need Your Love Tonight” on the other side. Elvis topped the charts with this song, and he was stationed in Germany during this time. The track topped the charts in England, and it peaked at No. 2 in its 15-week run on Billboard’s pop singles chart. It hit No. 16 on the R&B singles chart, but it didn’t chart on country.

“(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such as I” was nominated for a 1959 Grammy Award for Record of the Year; Bobby Darin’s hit “Mack the Knife” took home the prize.

Other artists who have covered this song include Bob Dylan, Doris Day, Willie Nelson, Bobby Helms, Slim Whitman and Tommy Edwards.

“Crying in the Chapel”

Many artists have covered their own versions of this gospel song.

Many artists have covered their own versions of this gospel song.

You saw me crying in the chapel
The tears I shed were tears of joy
I know the meaning of contentment
I am happy with the Lord

“Crying in the Chapel” is one of Elvis’ most beloved gospel tracks.

The song was written by Artie Glenn for his son, Darrell, who released his version in 1953. Elvis recorded the song on October 30, 1960, at RCA Studio B in Nashville. Elvis was recording songs for his upcoming gospel album, “His Hand in Mine,” and he and his band recorded “Crying in the Chapel” at the end of a long and productive day. Scotty Moore, Hank Garland and Elvis all played guitar on the song, with D.J. Fontana and Buddy Harman on drums, Floyd Cramer on piano, Boots Randolph on saxophone and Bob Moore on bass. The Jordanaires and Millie Kirkham provided backup vocals.

Elvis didn’t include “Crying in the Chapel” on “His Hand in Mine.” The recording log notes that they did not complete a satisfactory master version. But years later, in April 1965, take 3 was issued as a single, with “I Believe in the Man in the Sky” as the B-side. “Crying in the Chapel” peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s pop singles chart, and it stayed on the charts for 13 weeks. It hit No. 1 on the British pop singles chart, and it stayed on that chart for 16 weeks.

Several artists covered “Crying in the Chapel” before and after Elvis did, including The Platters, The Orioles, The Statesmen, Aaron Neville, Tammy Wynette, B.J. Thomas and The Staple Singers. Elvis’ girlfriend Anita Wood also recorded the song in 1957.

“A Little Less Conversation (JXL Remix)”

Fans first heard "A Little Less Conversation" in Elvis' romantic comedy "Live a Little, Love a Little."

Fans first heard “A Little Less Conversation” in Elvis’ romantic comedy “Live a Little, Love a Little.”

A little less conversation, a little more action, please
All this aggravation ain’t satisfactioning me
A little more bite and a little less bark
A little less fight and a little more spark
Close your mouth and open up your heart and, baby, satisfy me

Fans of Elvis’ movies know this song from his 1968 film “Live a Little, Love a Little.” Mac Davis and Billy Strange wrote the track, and Elvis recorded it on March 7, 1968. Billy Strange served as musical director and Charles Britz was the engineer for this song and three other soundtrack songs. Joseph Gibbons, Neil Levang, Charles Britz and Alvin Casey were on guitar, Larry Knechtal and Charles Berghofer were on bass, Hal Blaine and Gary Coleman played drums, and Don Randi was on piano. Bob Tebow, Sally Stevens, B.J. Baker and John Bahler were on background vocals. Strings and horns were added later.

“A Little Less Conversation” was released as the B-side to the single “Almost in Love” from the movie. “Almost in Love” peaked at no. 95 in its two-week run on the Billboard pop singles chart, while “A Little Less Conversation” fared better – it peaked at no. 69 in a 4-week run.

In June 1968, Elvis filmed what would become his iconic ’68 Special, set to air in December. There was a plan to include “A Little Less Conversation” in the special, to be heard as a pre-recorded musical segue from segment to segment and/or in possibly one of the lip-synced production number medleys. Elvis laid down a new lead vocal track to be added to the original song in June 1968. Ultimately, the song was scrapped from the ’68 Special. The new recording was shelved and later released in a ’68 Special compilation CD in 1998.

In 2002, RCA/BMG and Elvis Presley Enterprises granted a license to Nike to use an Elvis recording in its World Cup Soccer promotions in Europe and elsewhere. Their song of choice? “A Little Less Conversation.” The alternate version that Elvis recorded in June 1968 was chosen, and Dutch producer/DJ JXL produced the remix version – the first Elvis remix ever authorized by RCA and EPE. The remix caught fire after the promos began to air. There were no plans to release the remix as a single, but public demand prompted RCA/BMG to rush-release a single in June 2002. It topped singles airplay and sales charts in the UK, and it also topped the Billboard singles sales chart. It broke Elvis’ long-standing tie with The Beatles for the most no. 1’s on the UK pop singles chart.

ELV1S 30 #1 HITS, a compilation of Elvis’ hits, was already in the works, with 30 tracks already chosen. The remix was such a hit that it was included as a bonus track.
Which of these songs are your favorite?

Learn more about Elvis’ career – and the man behind the music – when you visit Graceland! Go to Graceland.com now to start planning your visit to the king’s castle.


4 Comments

  1. Wow I never knew! So informative.

  2. Kathy Schneider

    cryin in the chapel

  3. JOHN YETTER

    TOO MUCH IS A VERY UNDER RATED ELVIS SONG!

  4. stephen stathis

    Playing for Keeps: one of his best:

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