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An Artist Remixed Elvis Presley’s ‘Rubberneckin” Because He Didn’t Like It Much

Paul Oakenfold is a remixer who was hired to redo Elvis Presley‘s “Rubberneckin’.” His reason for taking on the project could be seen as a tad insulting to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. At the same time, Oakenfold had a point. From a certain perspective, one could argue that the Elvis estate seemed to agree with him.

Why it’s fair to say Elvis Presley’s estate isn’t too impressed with ‘Rubberneckin”
Junkie XL took “A Little Less Conversation,” a cheeky, lesser-known Elvis song from the late 1960s and brought it back with a dance remix. Afterward, Oakenfold was tasked with taking “Rubberneckin’,” a cheeky, lesser-known Elvis song from the late 1960s, and bringing it back with a dance remix.

Oakenfold’s reasons for taking the job are interesting. “With all due respect to Elvis Presley, I don’t think ‘Rubberneckin” was a classic,” he told Elvis Australia in 2003. “There are classics, and I personally would never touch a classic.”

Oakenfold’s attitude toward “Rubberneckin’” makes sense. In 2002, the “All Shook Up” singer‘s estate released an album called Elvis: 30 #1 Hits. It’s the quintessential collection for anyone trying to get familiar with Elvis’ catalog, even if it’s a little light on his early stuff. That record does not include “Rubberneckin’,” which instead appeared on the compilation’s followup, Elvis: 2nd to None. Even Elvis’ estate sees the song as a second-tier Elvis song that didn’t belong in the original collection.

Paul Oakenfold would not remix this Elvis Presley song
Oakenfold gave fans more insight into his decision to remix the song. “Initially, I was like, well, I don’t know if I could do this,’” he said. “So I asked them if I could kind of [listen to] the track … It was a track I hadn’t heard before.”

He had a strong feeling about the task at hand. “‘I’m never going to have a bigger challenge than this,’” he thought. He felt his duty was “to keep the integrity of Elvis and make sure it wasn’t cheesy and keep what was initially there.”

Oakenfold explained what he was trying to do when he gave “Rubberneckin’” a makeover. “Keep the arrangement or structure, but give it more of a current feel,” he said. “I really think people will like it. Because it is Elvis, it’s just done in a way that I believe works … It’s not ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ which I certainly would not do.” Whether you like “Rubberneckin’” or not, it certainly never had the cultural impact of “Heartbreak Hotel.”

Why Paul Oakenfold’s ‘Rubberneckin” works
Did Oakenfold accomplish his goal? Yes, he did. His remix of “Rubberneckin’” keeps the cheeky, fun vibe of the original song intact while updating it instrumentally. Oakenfold released his remix in 2003 and it’s clearly modeled on the sound of 2000s dance music. That might make it sound dated to some listeners, but the combination of the old and the new makes it work pretty well.

It might not have the spark of Junie XL’s far more popular redux of “A Little Less Conversation” that came out the year before. However, that’s one of the best remixes of all time. That’s the sort of remix that nobody should change. After all, it’s a classic.

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