Brazilian jazz guitarist and composer Luiz Bonfa wrote "Moonlight in Rio" for his 1966 album The Brazilian Scene. Randy Starr added new lyrics for Elvis' version, retitled "Almost In Love".
Musical arranger and songwriter Billy Strange took charge of the March 1968 soundtrack recording session for Live a Little, Love a Little, and brought a different approach than what Elvis had been used to for previous soundtracks, and a welcome one. Incorporating strings and brass, these recordings had a more mature sound than, say, the Spinout recordings. Compare a similar ballad, "All That I Am", to "Almost In Love" and you'll see what I mean. Elvis could hold his own in the realm of Sinatra and Dino, and this song is a fine example. No dramatic, powerful high notes or anything here, just some mighty fine smooth croonin'!
In November of 1970, Elvis released his third RCA-Camden album, Almost In Love, which featured two other songs from Live A Little, Love A Little, "Edge Of Reality" and "A Little Less Conversation". The album gathered together a lot of flip-sides from Elvis' late-60s singles which hadn't appeared on LP yet, mostly songs from films.
Elvis' Camden albums were notorious for being odds-and-ends collections of mismatched songs, mostly from his movies, and throughout the 1970s, they took up a lot of space in record stores' bargain bins. I can't help it, though, I have a soft spot in my heart for Almost In Love, and my copy got worn out pretty fast! Songs like "Clean Up Your Own Backyard", "Rubberneckin", "U.S. Male", and, of course, "Almost In Love", still bring back fond memories!
(What did the critics and fans say?)
'Almost In Love' is a medium-tempo bossa nova, has a fine arrangement, including strings, trombones and vibraphone. It is a surprisingly successful mixture, as this was not Presley's metier. This song, which is not so well known as it ought to be, shows a new facet of Presley's musical personality.