It's Now or Never
It’s Now Or Never was based on the Italian song O Sole Mio, written in 1901 by G. Capurro and Eduardo di Capua. (O Sole Mio means My Sunshine). Over the years, O Sole Mio has been recorded by countless singers, including Emilio De Gorgozo (Victor 74105) in 1908, Enrico Caruso (Victor 87243) in 1916, and Mario Lanza. In 1949 Tony Martin had a # 2 hit with O Sole Mio, using English lyrics and title There’s No Tomorrow (RCA 3078). O Sole Mio was the first song actor James Stewart learned to play on the accordion. It was also the first song Connie Francis sang at a school recital at the age of 12.
While still in the Army, Elvis decided he wanted to record Tony Martin’s There’s No Tomorrow, but he wanted new lyrics and a new arrangement. He told Freddie Bienstock of Hill and Range Music of his interest. Bienstock flew back to his New York office from West Germany. When he arrived, the only songwriters around at the moment were Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold. They got the job of rewriting There’s No Tomorrow for Elvis. It didn’t take long. The title – It’s Now or Never – came quickly; the new lyrics took about 30 minutes. A demonstration record for Elvis was recorded by David Hill (real name: David Hess), using an uptempo cha-cha arrangement.
Elvis loved the demo and recorded It’s Now or Never on April 3, 1960, at RCA’s Nashville studios. The single release entered Billboard’s Hot 100 chart at # 44. Within five weeks It’s Now or Never was number one, replacing Brian Hyland’s Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini. After five weeks at the top, it was dethroned by Chubby Checker’s The Twist. It’s Now or Never spent a total of 20 weeks on the chart. It reached # 7 on the rhythm & blues chart. In England, It’s Now or Never entered the chart at number one and remained in that position for eight weeks – the longest period for any Presley single in England. Because of copyright reasons, the release of It’s Now or Never in England was held up for five months. Total global sales of the record exceed 22 million copies – the most for any Presley record. Billboard magazine named It’s Now or Never the Vocal Single of 1960.
Elvis sang It’s Now or Never in concert on several occasions in the 1970s. Before Elvis’s performances, Sherrill Nielsen would sometimes sing a few bars of O Sole Mio. However, Elvis is known to have sung O Sole Mio himself in concert, including a performance at the Las Vegas Hilton on December 13, 1975.
In 1981, John Schneider reached # 14 on the Hot 100 chart and # 4 on the country chart with his recording of It’s Now or Never (Scotti Brothers 02105).
1. It's now or never, come hold me tight
It's now or never, my love won't wait
It's now or never, my love won't wait
Where it was released:
Released for the fist time on single »
- It’s Now or Never / A Mess of Blues (RCA 47-7777) July 1960. Standard release. A few copies of It’s Now or Never were released without the piano track »
- It’s Now or Never / A Mess of Blues (RCA 61-7777) July 1960. “Living Stereo” release »
- It’s Now or Never / A Mess of Blues (RCA 447-0628) February 1962. Gold standard series reissue.
- It’s Now or Never / A Mess of Blues (RCA PB-11110) October 1977. One of 15 singles in the boxed set 15 Golden Records – 30 Golden Hits (RCA PP-11301).
- It’s Now or Never / Surrender (RCA PB-13889) October 1984. One of six singles in the boxed set Elvis’ Greatest Hits – Golden Singles, Volume 1 (RCA PP-13897). The singles were pressed on gold vinyl with gold “50th” anniversary labels.
- It’s Now or Never / I Walk the Line (by Jaye P. Morgan) (U.S.A. Program #125 / #126) February 1961. An edited version of the song was contained in this five-minute radio program for the U.S. Air Force.
- Elvis By Request (1961) »
- Elvis - A Collectors Edition (1976) »
- The Elvis Presley Story (1977) »
- Elvis Commemorative Album (1978) »
- Elvis! His Greatest Hits (1979) »
– Elvis Aron Presley (1980) »
– The Legendary Magic of Elvis Presley (1980) »
– Elvis Love Songs (1981) - K-Tel »
– It's Now Or Never (1981) - Camden »
- Elvis is Back! (2005) – FTD »
- Unchained Melody (2007) - FTD »
- America (2008) - FTD »
- From Sunset to Las Vegas (2009) - FTD »
- A Minnesota Moment (2010) - FTD »
- High Sierra (2010) - FTD »
- Showtime! Birmingham/Dallas '76 (2010) - FTD »
- Chicago Stadium (2010) - FTD »
– Amarillo '77 (2011) - FTD »
– The On Stage Season (2013) - FTD »
- Rock Around the Bloch (2015) - FTD »
- The Best of British - The RCA Years - 1959-1960 (2015) - FTD »
- Elvis in West Texas (2015) - FTD »
– Elvis' Golden Records, Vol. 3 (2015) - FTD »
– Las Vegas '74 (2017) - FTD »
– Elvis in Atlanta (2017) - FTD »
– The Bicentennial Show (2017) - FTD »
– Holiday Season in Vegas (2018) - FTD »
- Sold Out (1974) - E.P. Records
- Elvis Presley Is Alive and Well and Singing in Las Vegas,
Volume 1 (1975) - no label
- Command Performance (1977) - ECP
- The Last Farewell (1977) - E.P. Records
- Rockin’ With Elvis New Year’s Eve Pittsburgh, Pa., Dec. 31, 1976 (1977) - Spirit of America Records
- Elvis' 1961 Hawaii Benefit Concert (1978) - Golden Archives Records
- Standing Room Only, Volume 3 (1980) - Eagle Records
- Standing Room Only, Volume 2 (1980) - Eagle Records