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"It's Now or Never" is a popular song recorded by Elvis Presley and published by Gladys Music, Elvis Presley's publishing company, in 1960. The melody of the song is adapted from the Italian standard, "'O Sole mio", but the inspiration for it came from the song, "There's No Tomorrow", recorded by U.S. singer, Tony Martin, in 1949. The lyrics were written by Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold. The single is the best-selling single covered by Presley, and one of the best-selling singles of all time.

In the late 1950s, while stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army, Presley heard Martin's recording. According to The New York Times, quoting from the 1986 book Behind The Hits, "he told the idea to his music publisher, Freddy Bienstock, who was visiting him in Germany...Mr. Bienstock, who many times found songwriters for Presley, returned to his New York office, where he found songwriters, Mr. (Aaron) Schroeder and Wally Gold, the only people in that day. The two wrote lyrics in half an hour. Selling more than 20 million records, the song became number one in countries all around and was Presley's best selling single ever...a song [they] finished in 20 minutes to a half hour was the biggest song of [their] career."[1]

In 1960, "It's Now or Never" was a number-one record in the U.S., spending five weeks at number one and the U.K., where it spent eight weeks at the top in 1960 and an additional week at number one in 2005 as a re-issue, and numerous other countries, selling in excess of 25 million copies worldwide, his biggest international single ever. Its British release was delayed for some time because of rights issues, allowing the song to build up massive advance orders and to enter the UK Singles Chart at number one, a very rare occurrence at the time. "It's Now or Never" peaked at number seven on the R&B charts.[2]

Barry White heard this song in 1960 when he was in jail for stealing tires. The song had such an impact on White that it convinced him to pursue a career in music.[citation needed]

A live version featuring "'O Sole mio" is available on the 1977 live album Elvis in Concert. "'O Sole mio" is sung by tenor Sherrill Nielson.

In early 2005, the song was re-released along with the other Presley singles in the UK, and again reached number one on the UK Singles Chart for the week of 5 February 2005. The song also appears in the TV mini-series Elvis.


 [hide*1 Charts and certifications

Charts and certifications[edit]Edit

Weekly charts[edit]Edit

Chart (1960-1961) Peak


Australia (Kent Music Report)[3] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[4] 1
Germany (Der Musikmarkt)[5] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[6] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[7] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[8] 1
US BillboardHot 100[9] 1
US BillboardHot R&B Sides[10] 7
US Singles (Cash Box)[11] 1
Chart (1977) Peak


UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[12] 39
Chart (2005) Peak


France (SNEP)[13] 86
Ireland (IRMA)[15] 6
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[6] 58
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[16] 47
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[17] 1

Year-End charts[edit]Edit

Chart (1960) Peak


US BillboardHot 100[18] 7
US Singles (Cash Box)[19] 2

Sales and certifications[edit]Edit

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[20] 31,000[20]
Germany (BVMI)[21] Gold 1,000,000[21]
United Kingdom (BPI)[21] Gold 1,260,000[22]
United States (RIAA)[23] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Chart succession[edit]Edit

Preceded by

"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" by Brian Hyland

US Cash Box number-one single

August 13, 1960– September 3, 1960 (4 weeks)

Succeeded by

"The Twist" by Chubby Checker

US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single of 1960

August 15, 1960 – September 12, 1960 (5 weeks)

Preceded by

"Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel)" by Roy Orbison

UK Singles Chart number-one single

3 November 1960 – 22 December 1960 (8 weeks)

Succeeded by

"I Love You" by Cliff Richard and The Shadows

Preceded by

"A Mess of Blues" by Elvis Presley

European Hitkrant number-one single

1 October 1960 – 21 January 1961 (17 weeks)

Succeeded by

"Are You Lonesome Tonight?" by Elvis Presley

Preceded by

"Goodies" by Ciara featuring Petey Pablo

UK Singles Chart number-one single

30 January 2005 (1 week)

Succeeded by

"Like Toy Soldiers" by Eminem

John Schneider version[edit]Edit

"It's Now or Never"
Single by John Schneider
from the album Now or Never
B-side "Stay"
Released 1981
Genre Country
Length 3:22
Label Scotti Brothers
John Schneider singles chronology
"It's Now or Never"


"Them Good Ol' Boys Are Bad"


American country music singer and actor John Schneider released a cover of the song as his first single and the title track of his debut album. Schneider's version was a top five hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Chart performance[edit]Edit

Chart (1981) Peak


Canadian RPM Country Tracks 7
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 5
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 14
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 4
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 5

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