It's Now or Never (song)

"It's Now or Never"
Single by Elvis Presley
B-side "A Mess of Blues"
Released July 5, 1960
Format Vinyl single
Recorded April 3, 1960, RCA Studios, Nashville, Tennessee
Genre Pop
Length 3:15
Label RCA
Writer(s) Wally Gold, Aaron Schroeder, Eduardo di Capua
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
Elvis Presley singles chronology
"Stuck on You"
"It's Now or Never"
"Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

"It's Now or Never" is a ballad recorded by Elvis Presley and published by Gladys Music, Elvis Presley's publishing company, in 1960. It is one of two popular songs based on the Italian song "'O Sole mio" (music by Eduardo di Capua), the other being "There's No Tomorrow", recorded by U.S. singer Tony Martin in 1949, which inspired Presley's version. The lyrics were written by Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold. The single is the second best-selling single by Presley, and one of the best-selling singles of all time.[1]

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."[2]

In 1960, "It's Now or Never" was a number-one record in the U.S., spending five weeks at number one and the UK, 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, Elvis Presley's 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.[3]

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.

Charts and certifications

Weekly charts

Chart (1960–61) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[4] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[5] 1
Germany (Der Musikmarkt)[6] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[7] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[8] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[9] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 1
US Billboard Hot R&B Sides[11] 7
US Singles (Cash Box)[12] 1
Chart (1977) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[13] 39
Chart (2005) Peak
France (SNEP)[14] 86
Ireland (IRMA)[15] 6
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[7] 58
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[16] 47
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[17] 1

Year-end charts

Chart (1960) Rank
US Billboard Hot 100[18] 7
US Singles (Cash Box)[19] 2

Sales and certifications

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[20] 31,000[20]
Germany (BVMI)[21] Gold 1,000,000[21]
United Kingdom (BPI)[21] Gold 1,270,000[22]
United States (RIAA)[23] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Chart succession

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

"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 in 1981 a cover of the song as his first single and the title track of his debut album Now or Never. 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

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

See also


  1. Collins, Ace (2005). Untold Gold: The Stories Behind Elvis's #1 Hits. Chicago Review Press. pp. 155–162. ISBN 9781569765074.
  2. Martin, Douglas (December 6, 2009). "Aaron Schroeder, Writer of Hit Songs for Elvis Presley, Dies at 83". The New York Times.
  3. Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 468.
  4. Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book: 1940-1969: the Hit Songs and Records from Thirty Years of Specially Compiled Charts. Australian Chart Book Limited. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
  5. " – Elvis Presley – It's Now or Never" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  6. "Elvis Presley - It's Now or Never". Media Control. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  7. 1 2 " – Elvis Presley – It's Now or Never" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  8. " – Elvis Presley – It's Now or Never". VG-lista. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  9. "Archive Chart: 1960-11-05" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  10. "Elvis Presley – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Elvis Presley. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  11. "Elvis Presley - Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  12. Joel Whitburn's top pop singles 1955-2006. Record Research. 2008-01-08. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  13. "Archive Chart: 1977-09-03" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  14. " – Elvis Presley – It's Now or Never" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  15. "Chart Track: Week 4, 2005". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  16. " – Elvis Presley – It's Now or Never". Singles Top 100. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  17. "Archive Chart: 2005-01-30" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  18. "Billboard Top 50 - 1956". Billboard. Longbored Surfer. 1956. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
  19. "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1960". Cash Box Magazine. 1960. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
  20. 1 2 "Elvis Presley" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  21. 1 2 3 Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2, illustrated ed.). Barrie & Jenkins. ISBN 0-214-20480-4.
  22. Copsey, Rob (August 25, 2015). "Elvis Presley's Top 50 biggest selling songs revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  23. "American single certifications – Elvis Presley – It's Now or Never". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links

Preceded by
"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" by Brian Hyland
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
August 15, 1960 (five weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Twist" by Chubby Checker
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