Elvis Presley was honorably discharged from the army on March 5, 1960 and fell into the waiting arms of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. He was rushed into the studio and cut a number of tracks which would be released as singles. This was a time period when album tracks received little radio airplay and singles were important releases for keeping an artist in the public eye.
One of the tracks was based on the old 1899 Italian song “O Sole Mio.” “It’s Now Or Never” would become one of his biggest hits. It would top the American singles charts for five weeks, from mid-August to mid-September of 1960. It would top the British charts for nine weeks and sell 25 million copies worldwide, which was his biggest selling international single. It was re-released in England during 2005 and again reached number one.
It also was a change of direction for the now mature Elvis. He had served his country and was no longer the raw rock ‘n’ roll/rockabilly performer of his youth. “It’s Now Or Never” would signal a move in a smooth pop direction which his huge fan base would embrace.
“It’s Now Or Never” remains an important stop in the career of Elvis Presley. While he would quickly turn his attention to movies, this wonderful single contains a strong vocal and helped him rule the music world fifty years ago.