Connie Francis had a European background and utilized that to her advantage on her first number one. Elvis had just come back from Europe and had a bit of an inspiration, or so the legend would have it.
While in Germany, he heard “There’s No Tomorrow” a 1949 American song by Tony Martin or “O sole mio”, the 1909 Italian standard and liked the melody to where he told his management he wanted to do a song with that type of feel. I say, either “There’s No Tomorrow” or “O Sole mio”, because accounts vary, but this is one of those the cases where it really doesn’t matter what song inspired him as the former was a contemporary English version of the latter.
Whatever the reason, Presley’s team led by his publisher, Freddy Beinstock, tasked it to the team of Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold. Schroeder already wrote the lone number one hit of Elvis’ army stay “A Big Hunk o’ Love” and the pair claim they wrote it in twenty minutes. That one third of an hour of work would become their biggest selling hit and one of Presley’s biggest hits ever, a statement that means a lot considering the artist we are saying that about.
Likely based on the fact that “It’s Now or Never” had Italian inspiration and featuring an opening with castanets gave it a European and almost cosmopolitan feel. The song would become not just a monster hit domestically but internationally; in fact this was his biggest seller outside of the United States. Elvis was able to deliver his patented romanticism in a fast tempo beat and while this wasn’t adult contemporary music, it’s more mature sound gave it a much wider audience, especially since he still had the youth in his pocket.
1960 was already shaping up to be one hell of a comeback for Presley, but he had a bigger hit this year to come.
We’ll get there!
Other Notable Songs that charted but did not go to number one in this time period: August 15, 1960 – September 18, 1960.
8/15/60: Walking to New Orleans by Fats Domino went to #6 and to #2 on the R&B Chart.
8/29/60: Walk, Don’t Run by The Ventures hit #2 and went to #13 on the R&B Chart.
9/12/60: This Old Heart of Mine by James Brown only went to #79 and to #20 on the R&B Chart.