The Best Elvis Record Ever!
What was the best record made by Elvis during his entire career?
There are so many to choose from and the choices will be many, depending on who you ask.
Some might pick one of his uptempo hits like "Don't Be Cruel," "Hound Dog" or "Jailhouse Rock."
Others might prefer one of the slow ballads like "Love Me Tender," "Don't" or "Can't Stop Falling in Love With You."
All of these songs were mileposts along the Elvis musical highway.
But for me, and for Elvis himself, his best record was not even a rock n'roll song.
It was instead based on an old Neapolitan tune, "O Sole Mio." His mother had a 78 record of it sung by the famous opera singer, Enrico Caruso. Elvis said he also liked the 1949 hit record, "There's No Tomorrow," based on this tune sung by Tony Martin.
Okay, have you guessed the record title yet?
The multi-million-selling record (which sold for 98 cents back in 1960, about the same as a download today) was...
"It's Now Or Never"
(recorded April 3, 1960, RCA Studio B, Nashville)
In his very thorough book, Elvis Presley: A Life in Music - The Complete Recording Sessions, Ernst Jorgensen describes this million-selling record perfectly when he writes:
This was pure pop music, delivered with both superb musical command and the highest level of professionalism.
This song, with English lyrics by Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold, was based on the popular Italian song "O Sole Mio," which Elvis had heard Mario Lanza sing in Italian. Elvis had also heard an earlier record by Tony Martin titled, "There's No Tomorrow."
The Elvis record of "It's Now Or Never" stayed at the No. 1 spot in the USA for five weeks and eventually sold over 20 million dollars worldwide, making it the largest selling single of his entire career. With just a few sudio takes, Elvis had made "It's Now Or Never" the most brilliant and accomplished record of his entire career. It was reportedly Elvis' favorite recording.
And now, on its 50th anniversary, isn't it time to pay tribute to "It's Now Or Never" again?
With that 1960 record, Elvis had reached beyond being just another popular rock n'roll singer.
He had become the greatest singer of the rock 'n' roll era and inspired many a singer and songwriter after that record came out.
I know because I was one of those songwriters.
My song, "Dream World", written the next year of 1961, pays homage to that great Elvis record.
So "It's Now or Never" to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the best of all the Elvis recordings.
-- Roger Lee Hall
Read more about the record in this excellent reference book:
The Elvis Encylopedia by Adam Victor
"It's Now Or Never" is available on these special CDs:
Also available on the 4 CD Set with the same title:
"Shake, Rattle and Roll" - Electric Elvis and Bill Randle
(PineTree Press, 2010)
To receive your copy of this Special Commemorative e-book, go to:
Electric Elvis and Bill Randle
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