Elvis Presley - IT'S NOW OR NEVER

First performance: 12/04/1995


Coverinfo

 
Bruce played the song only once during the sixth annual Rock for The Rainforest benefit for the Rainforest Foundation. He played the song with a cast of various artists . The other performers are Sting, James Taylor, Elton John, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi, Paul Simon, Jessye Norman, and Geoffrey Oryema. Jessye Norman sings "O Solo Mio" as an introduction to "It's Now Or Never".
 

Songinfo

"It's Now or Never" is a ballad recorded by Elvis Presley in 1960. It is one of two popular songs based on the Italian song of Neapolitan language "O Sole mio" (music by Eduardo di Capua), The lyrics were written by Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold. The other being "There's No Tomorrow", recorded by U.S. singer Tony Martin in 1949, which inspired Presley's version.
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...Barry White credited this song as his inspiration for changing his life and becoming a singer following his release from prison.
 
 
 

Other cover versions

 
  • John Schneider

Bruce on the artist

Whenever he could, Bruce would mention the enormous influence, Elvis had on him and on his music. Elvis is the most covered artist by Bruce (23 times) together with Chuck Berry, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan. The Influence of Elvis on Bruce, is described in a documentary compiled from previously existing footage by Dennis P. Laverty, a former Old Bridge resident who now lives in Staten Island (and who calls Springsteen and Elvis Presley "my two favorite rock stars". He used concert footage and previously released interview segments with Springsteen and various rock experts to show just how important Elvis Presley was to Springsteen.
 
  
 

"It's a cliché story, but watching Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show changed Bruce Springsteen's entire life. "It was the evening I realized a white man could make magic," he said in 2012, "that you did not have to be constrained by your upbringing, by the way you looked, or by the social context that oppressed you. You could call upon your own powers of imagination, and you could create a transformative self." He urged his mother to buy him a guitar after that, and in 1976 he went to Graceland after a Memphis show and even hopped the fence in a failed effort to meet the King himself. Elvis died during the recording of Darkness on the Edge of Town, right as Springsteen was hoping the King would cover his new song "Fire." Springsteen channeled his sorrow into "Come On (Let's Go Tonight)," which later morphed into "Factory."

keynote speech :

"In the beginning, every musician has their genesis moment. For you, it might have been the Sex Pistols, or Madonna, or Public Enemy. It's whatever initially inspires you to action. Mine was 1956, Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was the evening I realized a white man could make magic, that you did not have to be constrained by your upbringing, by the way you looked, or by the social context that oppressed you. You could call upon your own powers of imagination, and you could create a transformative self. A certain type of transformative self, that perhaps at any other moment in American History, might have seemed difficult, if not impossible. And I always tell my kids that they were lucky to be born in the age of reproducible technology, otherwise they'd be traveling in the back of a wagon and I'd be wearing a jester's hat. It's all about timing. The advent of television and its dissemination of visual information changed the world in the fifties the way the internet has over the past twenty years. Remember, it wasn't just the way Elvis looked, it was the way he moved that made people crazy, pissed off, driven to screaming ecstasy, and profane revulsion. That was television. When they made an attempt to censor him from the waist down, it was because of what you could see happening in his pants. Elvis was the first modern Twentieth Century man, the precursor of the Sexual Revolution, of the Civil Rights Revolution, drawn from the same Memphis as Martin Luther King, creating fundamental, outsider art that would be embraced by a mainstream popular culture. Television and Elvis gave us full access to a new language, a new form of communication, a new way of being, a new way of looking, a new way of thinking; about sex, about race, about identity, about life; a new way of being an American, a human being; and a new way of hearing music. Once Elvis came across the airwaves, once he was heard and seen in action, you could not put the genie back in the bottle. After that moment, there was yesterday, and there was today, and there was a red hot, rockabilly forging of a new tomorrow, before your very eyes."

Bruce also wrote a song : "I’m turning into Elvis" :

During the Rainforest Fund concert at 1995/04/12 Bruce played the song and used this as an intro :

" this is the second half of the show, gonna be a tribute to Elvis and his decade. It´s been done before and a lot prettier than we’re about to do it….but that´s ok, look at it like you’re 15 years old, you don’t know a whole lot about Elvis and your uncle gets up in the livingroom trying to explain to you what it was all about. So with that in mind I’ve written a song especially for this particular occasion. You remember the coach Tom Landry, when he was trying to explain his personal relationship that he had with God ? well, this is a song that’s sort of about my personal relationship with him….´´ [Taken from the Backstreets Magazine, issue 49.]

Lyrics

It's now or never,
Come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling,
Be mine tonight
Tomorrow will be too late,
It's now or never
My love won't wait.
When I first saw you
With your smile so tender
My heart was captured,
My soul surrendered
I'd spend a lifetime
Waiting for the right time
Now that your near
The time is here at last.
It's now or never,
Come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling,
Be mine tonight
Tomorrow will be too late,
It's now or never
My love won't wait.
Just like a willow,
We would cry an ocean
If we lost true love
And sweet devotion
Your lips excite me,
Let your arms invite me
For who knows when
We'll meet again this way
It's now or never,
Come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling,
Be mine tonight
Tomorrow will be too late,
It's now or never
My love won't wait.