My song today is ‘It’s Now or Never’. This song was made popular by the late Elvis Presley and was released as a single in 1960. The song is the best-selling single by Presley (20 million copies), and one of the ‘best-selling singles of all time’.
In 1960, ‘It's Now or Never’ was a number-one record in the U.S. for Elvis Presley, spending five weeks at Number 1 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. It was also a major hit in numerous other countries, selling in excess of 25 million copies worldwide, making it 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 1, a rare occurrence at the time. ‘It's Now or Never’ peaked at Number 7 on the R&B charts.
‘It's Now or Never’ is one of two popular songs based on the Italian song of the Neapolitan language ‘O Sole Mio’; the other being ‘There’s No Tomorrow’ which was recorded by U.S. singer Tony Martin in 1949, and which inspired Presley's version while in the 1950s Presley was stationed in Germany with the US Army. The song has had its impact on many lives. Barry White credited this song as his inspiration for changing his life and becoming a singer following his release from prison.
I was 18 years old when this record was released and was at the height of my ‘pulling power’ with the young women whom I courted in large numbers. I was a good-looking young man with good diction, high intelligence, and presentable features. I represented a ‘good catch’ for any young woman on the lookout for a decent husband and seeking a father of her children and provider of their family.
My best mate at the time was another Irish lad, Tony Walsh, (recently deceased) who was born in the next village to where I was born in Ireland I had been born in Portlaw and Tony came from Carrick-on-Suir; a mere short bike ride away. Tony came over to England to live in England during his teenage years, and we remained lifelong mates. Also being a good-looking chap like me, when we paired up together on the dance floor, we never went wanting for a partner for the evening. When we paired together in a gang fight, we rarely went wanting for a victory. When young women went dancing at Cleckheaton Town Hall, they usually took to the floor at the start of the evening dancing together. They would often refuse an invitation to split up and dance with a couple of young men approaching them unless both were satisfied that the two young men doing the asking were worth splitting up for. Having a handsome mate wanting to split a couple of good-looking female dancers up, held far more chance of success than one handsome and one ugly one making the initial approach.
Being the youngest shop steward in Great Britain at the age of 18 years, with the offer of taking up a trade union university scholarship at ‘Ruskin College’, I was acceptable to most prospective mothers-in-law as being a future son-in-law they could show off to their neighbours as a sign that their daughter had done well for herself in picking her husband to be.
However, if there was any picking to be done, I was determined that it would be done by me!
I was also popular with my peer group being a good bopper on the dance floor, a good drinking mate, a good singer who was always being invited to perform, and a good fighter who the gang could always rely upon never to back down in a fight. Whichever floor you stood me on, it provided a platform for me to show myself off as well as I could (with the exception of the bar-room floor, as I was never a big drinker who could stomach more than three or four pints maximum).
I had incurred a life-threatening traffic accident at the age of 11 years which left me unable to walk for three years. A few years later, I received a sizable amount of compensation that I could access when I attained the age of 21 years. From the age of 15 years of age, I had but one dream. My dream was to travel and live in Canada and America for a few years and become a professional singer. Remember, this was the early 1960s and all the most famous singers in the world were coming out of Liverpool, and I only lived a mere 50 miles away! I imagined that it would only be a matter of time before some astute talent scout spotted me as I waited to be discovered, and after a bit of studio promotion, I would be launched into international stardom and a life of fame and unimaginable wealth, with women galore fighting to get their hands on me (along with my newfound wealth no doubt).
The only thing that could stop me realising my long-held dream of travel, was if I found myself emotionally committed to a young woman who I had fallen in love with and had remained in love with. Hence, it was my prime aim between the ages of 18 and 21 years, never to accept the offer of any romantic young woman who was out to nab me as her own (unless I wanted what she was offering me of course, and providing it did not impede my travel plans one day longer than need be). Under no circumstance did I ever intend to accept any young woman’s offer who I was dating, to pop 'round for Sunday tea, and to meet her parents. Accepting such an invitation would prove to be the most expensive cucumber sandwiches ever digested as far as I was concerned!
I knew that my plans to travel abroad could only happen if I prepared and ensured it happened as soon as I was 21 years of age, and before my love of beautiful young women led me up the marriage path before I was ready to travel that road. As far as I was concerned ‘It was now or never’ or it would never happen.
Love and Peace Bill xxx