(Eduardo di Capua/Wally Gold/Aaron Schroeder)
Elvis’s biggest hit written by Wally Gold and Aaron Schroeder was actually an English re-working of Eduardo di Capua’s “O Sole Mio”, which was written at the turn of the century.
Elvis was serving in the army in Germany when he heard the melody and asked Freddie Bienstock, his music publisher, to find someone to write English lyrics for it, preferably different from Tony Martin’s English version, “There’s No Tomorrow”, which Elvis didn’t like. Wally Gold and Aaron Schroeder were the only lyricists available. Naturally, they jumped at the chance to pen a song for Elvis, and they knocked out the lyrics in about a half hour.
The result was the biggest hit of Elvis’s career, a chart-topper in just about every market in the world, which sold over twenty million copies.
Elvis was not the first actor to sing it, however: That honour fell to David Hess (then David Hill) who later appeared in Body Count, House on the Edge of the Park, The Last House on the Left, and Swamp Thing. He recorded the demo that eventually sold Elvis on the song.
John Schneider recordings
Scotti Brothers ZS6 02105-3 (US promo 45)