’O sole mio

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Not to be confused with the operatic trio from New Zealand, Sole Mio.
"’O sole mio"
Music by Eduardo di Capua
Lyrics by Giovanni Capurro
Written 1898
Language Neapolitan
Recorded by

 

"’O sole mio" is a globally known Neapolitan song written in 1898. Its lyrics were written by Giovanni Capurro and the music was composed by Eduardo di Capua. There are other versions of "’O sole mio" but it is usually sung in the original Neapolitan language. ’O sole mio is the Neapolitan equivalent of standard Italian Il sole mio and translates literally as "my sunshine".[1]

Lyrics[edit]

Neapolitan lyrics[2][3][4]
Che bella cosa è na jurnata ’e sole,
n’aria serena dopo na tempesta!
Pe’ ll’aria fresca para già na festa...
Che bella cosa na jurnata ’e sole.
Ma n’atu sole cchiù bello, oi ne’,
’o sole mio sta nfronte a te!
’o sole, ’o sole mio, sta nfronte a te,
sta nfronte a te!
Quanno fa notte e ’o sole se ne scenne,
me vane quasi ’na malincunia;
sotta ’a fenesta toia restarria
quanno fa notte e ’o sole se ne scenne.
Ma n’atu sole cchiù bello, oi ne’,
’o sole mio sta nfronte a te!
’o sole, ’o sole mio, sta nfronte a te,
sta nfronte a te!
English translation
What a beautiful thing is a sunny day!
The air is serene after a storm,
The air is so fresh that it already feels like a celebration.
What a beautiful thing is a sunny day!
But another sun that's brighter still,
It's my own sun that's upon your face!
The sun, my own sun, it's upon your face!
It's upon your face!
When night comes and the sun has gone down,
I almost start feeling melancholy;
I'd stay below your window
When night comes and the sun has gone down.
But another sun that's brighter still,
It's my own sun that's upon your face!
The sun, my own sun, it's upon your face!
It's upon your face!

Recordings[edit]

"’O sole mio" has been performed and covered by many artists, including such stalwarts of opera as Enrico Caruso, Rosa Ponselle, Beniamino Gigli, and Mario Lanza. Sergio Franchi recorded this song on his 1962 RCA Victor Red Seal debut album, Romantic Italian Songs.[5] Luciano Pavarotti won the 1980 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance for his rendition of "’O sole mio". Tony Bennett recorded the song with a big band arrangement by Don Costa in 1972, which Verve released as a 45 single.

English versions[edit]

In 1915, Charles W. Harrison recorded the first English translation of "’O sole mio". In 1921, William E. Booth-Clibborn wrote lyrics for a hymn using the music, entitled "Down from His Glory."

In 1949 U.S. singer Tony Martin recorded "There's No Tomorrow" which used the melody of "’O sole mio". About ten years later, while stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army, Elvis Presley heard the recording and put to tape a private version of the song. Upon his discharge, he requested that new lyrics be written especially for him, a job that was undertaken by the songwriting duo of Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold, with a demo by David Hill. The rewritten version was entitled "It's Now or Never" and was a worldwide hit for Presley. When performing it in concert in the mid-1970s, Elvis would explain the origin of "It's Now Or Never" and have singer Sherrill Nielsen perform a few lines of the original Italian version before commencing with his version.

In 1998, Christopher Lee and Rhapsody of Fire recorded an English/Italian version.

In popular culture[edit]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]