’O sole mio

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"’O sole mio"
Language Neapolitan
Written 1898
Composer(s) Eduardo di Capua
Alfredo Mazzucchi
Lyricist(s) Giovanni Capurro

"’O sole mio" (Neapolitan pronunciation: [o ˈsoːlə ˈmiːə]) 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 and Alfredo Mazzucchi (1878–1972).[1] 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 mio sole and translates literally as "my sunshine".[2]


Neapolitan lyrics[3][4][5]  

Che bella cosa na jurnata ’e sole,
n’aria serena doppo na tempesta!
Pe’ ll’aria fresca pare 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!

Lùceno ’e llastre d’’a fenesta toia;
’na lavannara canta e se ne vanta
e pe’ tramente torce, spanne e canta,
lùceno ’e llastre d’’a fenesta toia.


Quanno fa notte e ’o sole se ne scenne,
me vene quasi ’na malincunia;
sotta ’a fenesta toia restarria
quanno fa notte e ’o sole se ne scenne.


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 more beautiful, there is not,
  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!

The glasses of your window shine;
A laundress is singing and she's boasting it;
And while she's wringing and spreading the clothes, and singing,
The glasses of your window shine.

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.


"’O sole mio" has been performed and covered by many artists, including Enrico Caruso, Rosa Ponselle and her sister Carmela,[6] Beniamino Gigli, and Mario Lanza. Sergio Franchi recorded this song on his 1962 RCA Victor Red Seal debut album, Romantic Italian Songs.[7] Luciano Pavarotti won the 1980 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance for his rendition of "’O sole mio".


In October 2002, Maria Alvau, a judge in Turin, ruled that Alfredo Mazzucchi (1878–1972), previously considered to be only a music transcriber, was actually a legitimate co-composer.[8] [9] [1] At the time of the decision, the melody of the song was consequently not in the public domain—as had previously been supposed—in any countries where copyright in a musical work lasts until more than 30 years after the death of any of its composers. In countries where copyright lasts for 70 years after any of the composers' deaths, the melody will remain under copyright until 2042.

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" with lyrics by Al Hoffman, Leo Corday, and Leon Carr, 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.

Bing Crosby included the song in a medley on his album 101 Gang Songs (1961).

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ a b Del Bosco, Paquito (2006), ’O sole mio – Storia della canzone più famosa del mondo, Rome: Donzelli editore, pp. 54–57, 115–118  (in Italian)
    ^ a b Santangelo, Gaetano (11 October 2002), "'O sole mio ha un nuovo papà", Amadeus (it)  (in Italian)
  2. ^ How To Pronounce "’O sole mio"
  3. ^ Matthews, Jeff, "Texts & Audio to Neapolitan Songs", Naples: Life, Death & Miracles, retrieved January 10, 2018 
  4. ^ de Fabio, Umberto, "'O sole mio", Napoletanita, retrieved January 12, 2018 
  5. ^ ’O sole mio: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
  6. ^ Phillips-Matz, Mary Jane (1997). Rosa Ponselle: American Diva. University Press of New England. p. 107. ISBN 9781555533175. 
  7. ^ "Sergio Franchi – Romantic Italian Songs", Discogs, retrieved January 12, 2018 
  8. ^ Tricomi, Antonio (9 October 2002), "'O Sole mio spunta un giallo", La Repubblica  (in Italian)
  9. ^ D'Errico, Enzo (9 October 2002), "Il grande affare di "'O sole mio"", Corriere della Sera, p. 38, archived from the original on 8 July 2012  (in Italian)
  10. ^ Reel, James. "Eduardo di Capua". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 Jan 2018. 
  11. ^ Sweeting, Adam (6 Aug 2009). "Renato Pagliari". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 Jan 2018. 
  12. ^ Clayson, Alan (25 Aug 2009). "Renato Pagliari: Singer who had a No 1 record across Europe alongside Renée". The Independent. Retrieved 14 Jan 2018. 
  13. ^ "Renato Pagliari". The Sunday Times. 7 August 2009. Retrieved 14 Jan 2018. 
  14. ^ McCann, Ian (10 Apr 2017). "O sole mio: from Neapolitan ballad to football chant, via Elvis". Financial Times. Retrieved 14 Jan 2018. 

External links[edit]