A Profile of the Song "O Sole Mio"

Eduardo Di Capua's Famous Song

Luciano Pavarotti At Poplar Creek
Luciano Pavarotti At Poplar Creek. Paul Natkin / Getty Images

The song "O Sole Mio" is a famous 1898 composition by Eduardo Di Capua. The text was written by Giovanni Capurro. The most popular version, "It's Now or Never," was performed by Elvis Presley.  In 1961, while becoming the first person to ever orbit the earth, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin hummed "O Sole Mio. As of 2002, the song's yearly royalties were estimated to be at least $250,000.

The Creation and History of "O Sole Mio"

"O Sole Mio" is often referred to as a Neapolitan song. Neapolitan songs were songs written for an annual songwriting contest for the Festival of Piedigrotta, which began in 1830, in Naples, Italy. "O Sole Mio" was composed by Eduardo Di Capua in Odessa during April 1898. Setting his music to the poem by Giovanni Capurro, Di Capua drew his inspiration while touring Crimea with his father (a violinist street musician). Di Capua and Capurro sold the rights of the song to the Bideri publishing house for 25 lire.

The Third Author

"O Sole Mio" had a third author. Emanuele Alfredo Mazzucchi helped Di Capua write the music of "O Sole Mio," however, he did not sign the manuscript. Mazzucchi didn't much mind to remain the silent third author while much of the world performed and enjoyed the song. It wasn't until his death in 1972 that his heirs filed a claim stating that he was an author of the song (along with 17 others he helped Di Capua write). Finally, in 2002, an Italian judge ruled in favor of the Mazzucchi heirs. They now own the rights to "O Sole Mio" until 2042 and will collect those glorious royalties.

"O Sole Mio" Lyrics and Translation

Learn the Italian lyrics and English translation of "O Sole Mio".

Great Singers of "O Sole Mio"