The calling-card of the post-army Elvis, it’s easy to hear “It’s Now Or Never” simply as a record made by a tamed man. But how big, in truth, is the gap between thrilling a crowd or charming them? Elvis could sell the promise of a kiss as easily as he could the hint of a fuck, and on the belting chorus to this song he’s on fine puppy-eyed form. The problem is the verses, where Presley seems uncomfortable, going over-the-top on the vibrato and – unthinkably – sounding like a wimp.
For students of manipulation, “It’s Now Or Never” is a gem. Its ultimatum is couched in the most simpering terms, and it works just as well for sexual blackmailers as emotional ones. The arrangement is similarly teasing – slow enough for close-dancing but pacy enough to allow a bit of distance if required. The tune, on the other hand, has suffered from its years of sterling service putting the corn into Cornetto, and the whole thing is easier to appreciate than enjoy.