This song was written in 1926 by Roy Turk and Lou Handman. Al Jolson recorded it in 1927. The soliloquy portion of the song was inspired by a speech of Jacques in Shakespeare's "As You Like It", Act II Scene VII. Elvis recorded it on April 3, 1960 at RCA Studio B in Nashville. Elvis' manager Colonel Parker rarely made suggestions about his musical choices, however, this song was a favorite of his wife Marie's and the Colonel did suggest that Elvis record it.
The master was a splice of two takes. It shipped out on November 1, 1960 with "I Gotta Know" as its flip side "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" hit #1 for 6 weeks in its 16-week run on Billboard's pop singles chart in the USA. It peaked at #3 in a 10-week run on the R&B singles chart and peaked at #22 in a 6-week run on the country chart. On the British pop singles chart it peaked at #1 for 4 weeks in a 15-week run.
The recording received three Grammy Award nominations for 1960: Record of the Year (winner was Percy Faith's "Theme From A Summer Place"), Best Vocal Performance-Male (winner was Ray Charles for "Georgia On My Mind"), and Best Vocal Performance-Pop Single Artist (winner Ray Charles for "Georgia On My Mind").
Others who have recorded it are Ray Conniff, Doris Day, Connie Francis, Merle Haggard, Brian Hyland, The Lettermen, Al Martino, Bryan Ferry, The Mavericks, Donny Osmond, Frank Sinatra and Engelbert Humperdinck.