“’O sole mio” is a globally known Neapolitan song written in 1898. Its lyrics were written by Giovanni Capurro and the melody 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”
- At the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp “‘O sole mio” was played when the music to the Italian national anthem could not be found.
- Because the song is so well known, invoking in many the beauty and romanticism of Italian culture, many hotels and restaurants have been named after it.
- The song is sung with harp accompaniment in the 1931 Marx Brothers movie Monkey Business.
- A version of the song (“Just One Cornetto …”) supposedly performed by Renato Pagliari (although this is disputed by Pagliari’s son, Remo) was used for a decade on British television to advertise Cornetto ice cream. In the ads, it is usually sung by a Venetian gondolier, despite the fact that Venice is hundreds of miles from Naples.
- The song is commonly heard playing from ice cream vans all over Europe.
- Ernie from Sesame Street sang this song in one skit in order to wake someone up to tell him what time it was. (It was 3:00 AM.)
- On a SpongeBob SquarePants episode, SpongeBob sang this song to slow Squidward down and to stop him from performing his grand solo.
- This song is the overture to a VeggieTales Silly Song – “Larry’s High Silk Hat” from “Lyle The Kindly Viking.”
- An Easter egg in the video game Riven shows the character of Gehn singing this tune. John Keston, who portrayed Gehn, was singing between takes.
- A remix of “‘O sole mio”, created by Namco, is featured in many of the Taiko no Tatsujin games. The song also appears in Pastagames’ Maestro! Jump in Music.
- The song’s melody is used in an Australian commercial for Bankwest, with the lyrics changed to promote their “Happy Banking” campaign.