Until It's Time for You to Go
Buffy Sainte-Marie songwriter/Elvis Presley: Until It's Time For You To Go
Quiz by Sharon Michiko Yoneda
artist: Elvis Presley
songwriter: Buffy Sainte-Marie
date released: 1965 by Buffy Sainte-Marie; re-released in 1972 by Elvis Presley.
Buffy Ste-Marie was inspired to write this song after falling in love with someone who could not be with her. Although it was never released as a single, it became one of her most popular songs.
According to Ste-Marie's official site, the lyrics to the song are about "honesty and freedom inside the heart." This hit US #40 for Elvis Presley in 1972.
Some listeners have interpreted "Until It's Time For You to Go" as an illicit love song about a mistress sending her lover back to the arms of his wife, but Ste-Marie told Magnet Magazine it's "not just about illicit love, but also about anybody you just can't have … like a soldier who's on the way to Vietnam or somebody who's dying or just plain unavailable to you in spite of the love. It's been recorded by more than 200 artists in 13 different languages, so I guess it’s a common experience."
When asked if Elvis' controversial manager "Colonel" Tom Parker tried to secure half the songwriting credit, as he often did, Ste-Marie says if he tried, he failed. "I never gave up anything on 'Until It's Time For You To Go,' and it's allowed me to survive as an artist instead of having to take a day job, she explained. "It's still a thrill to think that it was Elvis' love song with his wife."
Ste-Marie, who also wrote heavy protest songs like the anti-war anthem "Universal Soldier" and "Now That The Buffalo's Gone," about the plight of indigenous people, caught some backlash when she wrote this. "The folkies called me a sellout," she told Bruce Pollock. "When I wrote it, nobody had even used the word feminism!" Ste-Marie chortled to The Guardian. "To me, the most important line in the song is 'we'll make a space in the lives we've planned.' That's about leaving room in your life for life to happen."