The famous spoken bridge in "Are You Lonesome Tonight" is based on the line, "You know someone said that the world's a stage. And each must play a part," from Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera Pagliacci. Of course, Ruggero Leoncavallo based that line on the one from As You Like It by William Shakespeare, "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players." The spoken bridge has been omitted from some versions of the song.
Elvis Presley recorded his version on April 4 1960, complete with the bridge. It was released on November 1 1960 and hit the top of the charts in a mere four weeks. It stayed in the no. 1 spot until January 9 1961 when it was knocked off by "Wonderland by Night" by Bert Kaempfert. The song remained part of Elvis's live performances until his untimely death. He performed it on the 1968 NBC special Elvis (better known informally as "the Elvis Presley Comeback Special") and the 1977 CBS special Elvis in Concert. It seems likely that the song is now identified with Elvis Presley more than any other singer.