The Twelfth of Never

"The Twelfth of Never" is a popular song written in 1956 and first recorded by Johnny Mathis the following year. The title is a popular expression, which is used as the date of a future occurrence that will never come to pass. In the case of the song, "the 12th of Never" is given as the date on which the singer will stop loving his beloved, thus indicating that he will always love her.

Mathis initially disliked the song, which was released as the flip side to his number 1 hit single "Chances Are".

It was written by Jerry Livingston and Paul Francis Webster, the tune (except for the bridge) being adapted from "The Riddle Song" (also known as "I Gave My Love a Cherry"), an old English folk song. Mathis's original version reached number 9 on what is now called the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA in 1957. A version by Cliff Richard was released in 1964 and reached number 8 in the UK. Donny Osmond's version, produced by Mike Curb and Don Costa, was his second number 1 single in the UK, spending a single week at the top of the UK Singles Chart in March 1973. In the U.S. it peaked at number 8.

Chart performance

Johnny Mathis originalCliff Richard versionDonny Osmond version


;Donny Osmond version

Notable cover versions

  • 1970: Tammy Wynette recorded her version on her album The Ways to Love a Man (album).
  • 1977ː David Houston on his album David Houston (single, reached #98 on US Billboard Country chart)
  • 1993: Jeff Buckley: performed and recorded at his live performance and album Live At Sin-é
  • 1995: Elvis Presley: a rehearsal recorded in 1974 was released as a single and reached #21 in the UK.
  • 2018: Jan Rot did a version in Dutch on his album 'Magistraal', the non-existing date translated as '30 Februari'.