Until It's Time For You to Go

Album: Many A Mile (1965)


  • Sainte-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 Sainte-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. Other artists who have covered this song include Eddy Arnold, Shirley Bassey, Glen Campbell, Cher, Petula Clark, Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond, Johnny Mathis, Maureen McGovern, Willie Nelson, Nancy Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and Andy Williams. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for all above
  • Some listeners have interpreted this as an illicit love song about a mistress sending her lover back to the arms of his wife, but Sainte-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, Sainte-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."
  • Sainte-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.
  • This was used in the movies Diamond's Edge (1988) and This Year's Love (1999). It was also featured on the TV series McMillan & Wife ("An Elementary Case Of Murder" - 1972).

Comments: 3

  • Susan from Philadelphia, PaUntil Its Time For You To Go is a song that I relate to tremendously, like so many others, because many of us have loved someone who could not remain in our lives. The version sung by the group New Birth with Susaye Greene on lead vocals is my favorite version. Have you ever heard it? if you haven't you should listen to it. Thank you for sharing what was in your heart with me, and thank you for earning your doctorate, because I too am following in your footsteps. Please continue to be true to yourself and your crafts, and never let anyone or anything turn you from the truth.
  • Bob from Grand Rapids, MiUntil its time for you to go was GREAT sung by Neil Diamond!!!
  • Dan from Charleston, ScI have read that Lee Hazelwood wrote this song instead of Buffy. Supposedly it was written for a male but Nancy SInatra wanted to record it - and did so. It's a very nice version from about 1966?
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Penny Ford of Snap!Songwriter Interviews

The original voice of Snap!, this story is filled with angry drag queens, video impersonators and Chaka Khan.

Band NamesFact or Fiction

Was "Pearl" Eddie Vedder's grandmother, and did she really make a hallucinogenic jam? Did Journey have a contest to name the group? And what does KISS stand for anyway?

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up MusiciansSong Writing

Eddie (played by Johnny Depp in the video) found fame fleeting, but Chuck Berry's made-up musician fared better.

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular MusicSong Writing

Starting in Virginia City, Nevada and rippling out to the Haight-Ashbury, LSD reshaped popular music.

Tim Butler of The Psychedelic FursSongwriter Interviews

Tim and his brother Richard are the Furs' foundation; Tim explains how they write and tells the story of "Pretty In Pink."

Art Alexakis of EverclearSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer of Everclear, Art is also their primary songwriter.