A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 24, 2011
“If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right”

Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs (1955-2011) delivered an emotional and personal commencement address at Stanford University in 2005:

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’”

The Latin lyric poet Horace (65 B.C.-8 B.C.) wrote ”Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum, grata superveniet, quae non sperabitur hora,” partly translated as “Live each day as though it were your last.” The saying was popularly used by theologians in 19th century America.

The comedian Fred Allen (1894-1956) added a humorous twist in 1953: “Live every day as if it were your last—and some day you’ll be right.” The jazz musician Cannonball Adderley (1928-1975) also used the line in 1961: “Live every day like it’s your last, and one day you ll be right.”

[This post was prepared with assistance from Garson O’Toole, The Quote Investigator.]


Wikiquote: Horace
Quintus Horatius Flaccus (8 December 65 BC – 27 November 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading lyric poet in Latin.
(...)
Epistles (c. 20 BC and 14 BC)
Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum.
grata superveniet, quae non sperabitur hora.

. Think to yourself that every day is your last; the hour to which you do not look forward will come as a welcome surprise.
. Book I, epistle iv, line 13

Wikiquote: Steve Jobs
Steven Paul Jobs (24 February 1955 – 5 October 2011) was the Chairman and CEO of Apple Inc., a company he founded with Steve Wozniak in 1976. He was also the CEO of Pixar Animation Studios until it was acquired by the Walt Disney Company in 2006. Jobs was the Walt Disney Company’s largest individual shareholder and a former member of its Board of Directors. He is considered to have been a leading figure in both the computer and entertainment industries.
(...)
Address at Stanford University (2005)
Stanford University commencement address (12 June 2005)
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Wikipedia: Fred Allen
Fred Allen (born John Florence Sullivan, May 31, 1894 – March 17, 1956) was an American comedian whose absurdist, topically pointed radio show (1932–1949) made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the so-called classic era of American radio.

Wikipedia: Cannonball Adderley
Julian Edwin “Cannonball” Adderley (September 15, 1928 – August 8, 1975) was a jazz alto saxophonist of the hard-bop era of the 1950s and 1960s.

Adderley is remembered for his 1966 single “Mercy Mercy Mercy”, a crossover hit on the pop charts, and for his work with trumpeter Miles Davis, including on the epochal album Kind of Blue (1959). He was the brother of jazz cornetist Nat Adderley, a longtime member of his band.

Google Books
1850, Visitor, or Monthly Instructor, pg. 249:
In the language of the poet, then,

“Live every day as though it were your last,
And make each day a critic on the past.”

13 August 1868, Leavenworth (KS) Bulletin, pg. 2:
Every day is in itself a little life, and our whole life is but a day repeated. Therefore live every day as if it were your last—for you know not when you may be called away.

Google Books
Horace
By Theodore Martin
Edinburgh: W. Blackwood
1870
Pg. 145:
Live each day as though it were your last.

15 February 1953, Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, pg. 39D, col. 5:
“Live every day as if it were your last—and some day you’ll be right.”—Fred Allen in Pageant.

3 August 1955, Rockford (IL) Register-Republic, “Fans’ Alley” by Jim Johnston, pg. B3, col. 4:
If you yell “Fire!” every day for a few years, some day you’ll be right.

23 April 1961, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, pt. 3, pg. B17:
Cannonball Adderley notes that never before has the dollar had such good-by-ing power. “Live every day like it’s your last,” says the Cannonball, “and one day you ll be right.”

19 November 1961, Boston (MA) Globe, pg. 27:
Cannonball Adderley: “Live every day like it’s your last one and one day you’ll be right.”

Google News Archive
1 December 1979, Kentucky New Era (Hopkinsville, KY), pg. 4, col. 3:
Live each day as if it were your last—and eventually you’ll be right.
(Principles of Dr. Lawrence J. Peter—ed.)

Google Books
In Front of the Camera:
How to make it and survive in movies and television

By Bernard Sandler and Steve Posner
New York, NY: Dutton
1981
Pg. 119:
My philosophy is that an actor should adopt the attitude that each job is going to be his last. Fred Allen said it well: “Live each day as if it were your last. And one day you’ll be right!”

Google News Archive
23 March 1981, Nashua (NH) Telegraph, “Magic markers for another milestone” by Hugh A. Mulligan, Horizons, pg. 28, col. 2:
The only good tip I ever got at a race track came from a Dublin bookie, who gave this morning line on the human race: “Live each day as if it was your last, and one day you’ll be right.”

Google Books
Fantabulous Quotes of Wisdom
By Romeo Marrishaw
Xlibris Corp
2009
Pg. 21:
Live each and every day as if it were your last; because one day you’ll be right.
Bob Moawad

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