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Always On My Mind by Willie Nelson

Album: Always On My MindReleased: 1982Charted:
  • This was written by the songwriting trio of Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson Thompson. It was originally recorded by Brenda Lee in 1971.
  • This song tells the story of a man who admits that he didn't always do the things he should have to show appreciation for his lady, but wants her to know he was always thinking about her.
  • The Country Music Association named this Single Of The Year in 1982. It also did very well at the Grammys, taking the awards for Song Of The Year, Best Male Country Vocal Performance, and Best Country Song. It was the first country song to take Song Of The Year, and it wasn't until the 2007 ceremonies when another country act got one: The Dixie Chicks for "Not Ready To Make Nice."
  • Elvis Presley recorded this in 1972. His version reached #9 in the UK. A cover version by The Pet Shop Boys made UK #1 in December 1987. They had released it after performing it on a BBC Elvis tribute show. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Adam - Dewsbury, England
  • Levi's used this in a 2004 commercial where a guy goes to great lengths to retrieve his jeans. He brings his old girlfriend a flower as a peace offering, then grabs his jeans and leaves while she puts it in water.
  • In the January 2006 issue of Esquire magazine, B.B. King said that this was his favorite song.
  • In 1987, The Pet Shop Boys released a dance version on their album Introspective which was the Christmas #1 in the UK and reached #4 in the US. Neil Tennant explained to 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, "We were approached by Central TV to be on a program called Love Me Tender, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, and for some reason, we agreed to do it. Rob Holden, who worked with our manager, Tony Watkins, got us a load of Elvis cassettes and the first track on the first one Chris picked up, Magic Moments With Elvis, was 'Always On My Mind.' We were originally going to do a house version of 'Baby Let's Play House' but there wasn't time. We wouldn't have done 'Always On My Mind' unless it was very different from the original, so we added an extra chord to it. There's a B flat at the end of each chorus that wasn't in the original. It makes it far more like a pop song."
  • As part of a series of re-releases of Elvis songs in the UK in 2007 his version re-entered the UK chart at #17.
  • The Pet Shop Boys rendition of this song was voted the top cover version of all time in a 2014 BBC Music vote. Johnny Cash's interpretation of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" came in second place, followed by The Stranglers' cover of Dionne Warwick's "Walk On By."
  • Wayne Carson wrote this song in ten minutes at his kitchen table in Missouri. He competed it in the studio with the help of Johnny Christopher and Mark James.
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Comments: 27

Mark James and BJ Thomas were both from Houston. Elvis admired BJ's distinctive voice and vocals and often went to see him perform in Memphis. The King recorded many songs that were first written by Mark James for BJ Thomas.Coy - Palestine, Texas
This song's co-writer Wayne Carson died in Nashville in 2015. He was 72.Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
On February 28th 1982, "Always On My Mind" by Willie Nelson entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #88; and fourteen weeks later on June 6th, 1982 it peaked at #5 {for 3 weeks} and spent 23 weeks on the Top 100...
And on May 2nd, 1982 it reached #1* {for 2 weeks} on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart; also #1 on the Canadian RPM Country chart & #2 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
* Was his eighth of nineteen #1 records on the Hot Country Singles chart; and three of those were duets with Waylon Jennings...
Willie Hugh Nelson will celebrate his 82nd birthday in two months and one day on April 29th {2015}.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
On February 2nd 1973, Muhammed Ali* visited with Elvis in Las Vegas, NV...
At the time Elvis' "Separate Ways" b/w "Always on My Mind" was at #20 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and that was also its peak position on the chart...
It reached #3 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
* Ali presented Elvis with a pair of boxing gloves; on the left glove was prescribed "You're the greatest" and on the right glove "To Elvis, my main man, from Muhammad Ali".
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Mark James wrote many other songs for Elvis, including "Suspicious Minds" and "Moody Blue". Wayne Carson Thompson (who for some reason changed his name to "Wayne Carson") wrote "The Letter" and "Neon Rainbow". But who is Johnny Christopher? No one seems to know?Coy - Palestine, Tx
To me, BJ Thomas performed the best rendition of this great composition.Patrick - Spring Lake Heights, Nj
Willie's version: yes, wonderful simplicity. The version by Elvis: yes, wonderful depth. The lyrics speak of emotions and thoughts that have been felt by a majority of people from all walks of life, thus the song's enduring popularity.Camille - Toronto, Oh
Willie's version is definitely the best. It didn't win a grammy for nothing. It has the best sound, and my God, what a voice.Mayank - Ranchi, India
You people are forgetting Michael Buble covered this song also, which in my opinion is the best. Much more slower and deeper toneJson - Wilmington, De
I think the song is very fitting for Elvis. Willie Nelson speaks for all men with this song as he does sing it with all its simplicity. Both are truly admirable for singing this song with reflection and pensativity. My husband has dedicated this song to me as we had parted ways when we were young. We then reunited and got married. Thank you, Willie.Alma - Laredo, Tx
simply an ever lasting beautyfull song for all people all timesLuis - San Antonio Los Altos, Venezuela
Willie Nelson sings this song very simply and lets the song speak for itself. I think he really liked this song.Peter - Blyth, United Kingdom
I recently stumbled across a single track with versions by Willie & Elvis on it. Really hi-lights the differences. As to whose version is best...kinda like peaches & plums - both are good, depends on your taste...Ron - Crossville, Tn
Always on My Mind became a classic thanks to Elvis, for me his version is much better than Nelson's one.Alx - Tarragona, Spain
Heartfelt tune, I like both Willie Nelson's & Elvis Presley's versions of it.Michael - San Diego, Ca
There's no doubt, the best version of this song is done live on "Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson:VH1 Storytellers.Jon - Oakridge, Or
Always On My Mind was a song that Elvis wanted to record because it reflected his personal life and his marriage that was breaking up in 1972. The record/music industry has never given enough credit to him as an artist for this song. In my opinion he added way more depth to this song than Willie Nelson ever could.Dominic - Sarasota, Fl
It's maybe one of the very few tunes I like by Willie NelsonBernard - Caracas, South America
I like Willie but I have to go with Elvis' version as my favorite.Steve - Houston, Tx
One of my favorite songs to perform. The way Willie sings it is great. The chords are nice and bouncy. Its very heavy. Its a wonderfully written expression of regret. I love performing this song.Kevin - Canada, Canada
This song brings back an emabaressing moment when i was in the back of a shop and i thougt i was alone this song came on and i begane to sing it unaware that be the end of the song there was a crowd of people listen and lauging at the spetical i had made of myself god i was so embarresed but i look back and all i can do is laugh.Erica - Hampstead, Nc
I like all three versions. Elvis,Willie and the Pet Shop boys. I have always believed if your going to remake a song...you have to give it personality that it did not already have. Mission Accomplished with this one. Great Tune.Jamie - Bethesda, Md
Willie Nelson's version is much better then Elvis' version.Julian - Oakland, Ar
People that have covered it so far besides Nelson, Lee,& Presley : Pet Shop Boys, Johnny Cash, B.B. King,Alex - New Orleans, La
thought Willie's version was ok.....Pete - Nowra, Australia
In 1971 I met and interviewed Wayne Carson Thompson while I was at KAAY Radio in Little Rock.
He was a very nice guy...spent some time with him.
Of course, at that time, his biggest smash had been "The Letter"...1st by The Boxtops and then by Joe Cocker. He also, had some of his songs recorded by B. J. Thomas when Thomas was on Scepter.
Jonnie - St. Louis, Mo
"Always on My Mind" should ever ever be a song associated with Elvis Presley and NOT with Willie Nelson who, like so many other times, just "assassinate" this timeless classic.Rato - Lisbon, Portugal
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