♫ Always On My Mind ♫

While I am definitely not a country music song, there are a few artists who have done some songs I very much love.  One of those is Willie Nelson, and tonight I wanted to do something different … I’ve been playing a lot of Motown and songs for the times we’re living through, but tonight I wanted to step out of those circles.

Willie Nelson released this in 1982, but before him, B.J Thomas released it in 1970, Brenda Lee released it in 1971 and Elvis Presley in 1972.  Then, in 1987, after performing it on a BBC Elvis tribute show, The Pet Shop Boys released their own version, the only one to soar to the #1 spot in the UK, although Elvis’ version reached #9 in the UK.  My favourite remains Willie’s, but as I have a number of friends across the pond, I will also play Elvis’ and The Pet Shop Boys’ versions.

The song was written by the songwriting trio of Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson Thompson.  Wayne Thompson wrote this song in ten minutes at his kitchen table in Missouri. He competed it in the studio with the help of Christopher and James.

Willie Nelson had never heard the song before Johnny Christopher brought it to him and Merle Haggard, who were busy recording the album Pancho & Lefty.

“‘Always On My Mind,’ bowled me over the moment I heard it, which is one of the ways I pick songs to record.  There are beautifully sad songs that bowl me over … haunting melodies you can’t get out of your mind, with lines that really stick.”

Nelson figured he and Haggard would do the song together, but Haggard didn’t care for it. After they finished recording their album, Nelson stayed in the studio and recorded the ballad solo, just to see what it would sound like. Of course, it sounded like a hit, but Nelson wondered, “We’ll never know what would have happened if Merle had really heard the song right.”

Always On My Mind
Willie Nelson/Elvis Presley/Pet Shop Boys

Maybe I didn’t love you
Quite as often as I could have
And maybe I didn’t treat you
Quite as good as I should have
If I made you feel second best
Girl I’m sorry I was blind

You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

And maybe I didn’t hold you
All those lonely, lonely times
I guess I never told you
I am so happy that you’re mine
Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

Tell me
Tell me that your sweet love hasn’t died
And give me
Give me one more chance to keep you satisfied
I’ll keep you satisfied

Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time
You were always on my mind (you were always on my mind)
You were always on my mind

You were always on my mind (you were always on my mind)
You were always on my mind

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Johnny Christopher / Mark James / Wayne Thompson
Always On My Mind lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

21 thoughts on “♫ Always On My Mind ♫

  1. An ardent Elvis fan, the younger Daughter would pick his version over all others. The elder Daughter, a country music fan of all its various genres, would always choose Willy Nelson. It must be said that the video with the Pet Shop Boys version is weirdly entertaining, though the rendition of the song is lacking something. That lack is actually a someone, Willy Nelson! As much as Willy’s version moves me to tears this morning, hands down, he wins my vote! Thank-you!

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    • At first glance, I thought you were saying that YOU were the ardent Elvis fan, and I was prepared to faint! I agree … this one belongs to Willy and any rendition without him is somehow lacking. That said … I was a bit disappointed that here I played the two versions that were the biggest hits in the UK, and not a one of my Brit readers so much as chimed in! Hmph.

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  2. Jill, it may not have suited Merle’s tastes, but this is a classic Willie Nelson tune. He was a crooner of old classics before he became more country, so he has a soothing voice that can easily do pop, torch songs, country and others. Keith

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    • Agreed … he has some, like this one, that I could listen to all night. But then, there are others like “If You’ve Got the Money Honey, I’ve Got the Time” that set my teeth on edge just hearing them, but still they get stuck in my head!

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      • Jill, we have a CD of him singing old standards. It is excellent. There is one of his songs called “Angel flying to close to the ground,” which we love. Of course, the song “Crazy” is the greatest, but even his voice does not match Patsy Cline’s. Keith

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        • When I was 5 years old, my younger brother, my only sibling, died of the same heart problems I was born with, though obviously his were more severe. My mother always said that she thought “Angel Flying to Close to the Ground” was ‘his song’, so it’s always had special meaning for me. No, I think Patsy Cline owns Crazy!

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  3. I never thought about this before, but this is very similar to a song by folk artist Tom Paxton, called The Last Thing on my Mind. (He based it on an even older folk song.) Willie Nelson also recorded it, but I do not believe I have ever heard it.
    What bothers me about both songs is the age old story of men neglecting or mistreating the women who love them, and expecting to be forgiven over and over. When will we ever learn?

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