♫ Always On My Mind ♫

I am not a fan of country music, cannot tolerate bluegrass or gospel music, but there are a few country singers who strike a chord with me, and at the top of that short list is Willie Nelson.

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.  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.  

I did not know that Elvis had ever recorded this song, but he did in 1972.  I am also surprised to find that while his version didn’t chart in the U.S., it reached #9 in the UK. It returned to the UK chart at #17 in 2007 when it was issued as part of a series of Elvis re-releases.  In 1987, the British electronic duo Pet Shop Boys released a dance version of Always On My Mind that was a surprise hit, becoming the Christmas #1 in the UK that year and reaching #4 in the US in May 1988.

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.  Says Nelson …

“‘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 Merle 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.”

With that said, I give you Willie Nelson and You Were Always On My Mind

Always on My Mind
Willie Nelson

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 gi-ve 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: Musixmatch
Songwriters: James Mark / Christopher John Lee Jr
Always on My Mind lyrics © Screen Gems-emi Music Inc., Lovolar Music, Budde Songs Inc

35 thoughts on “♫ Always On My Mind ♫

  1. Yes, familiar with both Elvis and Willie versions. My mind switches effortlessly between the two versions; one can sing one verse in my head, and the other sings the next version. Then both sing together.

    Ah, wonderful. Cheers and hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This song was Willie Nelson, at least in my mind. But, nothing on Willie, it seems to have a lot in common with an earlier song written and sung by folksinger Tom Paxton. Even the music is similar enough to be possibly a case of unconscious plagiarism, if not an intentional one: Last Thing on my Mind, recorded in 1964.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. There’s loads of good country and bluegrass music – you’re depriving yourself! I’ve always loved Willie Nelson’s version of this, it is full of soul. Unlike the dreadful Pet Shop Boys version: I’ve never forgiven that for keeping Fairytale of New York from #1!

    Liked by 2 people

    • There’s something about the twang that just hurts my ears and sets my teeth on edge. However, light country, or a combination of country and another genre such as soul, I can deal with and in the case of Willie Nelsen, can even love! Anything by Pet Shop Boys is not even allowed on my computer! “Fairytale of New York”? Who was that one by? The name isn’t ringing any bells …

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a shame, but I can understand why you don’t listen to it if it has that effect on you! I’m glad you avoid the Pet Shop Boys too. Fairytale of New York is by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. I’m guessing it might not be to your taste though. It has charted here many times since its 1987 release but has never done anything over there. Shane MacGowan, the Pogues leader, was quoted as saying of their #2 placing in 1987 ‘we were beaten by two queens and a drum machine.’ Not very PC, but very funny!

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        • I think our tastes in music are, at least in part, developed as a result of what we hear the most, and perhaps the associations it brings. I never heard country music while growing up, for none of my friends or my parents listened to it. Then, I married a man who ONLY liked country, and it never grew on me, so he and I rarely were able to listen to music in the same room at the same time! I will check out Fairytale of New York … I’ve bookmarked it to listen to, just haven’t gotten around to it yet. The quote is indeed funny!

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’m sure you’re right about that – I guess it depends on the sources, though, as teenagers have a tendency to rebel against their parents’ taste. My listening in formative years was the radio, and particularly the pirate radio stations that operated in the mid 60s. I hope you survive Fairytale!

            Liked by 1 person

            • OH MY! I just finished listening to Fairytale of New York and … I started laughing on the 2nd line! I know it’s not funny, it’s a dark and tragic song, but that anybody would write that is just … beyond me! Anyway, I turned the music off about midpoint and just read the rest of the lyrics, for my ears were crying out in pain! 😱 Needless to say, I won’t be adding this one to my list of favourites, but then you already figured that, right?

              Liked by 1 person

              • I didn’t think you’d like it! Still a surprise to me that it has never done better there: given that the video was made in New York and features Matt Dillon I’d have thought that would have got it some publicity.

                Liked by 1 person

                  • It has been a regular chart entry here. At the time I wrote my post Advent Calendar Day 22, which featured it, it was at #5 in our chart – the seventeenth time it has been a chart hit since its first year of release. And that was despite a few DJs refusing to play it because of some of its lyrics. I still think you’ve missed out over there, though 😊

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Wow! That is amazing … I can’t think of any other song that has made 17 comebacks! Well, while I’m saddened that we missed out here, I’ll find a way to live with it. Perhaps I’ll just have to come visit the UK!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Maybe White Christmas? I can’t think of any others, but our December charts are regularly taken over by Christmas hits from previous years, so there may be others getting close. Downloading has a lot to answer for. As does Mariah Carey.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Hmmmm … maybe. But, I don’t really count Christmas songs, for the well-loved ones are always going to make a comeback year after year just … because. I have to agree with you re Mariah Carey. I like some of her music, but … of late, I can’t stand it!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I take your point: at the time I wrote the post I mentioned, 7 of our top 10 were Christmas songs! I think I can safely say that I’ve never come across a Mariah Carey record I’ve liked: I prefer my music to be sung, not shrieked.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Funny that one Christmas song I actually like happens to be by Mariah Carey! “All I Want for Christmas is You”. She doesn’t really shriek in that one, at least I don’t think she does. But overall, I agree with your assessment.

                      Liked by 1 person

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