Always on My Mind
|"Always on My Mind"|
|Song by Brenda Lee, Gwen McCrae|
|Writer||Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher, Mark James|
|Recorded by||Elvis Presley, John Wesley Ryles, Willie Nelson, Pet Shop Boys, B. B. King, Michael Bublé, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Erlend Øye, Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience among others|
|Performed by||Shakira at the 2002 VH1 Divas: Las Vegas|
Allmusic lists over 300 recorded releases of the song in versions by dozens of performers. While Brenda Lee's version had stalled at #45 on the country charts in 1972, other performers would reach the top 20 in the United States and elsewhere with their own versions: Elvis Presley in 1972; John Wesley Ryles in 1979; Willie Nelson's Grammy Award winning version in 1982; Pet Shop Boys in 1987.
- 1 Composition
- 2 Elvis Presley version
- 3 John Wesley Ryles' version
- 4 Willie Nelson version
- 5 Pet Shop Boys version
- 6 Other cover versions
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Wayne Carson said that he wrote the song in 10 minutes at his home in Springfield at his kitchen table and completed the song in studio with the assistance of Johnny and Mark.
Carson, who had the song about a year and one day, was finishing a recording session. Producer Chips Moman asked about recording "that mind" song, but added it would need a bridge. Wayne went upstairs to the studio's old piano, where he was trying to work out a bridge, when Johnny and Mark walked in the door, and he asked for their help to complete his song.
The trio felt that the song was finished and at first could not get anything to add, but Wayne explained that Moman was insisting that a bridge be added. So between them, the two-line bridge was created.
The song was passed to one of Elvis's bodyguards, who gave Presley the cut from the studio. Moman did not produce Presley's recording, but did record the Willie Nelson version years later.
Elvis Presley version
|"Always on My Mind"|
|Single by Elvis Presley|
|Recorded||March 29, 1972, RCA Studios, Hollywood, California|
|Genre||Country, soft rock|
Elvis Presley recorded his version of "Always on My Mind" on March 29, 1972, a few weeks after his February separation from wife Priscilla. The song received immense fame and critical appreciation and is considered one of the standout songs of the '70s for Elvis. The song was released as the B-side of the "Separate Ways" single, which reached Gold status in the U.S for sales of over a million copies. It was listed as a double sided hit reaching number 16 on Billboard magazine's Hot Country Singles chart in November 1972. In the UK "Always on My Mind" was the hit song and "Separate Ways" was the B-side.
Chart performance of Elvis Presley's version
|1972 Weekly Chart||Peak
|US Billboard Hot 100||20|
|US Hot Country Singles (Billboard)||16|
|US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)||3|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||4|
|Dutch Top 40||17|
|French Singles Chart||56|
|Swiss Singles Chart||39|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||9|
John Wesley Ryles' version
|"You Are Always on My Mind"|
|Single by John Wesley Ryles|
|from the album Let the Night Begin|
|B-side||"My Angel Got Her Wings Today"|
|John Wesley Ryles singles chronology|
Chart performance of John Wesley Ryles's version
|1979 Weekly Chart||Peak
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||20|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||24|
Willie Nelson version
|"Always on My Mind"|
|Single by Willie Nelson|
|from the album Always on My Mind|
|Willie Nelson singles chronology|
The song was recorded by Willie Nelson and released in the spring of 1982. The song raced to number one on Billboard magazine's Hot Country Singles chart that May, spending two weeks atop and total of 21 weeks on the chart. The song also did very well on Top 40 radio, peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and staying on this chart for 23 weeks. In the year end charts, this version was Billboard's number one country song for 1982. This version also charted in a number of other countries.
Nelson's version would result in three wins at the 25th Grammy Awards in February 1983: songwriters Christopher, James and Carson won Song of the Year and Best Country Song; in addition, Nelson won for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
This version also won Country Music Association awards in two consecutive years: 1982 Song of the Year and 1983 Song of the Year for songwriters Christopher, James and Carson; 1982 Single of the Year for Nelson, and; contributed to Nelson winning 1982 Album of the Year for the album "Always on My Mind".
On July 10, 1991, this version was certified platinum by RIAA. In 2008, the single was inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Nelson's version was prominently featured, in its entirety, in a season two (2013) episode of the HBO television series The Newsroom.
Chart performance of Willie Nelson's version
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2012)|
|1982 Weekly Chart||Peak
|Australian Kent Music Report||39|
|Belgian Top 40 (Flanders)||31|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||1|
|Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks||4|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||10|
|Dutch Singles Chart||17|
|Irish Singles Chart||8|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks||2|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||5|
|U.K. Singles Chart||49|
|1982 Year-End Chart||Position|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||70|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||22|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks||8|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||1|
|U.S. Cashbox Top 100||31|
Pet Shop Boys version
|"Always on My Mind"|
|Single by Pet Shop Boys|
|from the album Introspective|
|B-side||"Do I Have To?"|
|Released||November 30, 1987|
|Format||7", 12", cassette, CD|
|Genre||Synthpop, Euro disco|
|Length||3:56 (single mix)
8:10 (extended mix)
9:04 (album version)
|Label||Parlophone – 6171|
|Writer(s)||Mark James, Johnny Christopher, Wayne Carson Thompson|
|Producer(s)||Julian Mendelsohn, Pet Shop Boys|
|Pet Shop Boys singles chronology|
In 1987, Pet Shop Boys performed a synthpop version of "Always on My Mind" on Love Me Tender, an ITV network UK television special commemorating the tenth anniversary of Presley's death, in which various popular contemporary acts performed cover versions of his hits. Their performance was so well-received that the duo decided to record the song and release it as a single.
This version became the UK's Christmas number one single that year ironically keeping one of the best known Christmas songs of all time, Fairytale of New York by The Pogues & Kirsty McColl off the number 1 spot. It went on to top the charts for four weeks in total, and reached number four on the US Billboard Hot 100.
The Pet Shop Boys version introduces a harmonic variation not present in the original version. In the original the ending phrase "always on my mind" is sung to a IV-V7-I cadence (C-D7-G). The Pet Shop Boys extend this cadence by adding two further chords: C-D7-Gm7/B♭-C-G (i.e. a progression of IV-V7-IIIb-IV-I).
In November 2004, The Daily Telegraph newspaper placed the version at number two in a list of the fifty greatest cover versions of all time. In October 2014, a public poll compiled by the BBC saw the song voted the all-time best cover version.
In the video for Pet Shop Boys' version of "Always on My Mind" (an excerpt from their surreal music film It Couldn't Happen Here), Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe are seated in the front of a taxi cab, when an eccentric passenger gets in, played by notable British actor Joss Ackland. At the end of the song, he gets out of the car, which drives away. Standing alone, he mutters: "You went away. It should make me feel better. But I don't know how I'm going to get through", which is part of the lyrics for another Pet Shop Boys track, "What Have I Done to Deserve This?".
In 1988, the duo remixed the song for their third studio LP, Introspective, combining it with an acid-house track called "In My House".
In 2008, Konami used the song for Dance Dance Revolution X which was released for both arcades and the Sony PlayStation 2 console. In 2010, the song was re-used for Dance Dance Revolution X2 which was released for arcades.
Chart performance of Pet Shop Boys' version
|Australian Singles Chart||10|
|Austrian Singles Chart||2|
|Belgian Singles Chart||2|
|Canadian Singles Chart||1|
|Dutch Singles Chart||5|
|European Singles Chart||1|
|Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)||1|
|French Singles Chart||22|
|German Singles Chart||1|
|Irish Singles Chart||2|
|Italian Singles Chart||9|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||8|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||3|
|Polish Singles Chart||1|
|South African Singles Chart||3|
|Swedish Singles Chart||1|
|Swiss Singles Chart||1|
|UK Singles Chart||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||4|
|U.S. Billboard Dance/Club Play Songs Chart||8|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales Chart||12|
Other cover versions
- In 2013, the Spanish national Christmas lottery advertisement  covered this song with various popular Spanish artists, including Montserrat Caballé.
- Joyce Meyer did a version of the song for her husband Dave Meyer when she did a sermon entitled "I was always on my mind," in which she calls her husband up, and then sings the version of the song for him; he replies "that's all true."
- Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the Pet Shop Boys' version for their 1988 album The Chipmunks and The Chipettes: Born to Rock.
- Mary Elizabeth McGlynn recorded a downtempo cover version for Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.
- Me First and the Gimme Gimmes covered this song on their album Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah.
|Billboard Hot Country Singles
May 8–15, 1982 by Willie Nelson
"Just to Satisfy You"
by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson
by Dolly Parton
|RPM Country Tracks
June 5–12, 1982 by Willie Nelson
"Listen to the Radio"
by Don Williams
"Fire and Smoke"
by Earl Thomas Conley
|Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single of the year
1982 by Willie Nelson
by Shelly West
"China in Your Hand" by T'Pau
|UK number one single
December 20, 1987 – January 9, 1988 by Pet Shop Boys
"Heaven Is a Place on Earth" by Belinda Carlisle
"Reet Petite" by Jackie Wilson
|UK Singles Chart Christmas number-one single
1987 by Pet Shop Boys
"Mistletoe and Wine" by Cliff Richard
"Wishing Well" by Terence Trent D'Arby
|Canadian RPM Singles Chart number-one single
May 21, 1988 – May 28, 1988 by Pet Shop Boys
"Beds Are Burning" by Midnight Oil
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- Guralnick, Peter / Jorgensen, Ernst (1999) p. 310. Elvis: Day by Day. ISBN 0-345-42089-6
- "Top 20 Country Billboard Singles". The Official Elvis Presley Website. Archived from the original on 19 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
- Elvis Presley Billboard Chart Positions at AllMusic. Retrieved 07/14/2014.
- "Elvis Presley: Artist Chart History" UK Singles Chart.
- Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 367. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
- "RPM Country Tracks for December 29, 1979". RPM. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Ultratop Belgian Charts". ultratop.be. 1984-07-21. Retrieved 2014-03-30.
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- "Cash Box YE Pop Singles – 1982". Cashboxcountdowns.com. 1982-12-25. Retrieved 2012-06-23.
- "ChartArchive – Pet Shop Boys – Always on My Mind". Chartstats.com. 2009-02-28. Retrieved 2012-06-23.
- Pet Shop Boys (2009-12-21). "Pet Shop Boys – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-06-23.
- "They did it their way". The Daily Telegraph (London). November 20, 2004. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
- "Pet Shop Boys' Always On My Mind tops cover version vote". BBC News. 27 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, NSW, Australia: Australian Chart Book. p. 232. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
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- "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-03-30.
Elvis Presley's version on YouTube: