The Last Thing on My Mind

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"The Last Thing on My Mind"
Song by Tom Paxton
from the album Ramblin' Boy
LanguageEnglish
Released1964 (1964)
GenreCountry
LabelElektra
Songwriter(s)Tom Paxton
Composer(s)Tom Paxton

"The Last Thing on My Mind" is a song written by American musician and singer-songwriter Tom Paxton in the early 1960s and recorded first by Paxton in 1964. It is based on the traditional lament song "The Leaving of Liverpool". The song was released on Paxton's 1964 album Ramblin' Boy, which was his first album released on Elektra Records.

The song remains one of Paxton's best-known compositions.

Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton version[edit]

"The Last Thing on My Mind"
DollyPorterLastThing.jpeg
Single by Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton
from the album Just Between You and Me
B-side"Love Is Worth Living"
ReleasedOctober 30, 1967
Format7" single
RecordedOctober 11, 1967
StudioRCA Studio B (Nashville)
GenreCountry
Length2:34
LabelRCA Victor
Songwriter(s)Tom Paxton
Producer(s)Bob Ferguson
Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton singles chronology
"The Last Thing on My Mind"
(1967)
"Holding on to Nothin'"
(1968)

"The Last Thing on My Mind" was covered by Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton and released as their debut duet single on October 30, 1967, by RCA Victor. Their version peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, the first of an almost uninterrupted string of top ten singles they would release over the next several years.

Critical reception[edit]

The single was well received by critics upon release. Billboard gave a positive review of the single, which said that Wagoner and Parton's "initial outing should be a giant." They concluded by saying that "the folk-oriented ballad...has much pop potential."[1] In another positive review, Cashbox called the single "a very effective updating of the contemporary folk ditty," with "an appealing blending of voices" which "makes this a good bet for big chart honors."[2]

Commercial performance[edit]

"The Last Thing on My Mind" debuted at number 70 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. It would eventually peak at number seven and spend a total of 17 weeks on the chart. The single's B-side, "Love Is Worth Living", was successful in Canada, peaking at number four on the RPM Country Singles chart.

Track listing[edit]

  • 7" single (RCA Victor 47-9369)
  1. "The Last Thing on My Mind" (Tom Paxton) – 2:34
  2. "Love Is Worth Living" (Dolly Parton) – 2:32

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from RCA recording session records.

  • Jerry Carrigan – drums
  • Anita Carter – background vocals
  • Pete Drake – steel
  • Dolores Edgin – background vocals
  • Bob Ferguson – producer
  • Roy M. Huskey, Jr. – bass
  • Mack Magaha – fiddle
  • George McCormick – rhythm guitar
  • Wayne Moss – electric guitar
  • Dolly Parton – lead vocals
  • Hargus Robbins – piano
  • Buck Trent – banjo
  • Porter Wagoner – lead vocals

Charts[edit]

"The Last Thing on My Mind"
Chart (1967–1968) Peak
position
US Hot Country Singles (Billboard)[3] 7
"Love Is Worth Living"
Chart (1967–1968) Peak
position
Canada Country Singles (RPM)[4] 4

Other recordings[edit]

The song has also been recorded by dozens of artists, including:

Soundtrack[edit]

It is performed by the Punch Brothers and Stark Sands in the soundtrack of the Coen Brothers' film Inside Llewyn Davis (2013).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Spotlight Singles" (PDF). American Radio History. Billboard. November 11, 1967. p. 12. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  2. ^ "Country Reviews" (PDF). American Radio History. Cashbox. November 11, 1967. p. 52. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  3. ^ "Dolly Parton Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  4. ^ "RPM Country Chart" (PDF). CollectionsCanada.gc.ca. RPM Music Weekly. February 10, 1968. p. 9. Retrieved December 31, 2019.