As previously mentioned, some deluxe reissues of classic Pet Shop Boys albums are coming up. The Pet Shop Boys #1 streamed track is "Always on My Mind", their version of the classic song that was first a hit for Elvis Presley in 1972, and then again for Willie Nelson in 1982. Willie’s version would resulted in three Grammys: Nelson won for Best Male Country Vocal Performance and songwriters Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson won Song of the Year and Best Country Song.
The Presley version was released just after Elvis and Priscilla’s divorce and the theme of regret so beautifully carried by the song obviously struck a real chord. Two other versions of the song were released more or less simultaneously with Elvis’s version: a beautiful country soul version by Gwen McCrae and a great country version by the legendary Brenda Lee.
The song first came to the attention of Memphis producer Chips Moman who had recorded the From Elvis In Memphis album in 1969. He had recorded B.J.Thomas’s original recording of the song at the American Sound Studio in Memphis, possibly as early as 1969. We remain unclear as to whether this version was actually released at the time (anybody out there able to fill us in?) but regardless of that, Elvis, Brenda & Gwen all released their versions in early 72. Chips didn’t produce a version of the song until Willie’s version; he did however produce Elvis’s version of another song by Mark James, the iconic "Suspicious Minds", and other songs written by Wayne Carson, including the original versions of "The Letter" and "Soul Deep", both by the Box Tops.
You can hear the Pet Shop Boys’ smash 1987 version of "Always On My Mind" on our Classic Love Songs and Hits of the 80s playlists on Spotify (follow for regular updates), and you can check out the 6 key versions of this all-time great song here, starting off with the Pet Shop Boys’ and going back from there.
Pet Shop Boys
Gwen McCrae (as ‘You Were Always on My Mind’)
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