Elvis Presley

COVER vs ORIGINAL: ‘Always On My Mind’

The song, “Always On My Mind”, was originally recorded by Brenda Lee in 1972

“Always On My Mind” was written by Wayne Carson (1943-2015), Mark James (b.1940) and Johnny Christopher (b.1943) and first recorded by Brenda Lee (b.1944) in 1972. It was released as a single from her second, self-titled album and reached No.40 on the Canadian Country chart and No.45 on the US Country chart.

The song was heard by Elvis Presley, who insisted on recording his own version, just weeks after his separation from his wife, Priscilla. With such star quality, it was hardly surprising that this became the most notable version at the time, eclipsing Lee’s original recording only months after its release. His version made No.20 on the singles chart and No.16 on the Country songs chart as well as being a top ten hit internationally.

Country singer Willie Nelson (b.1933) recorded his version of the song in 1982, taking “Always On My Mind” even further, this time to the top of the Country chart and No.5 on the singles chart, selling over a million copies, double the amount that Elvis’ version had sold a decade earlier. His version earned him three Grammy Awards the following year as well as a Grammy for the songwriters for Song Of The Year.

Ten years after Presley’s death, Britain’s Pet Shop Boys recorded a version for a television special celebrating the King’s life. Their version became the most successful of all, topping the UK chart and becoming the Christmas number one of 1987 there. The song went top ten in twenty five countries worldwide, including America, where it peaked at No.4 in 1988. It was later included on their 1988 album, “Introspective”.

But which version is the best? BRENDA LEE’s original, ELVIS’ cover, WILLIE NELSON’s surprise hit or the PET SHOP BOYS tribute?

Take a look at some of the other posts in this series and don’t forget to follow the playlist.


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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!