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How Willie Nelson gave us a soulful country version of "You Were Always on My Mind"

When it comes to covers, performers and listeners realize: There's nothing cooler than Nelson's soulful country version! It's his track, though written by other people...

The story behind "You Were Always on My Mind"

"You've always been in my thoughts." - a soulful composition that became the calling card of first Elvis Presley and then Willie Nelson. It is a beautifully written apology for love "going downhill. Specifically, the song sings:

"Maybe I didn't relate to you.
As good as I should have been.
Maybe I didn't love you.
To the fullest extent that I could..."

Perhaps for Elvis this composition was just "one of many."But for Willie... It was a big hit after graduation, and now it's great classic! And every time it comes to a cover, performers and listeners realize: There's nothing cooler than Nelson's soulful country version! It's his track, though written by other people...

Looking for a bridge

Wayne Carson
Wayne Carson

"You Were Always on My Mind" was a collaborative effort. It all started with the fact that Wayne Carson - songwriter and the 1967 hit song "The Letter" by The Box Tops in particular - wrote two verses. But at first Wayne decided to leave his creation without bridge - moment that contrasts with the rest of the song and then brings you back to the verse or chorus. So: at the end of 1971, Carson went into the studio to work on the song, but the producer Chips Moman listened to it and said he couldn't get anywhere without a bridge. Then Wayne went to work, but nothing came out...

Carson was sitting at the piano in his office when the singer, songwriter and guitarist approached him Johnny Christopher. The two already knew each other, as in the summer of 1970 they had written together "No Love at All," one of the best country hits of the 20th century, which made Lynn Anderson proud! The track intrigued Christopher, so he offered to help write the bridge. The two men didn't make much progress, but luckily a third genius of the pen came to their rescue - Mark JamesMost famous for "Suspicious Minds" (Elvis Presley). And, oh wonder, they soon had a bridge! From Carson's recollections:

"The three of us sat there in the same room and finally wrote those two lines, a bridge. We exhaled with relief and thought, 'Shit, a hit, we've got a hit!

"A Halloween Gift."

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

At first, many people thought the song was written specifically for Elvis Presley, who had family issues at the time, but that was not the case. The King of Rock and Roll recorded "You Were Always on My Mind" March 29, 1972, but it was not released until November of that year. And before that happened, the artist was beaten by beauties Gwen McCray and Brenda Leigh, whose studio efforts turned out to varying degrees of chart success...

The Elvis version has finally been released for Halloween 1972 as the A side of the single (the B side went to "Separate Ways"). "You Were Always on My Mind" did well on the charts, as thousands of people across America thought this heartfelt ode was about Presley's troubled relationship with Priscilla. But it wasn't, and the track only became a real hit. 10 years later.

The song goes to Nelson

Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson

It was ten years before the song hit the charts again when Willie Nelson released it as a single on March 6, 1982. Johnny Christopher brought "You Were Always on My Mind" to him and Merle Haggardto see if anyone was interested in recording her. And while Haggard remained indifferent, Nelson was literally stunned.

As a result soulful version Nelson spent 21 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and also reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song won three Grammy Awards, and Willie's album of the same name was Album of the Year!

Finally, some interesting facts

Pet Shop Boys: Chris Lowe (left) and Neil Tennant. Photo: Yang Hutong
Pet Shop Boys
  • One of the co-writers of the song, ChristopherHe also worked with Nelson on the album "Always on My Mind," playing guitar and backing vocals on several tracks.
  • BB King once said that "You Were Always on My Mind" was his favorite song.
  • At the very least more than 300 times The song has been covered. Among the performers are Chris de Burgh, Julio Iglesias, the Pet Shop Boys, and others.

  • In 2004. Levi's jeans used Nelson's version of the commercial where the girl throws all the guy's stuff out the window and he has to get his jeans out of the tree.

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