Name a more iconic Willie Nelson song than “Always on My Mind.” The song features some of Nelson’s most powerful vocal work and the country artist at his most tender.
Nelson has had many iconic hits over his career. He weaves vocal gold with almost any song he gets his hands on. But “Always on My Mind” holds a special place in his career and fans’ hearts. And the Grammys agrees. On this day in 2007, the organization announced the song as a Hall of Fame inductee.
‘”Always On My Mind,’ bowled me over the moment I heard it. Which is one of the ways I pick songs to record,” Nelson recalled in his 1988 autobiography. “There are beautifully sad songs that bowl me over…. Haunting melodies you can’t get out of your mind, with lines that really stick.”
Willie Nelson’s Version is a Cover
It’s hard to imagine anything other than Willie Nelson‘s soft vocals on the song. But Nelson wasn’t the first singer to get a stab at the song. The ballad has been covered several times since songwriters Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher, and Mark James conceived it.
With some pretty big names too besides Nelson. In 1972, both Brenda Lee and Elvis Presley recorded dueling versions of the song. At the time, Presley’s version proved to be more popular on the charts. A few years later, John Wesley Ryles took a stab at it with another successful version in 1979. But Nelson made the song iconic when he recorded it in 1982.
Originally, Nelson intended to record the tune as a duet with frequent collaborator Merle Haggard. But the singer passed on the song because he didn’t like it. Nelson decided to continue with his version to mass acclaim. In 1982, the tune won a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance.
In years since, the tune has become one of Nelson’s signature songs, always on fans’ minds. But he’s had several other iconic songs as well.