Elvis Presley: Always on My Mind (1972)

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Elvis Presley: Always on My Mind (1972)

Unlike the Beatles -- especially John Lennon and often George Harrison -- we rarely think of the Rolling Stones writing autobiographical songs, or lyrics which have come from some deep emotional place in their lives.

And even less so with Elvis Presley who, after all, didn't write and would pick up anything from a Christmas carol to a raw blues and turn it into gold, or a very passable facsimile.

Yet as he went through his separation and eventual divorce from Priscilla, a few songs took on special resonance: Suspicious Minds by Johnny Christopher and Mark James became an important song for him about trust in a relationship as Priscilla was going out the door.

Then, knowing his marriage was over, he recorded Separate Ways, Kris Krisofferson's For the Good Times and, most notably, another Chrisopher-James composition, Always on My Mind.

It was a song filled with regret for lost opportunities, an apology for emotional absence, and a plea for understanding even though the singer knew she was gone. The chorus asks for one more chance, but . . .

Presley could pour emotion into even the weakest of lyrics, but you can't help think that at this time he was really hearing these words and understanding them.

The day before he had also cut Fool (see clip below): "Fool, you didn't have to hurt her; Fool, you didn't have to lose her; Fool, you only had to love her . . . but now her love has gone . . ."

Sometimes it wasn't that good to be the King. 

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Mark Hendry - Sep 18, 2012

So much larger than life.... and to watch him fall like observing the end of any great mythological beast is quite moving.... "Hush little baby don't you cry... You know your Daddy's bound to die... but soon my trials Lord... will all be over..." Then with one last roar he goes into the refrain from the Battle Hymn of the Republic... Even typing this I have to stop and take it in. Elvis the great contradiction, the womaniser who loses his wife and daughter and goes down like a lead balloon...

Mark Ackerman - Sep 27, 2012

Think Wayne Carson (Thompson) deserves credit as third co-writer of "Always On My Mind" - with Christopher/James. He certainly thought so when I met him in a bar in Nashville. Carson wrote a slew of hits for the Box Tops among others - and my personal favourite Joe Simon's "Nine Pound Steel". GRAHAM REPLIES: Too true, thanks for noting that. He wrote The Letter made famous by the Box Tops and later Joe Cocker. Hat tip to Wayne who should probably be able to own a bar.

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