Talk about a classic.
On this day in 1982, Willie Nelson was topping the charts with his 27th studio album Always On My Mind.
The record ultimately became the Billboard #1 country album of the year, spent 22 weeks at the top of the charts, and stayed for a total of 99 weeks on the Billboard Top Country Albums charts in total.
And of course, the title track became one of Willie’s signature songs and biggest hits, peaking at #1 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs chart in 1982.
“Always On My Mind” was written by Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher and Mark James, and originally recorded by Gwen McCrae as “You Were Always on My Mind” in 1972. Elvis Presley has a famous version of his own that was recorded two weeks after his separation from his wife Priscilla in 1972, as well.
Willie’s version secured three wins at the 25th Grammy Awards in 1983, as Wayne, Johnny and Mark won Song of the Year and Best Country Song, and Willie won for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
This version also won CMA awards in two consecutive years, including Song of the Year in 1982 and 1983 for the writers. In 1982, Willie won the CMA for Single of the Year for the track, as well as Album of the Year for the aforementioned Always on My Mind.
I could go on and on about how much I love this record, because every single song is truly great.
From his cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” to his re-recordings of his own songs including “Permanently Lonely” (from his 1969 Good Times album) and “The Party’s Over,” which was originally recorded for The Party’s Over album that was released in 1967, there isn’t a tune you should skip on the whole tracklist.
It even features one of my all-time favorite country songs, “The Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning,” which was also covered by Chris Stapleton for his From A Room: Vol. 1 album.
I feel like today should really be a national holiday of sorts, and I’ll certainly be spinning these today from the one and only Willie Nelson.
“Always On My Mind”
“Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning”
“Bridge Over Troubled Water”