LAWD have mercy.
While there have been some truly incredible performances over the weekend at Willie Nelson’s two-day birthday celebration, Chris Stapleton’s just might’ve been the best (aside from Willie himself, of course).
Chris took the stage Saturday evening at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles to honor his friend and musical hero with an absolutely stunning performance of “Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning,” and my personal favorite, “Always On My Mind,” and I really don’t even feel like I have the right words to describe how amazing it is.
Of course, “Always On My Mind” is one of the red headed stranger’s signature songs, and was written by Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher and Mark James. It was actually originally recorded by Gwen McCrae as “You Were Always on My Mind” in 1972.
It became the title track to Willie’s 1982 album, and a monster #1 single on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs chart that year.
His 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. More on that HERE.
Chris previously recorded a cover of “Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning” for his second studio album, From A Room: Volume 1, and it has since been certified Gold.
Needless to say, both songs are country classics and standards, and two all-time great sad country songs that easily make my personal top 10 favorites list. Hearing Chris cover these live in honor of Willie’s 90th birthday is a treat for me as a huge fan of both of these guys, to say the very least.
Chris also shared the following post on Instagram, a very sweet tribute to Willie:
“It is one of the great honors of my life to know you & call you a friend. Happy 90th Birthday, Willie!”
After watching him sing it live, I’ve realized that need a studio cover of Chris singing “Always On My Mind” like I need oxygen in my lungs, truly… that part starts around the 4:35 mark, and the video below starts with “Last Thing I Needed,” and is one of the first times I’ve ever seen or heard him sing it live, actually.
It’s probably the best thing you’ve seen in a long, long time…
If this doesn’t bring the chills, I don’t know what will. Here’s to the legendary Willie Nelson:
“Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning”