Last year, Chris Stapleton delivered a breathtaking cover of Willie Nelson’s “Always On My Mind” as part of his star-studded 90th birthday celebration Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90 Live At The Hollywood Bowl.
It was subsequently included on the live album tracklist in December, and I’ve had it on repeat ever since.
There’s no more powerful or potent voice in country music than Chris Stapleton, and his cover of this standard is mind-blowing and amazing… so of course, I am strongly of the mindset that he needs to cut it in the studio. It’s also easily in my top 10 favorite songs of all-time, so I might be a little bit biased, but I don’t think that’s important in this argument.
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. Clearly, he knows how to cover Willie the right way, which is no easy feat and something very unique and special that speaks to who he is as an artist.
“Always On My Mind” is country classic and standard, and hearing Chris cover it live for Willie’s 90th birthday was a treat for me as a huge fan of both of these guys, to say the very least.
Seriously, if this live version doesn’t bring the chills and prove my point, I don’t know what will… here’s to the legendary Willie Nelson (and this being included on Stapleton’s next album):