1001 Songs Challenge,  1970s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #363: Always on My Mind (1972)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…


Elvis Presley – Always on My Mind (1972)

From New York we head back across the US to check in on Elvis Presley. He popped up in the 1950s when he started out and again in the 1960s after a revival of his career. We now join the King in 1972, just five years before his tragic death in 1977. Written by Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson, Always on My Mind was first recorded by B.J. Thomas in 1970 and numerous artists, we’re talking in the hundreds, would also cover the track in the years to come. The definitive version though is considered to be Elvis’ take. 

Always on My Mind is a love song tinged with sadness. Elvis is the narrator who sings of his appreciation for a woman. His way of praising her is to list his own failings, the times he should have been there, the moments he should have said the things she deserved to hear. This song is his testament to how much he loves her and by acknowledging his mistakes he wants to reassure he was always thinking of her even on those days when she may have doubted him. The song sounds like a desperate plea to rescue a relationship with someone who sounds pretty amazing. We don’t find out the outcome sadly but Elvis puts forward a convincing argument for a second chance. 

Elvis Presley had many hits throughout his illustrious career but, for me, Always on My Mind is one of his greatest. The vulnerability of the narrator is harrowing and as he lists the many times he has let his lover down you think he deserves to be alone, but the way he hopes the relationship is still alive adds a level of poignancy to the song. Even as late as 1972, Elvis was still capable of beautiful music. From 1973 onwards his health deteriorated rapidly through heavy drug use, leaving him slurring on stage yet still committing to heavy touring schedules. In the end, it was too much for his body to take and Elvis died in 1977, aged 42. Conflicting conclusions about how he died surfaced but drugs were considered a significant contributing factor. A sad way for a King to pass.


Favourite songs so far:

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)

The Beach Boys – God Only Knows (1966)

The Doors – The End (1967)

The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)

The Kinks – Days (1968)

Derek & The Dominos – Layla (1970)

David Bowie – Life on Mars? (1971)

Rod Stewart – Maggie May (1971)

Elvis Presley – Always on My Mind (1972)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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