Watch: Willie Nelson Performs the Classic ‘Always On My Mind’

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The amazing country music hit, “Always On My Mind,” by Texas Hill Country hero and outlaw country artist Willie Nelson, became a smash hit back in 1982. It was released by Columbia, featured on the album of the same name. At the time of its release, it spent a whirlwind 253 weeks on the charts. However, Nelson wasn’t the first to have recorded the song. He was, however, the first to make it the success that it was. And that version is a soothing comfort we can yet turn to today.

Nelson’s version of the song became a Grammy Award-winner. However, in 1972, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, recorded a version following the separation from his wife, Priscilla. Just prior to that, Gwen McCrae, a renowned soul singer, recorded a studio version. Brenda Lee released her take on it that same year. Yet, to date, no one has left this song’s impressionable mark on its listeners like that of the Red Headed Stranger.

Video: YouTube/Willie Nelson

Shared on Nelson’s own YouTube channel, the video for “Always On My Mind” has been viewed close to 62 million times. Written by Wayne Carson, the meaning behind the song was captured by Jake Brown, a Nashville journalist, who interviewed the writer in an article on with respect to its effect. “…‘Always On My Mind’ happens to be one of those things that, universally, everybody on the planet has been there, you know. And it struck all at one time. Everybody touched base with that one. It was just magic that it was so simple and so right on the button,” he explained. Its meaning was so different to its throngs of fans, yet it had the universal theme of mournful separation.

In all, there have been more than 300 releases of this song recorded by various artists. Nelson’s version not only did well in the United States but charted in a number of other countries around the world as well. In 1991, the single of “Always On My Mind” was certified platinum. Fans of the artist and his outlaw country counterparts would also remember that he performed the song in a duet with the late, great Johnny Cash in 1998 for the release of “VH1 Storytellers: Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson.” The song was also welcomed into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008.