Time for another part of the Pet Shop Boys singles history. It’s cover-time today!
Always On My Mind was originally recorded by Brenda Lee in 1972, but it was Elvis Presley that took the song to chart success in the same year. He reached number 16 on the US Billboard’s Hot Country singles charts, while Brenda Lee only made it to number 45. Ten years later, Willie Nelson re-recorded the song, and his version climbed up to the number 1 spot in the Hot Country charts. It also became Billboards number one country song of 1982 (and remains my favourite version of the song until this day, btw.).
The Pet Shop Boys first performed their version of Always On My Mind in 1987, when various popular contemporary acts performed Elvis Presley covers on a special TV show to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Presley‘s death. Their version was so well-received by the audience that the boys decided to record it as a single. Released shortly before the holidays, their release became the UKs Christmas number one single that year and stayed at the top spot for another three weeks. In 1988, the song also reached number one in Germany, and became the fifth and last Top-10-hit in the US charts, peaking at number four. Initially not included on the album Actually, it was added on a seven-inch single with the Japanese copies of the album.
Some trivia about Always On My Mind:
– Chris Lowe admits that he isn’t a fan of Elvis Presley, and that the only songs he likes are Suspicious Minds and Always On My Mind
– Levi’s used the PSB-version in a commercial in 2004
– also in 2004, the Daily Telegraph placed the song at number two in a list of the fifty greatest cover versions of all time (right behind Jimi Hendrix‘ version of Bob Dylan‘s All Along The Watchtower)
– B.B. King said in the January 2006 issue of Esquire magazine that this was his favourite song; not sure if he meant the PSB version though…
Always On My Mind was covered many times over the past years. Artists include such names as Shakira, Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, Erlend Oye, B.B. King, Ryan Adams and Michael Bublé.
The B-Side to the single was the pretty ballad Do I Have To, and there were of course various remixes. Always On My Mind was re-recorded years later for the release of Introspective, another Pet Shop Boys remix-collection similar to the previous release Disco. The boys wanted to add a spin of the then-fashionable Acid House trend, and Always On My Mind/In My House was the result.
In the music video for Always On My Mind, you can see (and hear) British actor Joss Ackland. The scenes in the video are taken from the Pet Shop Boys‘ movie It Couldn’t Happen Here; initially, the song wasn’t intended to be in the movie, but after the decision to release it as a single, a whole new scene was written for the movie. Listen to the monologue of Ackland at the end of the video… know from which PSB-song it’s taken? 🙂
As always, here are some of the many remixes for Always On My Mind, and the B-Side, too. Enjoy, until next time!
Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind (2008 Deep Factory Private Anthem Mix)
Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind (Julian Mendelsohn Extended Dance Version)
Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind (Phil Harding Mix)
Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind (Prime Cuts Mix)
Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind (Rare Mix)
Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind (7″ Instrumental Version)
Pet Shop Boys – Do I Have To
Always On My Mind video: