July 20 - Songwriter Carson Died

Wayne Carson, a songwriter known for penning the Elvis Presley / Willie Nelson classic"Always on My Mind" (co-written with Johnny Christopher and Mark James) and the Box Tops / Joe Cocker hit "The Letter", died early Monday morning. He was 72.

Carson had suffered from various health issues and had been in hospice care for the past month.

Born in Colorado to musicians who performed under the stage names "Shorty & Sue," Carson grew up around music and began playing guitar at age 14 after hearing finger-picking great Merle Travis on record. He got his first big cut when Eddy Arnold recorded Somebody Like Me and took it to the top of the country charts in 1966.

Carson's biggest success came with Always on My Mind. The song had been recorded by Brenda Lee in 1972 and later covered by Elvis Presley. Elvis Presley's 1972 recording of the song was a Top 20 hit, while Willie Nelson's soft, bittersweet recording a decade later would top the country music charts and win three Grammy Awards: Song of the Year, Best Country Song and Best Male Country Vocal Performance. Nelson's version proved so popular that Always on My Mind was named the Country Music Association's song of the year in both 1982 and 1983, leading the organization to change its voting procedures so that a song could win the award only once. Pop group the Pet Shop Boys also found chart success with the song. In total more than 300 versions of the song have been recorded.

(Source: Tennesean / ElvisMatters)

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