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Best Cover Songs 1 - Always on My Mind

Updated on February 20, 2019
Docmo profile image

Mohan is a family physician, film and TV aficionado, a keen bibliophile and an eclectic scribbler.

Cover Versions

There are some songs that never die. They are born and reborn through the mouths of various artistes, through their musical reinterpretations, throughout time.Each generation believes that the song is new. Such is the freshness of the lyrics and the emotion contained within.

You only have to Google the song title to see how many people believe it to be the work of one artiste or the other, never quiet tracking the lineage and the rich heritage of the song.

Whichever decade you were born, whichever musical genre you favour, there is no denying the power of a good song.

In this series I want to honour those rich lyrical treasures; those songs that transcend time and fashion. They keep reverberating in our tympani, melt like liquid gold into our hearts and evoke an emotion that is unique to each of us.

Brenda Lee -1972 Single
Brenda Lee -1972 Single

# 1 : Always on My Mind

Maybe I didn't treat you
Quite as good as I should have
Maybe I didn't love you
Quite as often as I could have
Little things I should have said & done
I just never took the time

Simple yet magical. There are no metaphorical excursions or elegiac word play. The words mean exactly what they mean. But boy, what they mean is so profound and unequivocally heart rending.

This simple Country song was written by Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson Thompson and was recorded by American Singer Brenda Lee who was restablishing herself as a country singer in the seventies. The original recording failed to spark a reaction and had stalled at Billboard charts # 45.

Elvis Presley - 1972 single
Elvis Presley - 1972 single

Along Came the King

But you were always on my mind

You were always on my mind

Maybe I didn't hold you
All those lonely, lonely times
And I guess I never told you
I'm so happy that you're mine
If I made you feel second best
Girl, I'm sorry I was blind

Then the King came along. With his unique vocals, his ability to wring every emotion out of such a ditty, Elvis Presley re-recorded this song as a ‘B’ side with his single Separate Ways in March 29, 1972. A hit was born.

It got excellent radio play and the airwaves were rich with emotion. Strangely, the single Separate ways was listed as the hit on the Billboard charts in the November of ’72 with always on my mind as the ‘B’ side also ran. (Although in the UK it was the other way around with Always on my mind the hit single)

Willie Nelson- !982 Single
Willie Nelson- !982 Single

The Sage of Sage Brush

You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

Tell me, tell me that your
Sweet love hasn't died
Give me, give me one more chance
To keep you satisfied

You’d have thought the King made it his own and that was that. But along comes the wise old sage of the Country and Western, Willie Nelson. Willie recorded the song and released it early 1982. His rich vocals, unflashy rendition and the soulful heart won over the listeners. The song went all the way to the top, making it the number one single and staying charts for 21 weeks.

The song became a much celebrated hit for Wilie, winning him the Grammy for Best male country vocal. It also won the Song of the year. Not bad for our Willie. The song was also recognised by the Country Music

Pet Shop Boys- Single 1987
Pet Shop Boys- Single 1987

Boys Pop the Shop

Little things I should have said & done

I just never took the time

You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

In 1987, the Pet Shop Boys originally performed their Electropop version of this song as a tribute to Elvis on an ITV program called Love me Tender in the UK. The song was so popular with the viewers of the programme they decided to release it as a single. Wise decision as the single went straight to number 1 at Christmas and became the best ever single for Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe.

Their version added subtle variations and pop sensibilities which captured a brand new audience for those wonderful lyrics. It became one of their international hits.

Buble blows like a breeze

The Official number of covers for this wonderful tune runs in the region of 300. There are many artists who have covered this. One of the newer versions has been performed by that soulful Canadian Crooner, Michael Buble.

Buble vocals lift this melody to even higher heights. However, each singer(s) make this their own. Such is the malleability of this musical marvel. His mellifluous voice just oozes love and emotion that will melt many a heart.

French Fancy

It doesn't even lose its flavour in translation. French Singer Mirelle Matthieu recorded her version of this song called 'Tu n' as pas quitte mon couer'

One can say even in a foreign language, the melody and the emotion are unmistakably divine.

Bon Jovi has done this live. As did Shakira in a recent Grammy ceremony. I must admit the Shakira version did not endear itself to me at all. It was terrible.

The song even featured in a video game called Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. IT was sung by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn an artiste who did many songs for the original soundtrack for the game series.

There are many more versions of the song but I am sure you'll agree that the ones chosen here stand the test of time. Kudos to those lyric writers and the musicians that brought this song alive. I find the song evergreen, always stopping me in my tracks, making me feel the music in my bones and melting the words in my heart.

Tu n'as pas quitte mon couer indeed.

As it is appropriately titled, it is always on my mind.

Always on My Mind Poll

Now Vote for the version you like the Most

See results

Thank You!

Thank you for your time and hope you enjoyed this hub.

Please leave some comments below as it is nice to know what you think. If you like this and think others will too, do share on Facebook and Twitter or other sites using the buttons below and don't forget to vote !

Do visit often and read the other hubs if you like the writing. There's plenty to entertain you!

Thank you!


Copyright © Mohan Kumar 2011


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    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      I really like the angle you took on this, Docmo, taking one song and presenting various artists and the history. I was all set to hit that 'Willie Nelson' button, but I really enjoyed the French version. Rated up/A

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 

      7 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      It's a great song, no matter who sings it. Willie's my favorite though, as that's my era and I was a rabid Willie fan when it came out.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 

      7 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Mohan (Docmo),

      This is such a great series, a very clever idea. It's a tough choice for me, but I think my favorite cover is Willie Nelson's.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      8 years ago from New York, New York

      Can't help it and maybe it is because I am and will always be a huge Elvis fan, but his version is the one I think of when I think of this song. But have to tell you so very much enjoyed this hub article on all the different and varying covers of this song. I of course have voted, shared and tweeted too!!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      8 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      The Willie Nelson rendition has me in puddles every time, Mohan.

      Very well done... simply magical! Voted UP & UABI. Hugs, Maria

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      8 years ago from New York

      What a fitting song for you to pick because here in Hubville you are always on people's mind! Talk about mellifluous...that's how your hubs flow as well. Voted up, useful for all the great information, and awesome as always!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for putting a link to this on the music page, Docmo! Much appreciated :)

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 

      9 years ago

      Wonderful hub to read this morning..I love the oldies so much...but the newer one of the bunch is one I love would be...Michael Buble. Thanks for writing a great hub.


    • Gypsy48 profile image


      9 years ago

      Fantastic hub! One of my favorite songs. When I hear Elvis sing it, I stop what I am doing and just listen, he does it so beautifully.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      9 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Docmo, This is wonderful!! Music is a passion i've had my entire life. I love all the artist you'e featured here, esp' Elvis and Willie. Rated up and awesome.

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      9 years ago from UK

      @ hey drbj, a lovely song deserves a loving examination. I am torn between Willie and Buble as I love both their vocals. But you're right Buble may actually have an edge! Thank you.

      @lynda - thanks for dropping by.. not a bad song to be stuck with eh? ;-)

      @Martie... oh I wish I could come and listen. (as long as you promise that bright, sunny smile on your pic will stay as you play)thank you.

      @Jaye... well, what with Martie playing the piano and you singing, we have a right little party going. All we need is some chilled wine and a cosy lounge. thanks for reading.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      9 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Hi, Docmo...Thanks for featuring one of my all-time favorite songs, ALWAYS ON MY MIND, on your hub. Back in the days when my voice "worked", I loved to sing that song, but I can still play it on my keyboard and enjoy that very much. In fact, I think I'll go play it now!


    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      ‘Always On My Mind’ is one of my favorite songs. Until now I thought it was Elvis’s song! So this is truly an enlightening, well-presented hub, Docmo. Take a bow from me.

      I’ve got the sheetmusic, so I’m going to enjoy playing the song on the piano for the next couple of days, all over hooked again just because you’d published this hub!

    • lmmartin profile image


      9 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Of course now the song is stuck in my head and will haunt me all day long. Lynda

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      What a loving examination, Mohan, of an unforgettable song with more than meaningful lyrics. Each artist put an unmistakable stamp on his or her version. Which do I favor the most? Michael Buble's.

      Thanks for this walk down Memory Lane. Rated up, naturally.

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      9 years ago from UK

      @Willstarr - I am humbled and grateful, my friend!

    • Docmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Mohan Kumar 

      9 years ago from UK

      @ Epi - thank you for loving my efforts. It does mean a lot. You are a consummate appreciator of good work and you don't shy from giving such positive feedback, my friend. Thank you!

      @dahoglund - Willie's version certainly is the more memorable especially since he charted so high with it as well.

      @Susan, Thank you for stopping by and glad you enjoyed these musical excursions... Willie gets my vote too although Buble comes a close second.

      @Claire - glad you liked it. It is a wonderful song that has lived long and will do for many more years. Thanks for sharing.

      @Twilightlawns- appreciate the visit. It does move me much too. And it's my favourite Karaoke track ( if non one's listening!)

    • WillStarr profile image


      9 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      You are the best of the best at this splendid sort of work, Docmo!

      Up and awesome.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 

      9 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Thank you for a great hub. This has always been a song that has wrung tears out of me for many, many reasons.

    • Clairepeek profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi Docmo!

      Did not need to 'google' the title of the hub to have the song stuck in my mind... It is incredible how words live on through time, get richer and can still be hummed by all generations. Liked your hub very much, will share for sure ^_^

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Docmo, I so enjoy your hubs and all the work that you put into them. Up and awesome on this one.

      I voted for Willie :)

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      All the way through I was trying to place who I associated this song with. I think it was Willie Nelson.

    • epigramman profile image


      9 years ago

      ...I always love your hubs my friend - they are definitely among the best of the best here at HUBLAND and I will post this to my Facebook with a direct link back here - you always do such a pasionate, heartfelt and world class job and I am so proud of you for that.

      Hope you are having a nice summer thus far - lake erie time here on a Wednesday 3:34pm


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