Always on My Mind (1987) – Pet Shop Boys

I know some musical purists are going to have a bee in their bonnet over my ‘version selection’ of this classic American ballad, but I always liked what The Pet Shop Boys did here with the pronounced synth-pop sound of the 80’s. I normally loathe rebooted cover versions or excerpts of old classics to appease younger audiences as so often occurs these days. But, that 80’s sound which gets chastised so often such as with Bob Dylan’s Empire Burlesque record, is sometimes honed towards a good place that ages well. I think The Pet Shop Boys achieved that here in their rendition of Always on My Mind.

[Verse 1]
Maybe I didn’t treat you
Quite as good as I should
Maybe I didn’t love you
Quite as often as I could

Little things I should have said and done
I never took the time

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

Always on My Mind is a ballad written by Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher, and Mark James, first recorded by Brenda Lee, and first released by Gwen McCrae (as “You Were Always on My Mind“) in March 1972. Elvis Presley’s recording was the first commercially successful version of the song. I remember liking Willie Nelson’s grammy award winning version as well. The Pet Shop Boys‘ interpretation went to UK Number 1 and top 10 in the US.

A TV special in the UK (1987) commemorated the tenth anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death and the programme featured various popular acts of the time performing cover versions of his songs. The Pet Shop Boys’ performance was so well-received that the duo decided to record the song and release it as a single. In November 2004, The Daily Telegraph placed the version at number two in a list of the 50 best cover versions of all time. In October 2014, a public poll compiled by the BBC saw the song voted the all-time best cover version.

1. Always on My Mind – Wikipedia

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Music
11 comments on “Always on My Mind (1987) – Pet Shop Boys
  1. Love, love, love this song! I was a massive Pet Shop Boys fan back then, and loved everything they did. I also love Willie Nelson’s version.

  2. Badfinger (Max) says:

    They made a good 1980s pop song out of it. There were quite a few covers in that decade that wasn’t good…but this was.

    • I think what makes this version stand out is the heavy synth repetition. Otherwise, I would have foregone it.

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        It’s rare that I can take a synth…but it does fit this one.
        I spent the 80s as a young man hating the modern music at that time. Sometimes I did like some but mostly artists who used guitar, bass and drums…like Springsteen, Petty, Dylan, and a few others.

      • I agree.

        By the way tomorrow is Perri time!!

        I was asking Bruce earlier if he’d heard a better modern female contemporary song than this one below:

        I haven’t.

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        Her voice is pure I have to say…she sounds really good.

      • The words are so Cohen, at least up to his level and her manner of delivery and transparency are nothing but exceptional at least to my ears.

      • Max, listen to her sing ‘Blue’. I don’t think I’ve heard Elton John sound more Elton than she does here haha

      • And the words:

        ‘Cause the blue of my mother has always been my color
        The love that I offer is deep and out of tune’

        Who writes that?

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        That is really good! Sorry I got diverted somewhere lol.

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