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Country Trivia – Who Originally Recorded ‘Always On My Mind?’

Brenda Lee at the 2002 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction
Getty Images

Every weekday around 11:30am we play Country Trivia on WGNA 107.7FM. Today, we honor a recording made popular by Taste of Country Music Festival star Willie Nelson. However, the iconic good-hearted country hippie wasn’t the first to record ‘Always On My Mind.’

Although hundreds of artists have tackled this masterpiece, a few legends are responsible for the best charting versions. Country Music Hall of Famer Brenda Lee was the first to take the song up the Billboard Country Charts in 1972, for a modest showing at No. 45. Lee is pictured above at her 2002 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The following year, Elvis Presley had a better showing of his version at No. 16, with a gold selling single. Then, in 1982, Willie Nelson recorded what would become the biggest country release of the bittersweet love ballad. Nelson’s recording peaked at No. 1 for two weeks, earned 2 Grammy Awards, and the CMA’s Single of the Year.

Nashville Singer-Songwriter, John Wesley Ryles also charted a Top 20 version of the song in 1979. Ryles was best known for his 1968 country hit ‘Kay.’ The song that just wouldn’t quit also found success on the Mainstream Pop charts thanks to the English duo Pet Shop Boys. The Pet Shop Boys ‘pop-dance’ version of the song hit No. 1 in several different countries, while peaking at No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

The first ever Taste of Country Music Festival is coming to Hunter Mountain for three days of great country music starting on June 13th, 2013. The lineup features Lady Antebellum, Willie Nelson, Billy Currington, Montgomery Gentry,Trace Adkins, Joe Nichols, and many more. Tickets start at $120 and are on sale now

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