"Always on My Mind" is an American country music song by Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson, recorded first by Gwen McCrae (as "You Were Always On My Mind") and Brenda Lee in 1972.
Wayne Carson said that he wrote the song in 10 minutes at his home in Springfield at his kitchen table and completed the song in studio with the assistance of Johnny and Mark.
Carson, who had the song about a year and one day, was finishing a recording session. Producer Chips Moman asked about recording "that mind" song, but added it would need a bridge. Wayne went upstairs to the studios old piano, where he was trying to work out a bridge, when Johnny and Mark walked in the door, and he asked for their help to complete his song.
The trio felt that the song was finished and at first could not get anything to add, but Wayne explained that Moman was insisting that a bridge be added. So between them, the two-line bridge was created.
In 1987, Pet Shop Boys performed a synthpop version of "Always on My Mind" on Love Me Tender, an ITV network UK television special commemorating the tenth anniversary of Presley's death, in which various popular contemporary acts performed cover versions of his hits. Their performance was so well-received that the duo decided to record the song and release it as a single. This version became the UK's Christmas number one single that year, topping the charts for four weeks in total, and reached number four on the US Billboard Hot 100.
The Pet Shop Boys version introduces a harmonic variation not present in the original version. In the original the ending phrase "always on my mind" is sung to a IV-V7-I cadence (C-D7-G). The Pet Shop Boys extend this cadence by adding two further chords: C-D7-Gm7/B♭-C-G (i.e. a progression of IV-V7-IIIb-IV-I).
In November 2004, The Daily Telegraph newspaper placed the version at number two in a list of the fifty greatest 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.