Always On My Mind
In 1982 Willie Nelson opened a new chapter in his career as a master interpreter with Always On My Mind. With understated, almost-invisible production by Chips Moman, the album focuses on pop and soul ballads from the post-rock ‘n’ roll era. Witness Nelson’s unique approach to the show-stopping R&B ballads “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” While these songs typically require a male singer to belt it out, Willie uses a voice that is both sly and restrained — a perfect example of the softer blow making a greater impact. “Always On My Mind” had been a smash just three years earlier for John Wesley Ryles, and before that, for Elvis Presley in 1972. Nonetheless, Nelson repossessed it and made the song completely his. His wistfulness and regretful, heartfelt delivery complemented the song’s dramatic arrangement, and it spent 21 weeks on the charts. It's one of Willie’s career performances, but don’t allow it to overshadow the outstanding “Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning,” which is hidden at the end of the album.