He wrote “Suspicious Minds”: Songwriter Mark James dies at 83

He wrote “Suspicious Minds”: Songwriter Mark James dies at 83
He wrote “Suspicious Minds”: Songwriter Mark James dies at 83

Songwriter Mark James, who wrote “Suspicious Minds” and “Always on My Mind,” died at his home in Nashville on June 8.

US songwriter Mark James (1940-2024) died last Saturday (June 8) in his home in Nashville, Tennessee. The Texan-born man was 83 years old.

Elvis Presley, Songwriters Hall of Fame, Grammys

The musician wrote for stars such as BJ Thomas (1942-2021), Brenda Lee (79) and Elvis Presley (1935-1977). Among others, hits such as “Suspicious Minds” (1969), “Always on My Mind” (1982) and “Hooked on a Feeling” (1974) were written by him.

In 2014, Mark James was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York City. Broadcast Music Incorporated – BMI for short – named him one of its Songwriters of the Century in 2000 and his three pieces mentioned above were included on the list of the 100 greatest songs of the 20th century.

James won two Grammys, both in 1983 for “Always on My Mind”. He shared these successes with co-writers Wayne Carson and Johnny Christopher. The song, sung by Willie Nelson (91), was named both Song of the Year and Country Song of the Year. Elvis Presley had previously recorded the song, which is still associated with him today, although his 1972 version was not a big hit in the USA because it was released as Elvis’ B-side. A cover version (1987) by the Pet Shop Boys (since 1981) was arguably just as successful internationally as Nelson’s, reaching number one in Germany and Great Britain and number four in the USA. In 2008, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

“Hooked on a Feeling” has been licensed for films many times, from Quentin Tarantino’s (61) “Reservoir Dogs” (1992) to “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014). Nonetheless, “Suspicious Minds” is arguably the most significant song on Mark James’ list, not only for his career, but for Presley’s as well.

In 2021, Sony/ATV Music Publishing announced that it had renewed its contract with James, renewing a deal that began 50 years earlier when he signed with Screen Gems/EMI.

“Soundtrack of the Lovers”

Mark James leaves behind his wife, Karen Zambon, daughters Sammie and Dana Zambon, grandchildren and extended family. A family statement said: “Mark’s legacy and joy for life will live on in the hearts of those who loved him and through his timeless lyrics and melodies that have been the soundtrack of lovers for generations.”

Source: Stern

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