“Always on My Mind” is a song originally written by Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher, and Mark James. It was first recorded by American singer Brenda Lee in 1972 and later by Elvis Presley in the same year. However, the version by the British electronic music duo Pet Shop Boys, consisting of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, is among the most well-known and celebrated renditions of the song.
Pet Shop Boys released their cover of “Always on My Mind” on November 30, 1987 as a single with “Do I Have To?” on the B-side. The song appeared in the musical film “It Couldn’t Happen Here” based on the music from Pet Shop Boys first two studio albums Please and Actually. Pet Shop Boys’ cover of “Always on My Mind” became a commercial success, reaching high positions on music charts, including #1 in the UK and Canada, and 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. It remains one of their most iconic songs and showcases their ability to transform a classic ballad into a synth-pop masterpiece. In 1988, Pet Shop Boys remixed the song for their third studio album, Introspective, combining it with the acid house track “In My House”.
In the video for Pet Shop Boys’ version of “Always on My Mind” (an excerpt from their surreal music film It Couldn’t Happen Here), Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe are seated in the front of a taxi cab, when an eccentric passenger gets in, played by British actor Joss Ackland.
The song’s impact has endured over the years, and it’s often included in compilations of the best songs of the 1980s. Pet Shop Boys’ interpretation of “Always on My Mind” is a testament to their unique approach to music and their ability to breathe new life into familiar classics.