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Obit: Songwriter Wayne Carson (1943-2015)

GUEST,Arkie 21 Jul 15 - 07:16 PM
Janie 21 Jul 15 - 09:26 PM
fat B****rd 22 Jul 15 - 03:42 PM
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Subject: Obit: Wayne Carson
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 21 Jul 15 - 07:16 PM

Just saw on the news a notification of Wayne Carson's passing at the age of 72. Carson was best known as the writer of "Always on My Mind" and "The Letter". But there have been dozens of hits over the past 40 years. Though he was not born in the Ozarks, his connections with Springfiled, Missouri kept drawing him back to the area and we were proud to think of him as a neighbor.   In my opinion, "Always on My Mind" is one of the best songs ever written.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Wayne Carson
From: Janie
Date: 21 Jul 15 - 09:26 PM

From the Tennessean.

'Always on My Mind' writer Wayne Carson dies at 72
Juli Thanki, 11:03 a.m. CDT July 21, 2015
Mr. Carson was a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

(Photo: File / The Tennessean)

Wayne Carson, a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the pen behind classics such as "Always on My Mind" and "The Letter," died early Monday morning. He was 72 and had been suffering from several health problems, including congestive heart failure.

He was born Wayne Carson Head in 1943 in Denver. He was the son of professional musicians Odie and Olivia Head (better known by their stage names, Shorty and Sue Thompson), and began learning the guitar at the age of 14 after being inspired by the music of Merle Travis. He'd later adopt his parents' pseudonymous surname as his own, then drop it, using "Wayne Carson" as his stage name.

In the 1960s, Mr. Carson would travel between Nashville and Springfield, Mo., where he began working with music producer and publisher Si Siman, writing and pitching songs. Eddy Arnold would record Mr. Carson's "Somebody Like Me" and take it to the top of the charts for four weeks in 1966; the song was Mr. Carson's first chart-topper.

One of Mr. Carson's most famous songs, "The Letter," was released in 1967 by Memphis band The Box Tops. The single would sell a million copies, hit No. 1 and go on to be recorded by dozens of artists ranging from Al Green to Sammi Smith.

"Always on My Mind," co-written with Johnny Christopher and Mark James, would become one of popular music's most enduring classics.

Elvis Presley's 1972 recording of the song was a Top 20 hit, while Willie Nelson's soft, bittersweet recording a decade later would top the country music charts and win three Grammy Awards: Song of the Year, Best Country Song and Best Male Country Vocal Performance.

Pop group the Pet Shop Boys also found chart success with the song. In total more than 300 versions of the song have been recorded.

"You hear so many songs that get cut once, they make a lot of money, and then they're gone," said Mr. Carson in a 1997 article in The Tennessean when discussing the song's multiple versions. "You never hear that thing again. I like the kind that hang around, that come back and you say, 'That's still a great song, and that's a great version.' People don't do versions of songs anymore. They're all hand-tooled for this guy, this producer, this sound and da, da, da. They're kind of one-time things."

During the 1970s and '80s, Mr. Carson released a handful of his own records, including "Barstool Mountain" and "1 Year, 2 Months, 11 Days."

Mr. Carson leaves behind a son, Christian, and wife of 17 years, Wyndi Harp Head.

Mr. Carson was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1997 alongside Roger Cook and Hank Thompson. In 2011 the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum saluted Mr. Carson as part of its "Poets and Prophets" series, which honors songwriters who have made significant contributions to the country music canon.

Museum writer/editor Michael Gray, who conducted the "Poets and Prophets" interview, remembers Mr. Carson as "such a delight," a warm and expressive person who wrote songs that resonated with millions of listeners and numerous artists. During one visit to the Carson family home in Franklin, Gray saw that their home computer contained 8,500 recordings of his songs that musicians had recorded over the decades -- and those were just the ones Mr. Carson knew about.

A funeral service will be held at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home in Nashville at a date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Southern Cross Boston Terrier Rescue (

Songs written or co-written by Wayne Carson include:

"Always on My Mind"

"The Letter"

"Neon Rainbow"

"Somebody Like Me"

"A Horse Called Music"

"The Clown"

"Dog Day Afternoon"

"Slide Off Your Satin Sheets"

"Barstool Mountain"

"She's Acting Single (I'm Drinking Doubles)"


"Somebody Like Me"

"Turn Around and Look Again"

"I See the Want To in Your Eyes"

"Nine Pound Steel"

I had no idea he had written so many of these. Thanks for posting, Arkie. Condolences to all who loved him.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Songwriter Wayne Carson (1943-2015)
From: fat B****rd
Date: 22 Jul 15 - 03:42 PM

I used to "do" the Joe Cocker version of The Letter. Great song. RIP Mr. Carson

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