Mark James (songwriter)

Last updated
Mark James
Birth nameFrancis Rodney Zambon
Also known asFrancis Zambon
Born1940 (age 7879)
Houston, Texas, United States
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals
Years active1968—
LabelsBell, Scepter, Liberty, Masterfonics
Associated acts Elvis Presley

Mark James (born Francis Rodney Zambon, [1] 1940) is an American songwriter who wrote hits for singers B.J. Thomas, Brenda Lee, and Elvis Presley, most notably Presley's last US number one hit single, "Suspicious Minds." [2]

Brenda Lee American singer and recording artist

Brenda Lee is an American performer and the top-charting solo female vocalist of the 1960s. She sang rockabilly, pop and country music, and had 47 US chart hits during the 1960s, and is ranked fourth in that decade surpassed only by Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Ray Charles. She is known for her 1960 hit "I'm Sorry", and 1958's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", which has become a Christmas standard.

Elvis Presley American singer and actor

Elvis Aaron Presley, also known mononymously as Elvis, was an American singer, musician, and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King".

Suspicious Minds 1969 single by Mark James

"Suspicious Minds" is a 1969 song by Elvis Presley written and first recorded by American songwriter Mark James. The song was recorded by Elvis Presley with producer Chips Moman after James' recording failed commercially, becoming a number one song in 1969, and one of the most notable hits of Presley's career.

Contents

Early life

Mark James was born in Houston, Texas, [2] in 1940. James befriended B.J. Thomas while both were still young. [3]

Houston City in Texas, United States

Houston is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas, fourth most populous city in the United States, as well as the sixth most populous in North America, with an estimated 2018 population of 2,325,502. Located in Southeast Texas near Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, it is the seat of Harris County and the principal city of the Greater Houston metropolitan area, which is the fifth most populous metropolitan statistical area in the United States and the second most populous in Texas after the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, with a population of 6,997,384 in 2018.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, and has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.

Career

1967–1969: Career beginnings and songwriting

By the late 1960s, James was signed as a staff songwriter to Memphis producer Chips Moman’s publishing company, [3] Moman producing Thomas’ versions of "The Eyes Of A New York Woman", "Hooked on a Feeling", and "It's Only Love" from 1968 to 1969 (all of which achieved success). [4]

Memphis, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Memphis is a city located along the Mississippi River in southwestern Shelby County, Tennessee, United States. The 2017 city population was 652,236, making Memphis the largest city on the Mississippi River, the second most populous city in Tennessee, as well as the 25th largest city in the United States. Greater Memphis is the 42nd largest metropolitan area in the United States, with a population of 1,348,260 in 2017. The city is the anchor of West Tennessee and the greater Mid-South region, which includes portions of neighboring Arkansas and Mississippi. Memphis is the seat of Shelby County, the most populous county in Tennessee. As one of the most historic and cultural cities of the southern United States, the city features a wide variety of landscapes and distinct neighborhoods.

Lincoln Wayne "Chips" Moman was an American record producer, guitarist, and Grammy Award-winning songwriter.

Hooked on a Feeling single popularised by B.J. Thomas

"Hooked on a Feeling" is a 1968 pop song written by Mark James and originally performed by B.J. Thomas. Thomas's version featured the sound of the electric sitar, and reached No. 5 in 1969 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has been recorded by many other artists, including Blue Swede, whose version reached No. 1 in the United States in 1974. The Blue Swede version made singer Björn Skifs' "Ooga-Chaka-Ooga-Ooga" intro well known, although it had been used originally by British musician Jonathan King in his 1971 version of the song.

James released his own version of "Suspicious Minds," also produced by Moman, on Scepter Records in 1968, which recording, with more-or-less the same arrangement, eventually became a smash for Elvis Presley in the following year. [5] The song was later listed on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time at 91.

Scepter Records US record label

Scepter Records is an American record company founded in 1959 by Florence Greenberg.

<i>Rolling Stone</i> American magazine focusing on popular culture, based in New York City

Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and music critic Ralph J. Gleason, which became famous for its coverage of rock music, and for political reporting by authors such as Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine broadened and shifted its focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. In recent years, it has resumed its traditional mix of content.

<i>Rolling Stone</i><span class="nowrap" style="padding-left:0.1em;">'</span>s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time Wikimedia list article

"The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" was the cover story of a special issue of Rolling Stone, issue number 963, published in December 2004, a year after the magazine published its list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".

1969–1977: Continued success

In 1973, James' song "Sunday Sunrise" was recorded by American Country singer Brenda Lee. Brenda Lee's version was a huge hit becoming a top ten single on multiple charts in the U.S. In 1975, Canadian musician Anne Murray covered Sunday Sunrise. Elvis Presley continued to record James' songs, "Raised On Rock", "It's Only Love", and "Moody Blue" (the title track to Presley's last studio album). But James' greatest success came with "Always On My Mind," a collaboration with Johnny Christopher and Wayne Carson and issued as a b-side by Presley in 1972.

"Sunday Sunrise" is a song written by Mark James and recorded by Brenda Lee and Anne Murray. Lee's version was a Top Ten U.S. and Canadian Country hit in 1973. Murray's rendition reached #13 on both the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart and the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart in 1975. The song appeared on Murray's 1975 album, Together and was produced by Tom Catalano.

North America Continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as American folk music and blues.

Since 1978: Grammy wins, "Always on My Mind" covers and Mark James Trio

Mark James Trio released the album "She's Gone Away" 1978 Crazy Cajun Records with fellow band members Joey Longoria and Bobby Winder.

A decade after "Always on My Mind" was released, Willie Nelson covered it and it became a huge hit for him. James won a Grammy Award for Song of the Year and Grammy Award for Best Country Song for Nelson's version. [6] The United Kingdom's Pet Shop Boys released a successfully charting version of "Always On My Mind" in 1987 which reached #1 in the UK and #4 in the US. On October 11, 2015, James entered the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Willie Nelson American country music singer-songwriter

Willie Hugh Nelson is an American singer, songwriter, musician, actor, producer, author, poet, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie (1973), combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger (1975) and Stardust (1978), made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music. He was one of the main figures of outlaw country, a subgenre of country music that developed in the late 1960s as a reaction to the conservative restrictions of the Nashville sound. Nelson has acted in over 30 films, co-authored several books, and has been involved in activism for the use of biofuels and the legalization of marijuana.

Cover version later version of a song already established with a different earlier performer

In popular music, a cover version, cover song, revival, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording by someone other than the original artist or composer of a previously recorded, commercially released song.

The Grammy Award for Song of the Year is an honor presented at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards. The Song of the Year award is one of the four most prestigious categories at the awards presented annually since the 1st Grammy Awards in 1959. According to the 54th Grammy Awards description guide, the award is presented:

to honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position.

Awards

Grammy Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1983"Always on My Mind" Grammy Award for Song of the Year Won
1983"Always on My Mind" Grammy Award for Best Country Song Won

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References

  1. Edwards, Joe (September 22, 1985). "Nashville Sound: Encouraging Word Spurred Career". The Victoria Advocate . Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  2. 1 2 Jones, Roben (2010-02-01). Memphis Boys: the Story of American Studios. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 19. ISBN   978-1-60473-401-0 . Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  3. 1 2 Klein, George; Crisafulli, Chuck (2010-01-05). Elvis: My Best Man: Radio Days, Rock 'n' Roll Nights, and My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley. Crown. p. 194. ISBN   978-0-307-45274-0 . Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  4. Collins, Ace (2005-04-01). Untold Gold: The Stories Behind Elvis's #1 Hits. Chicago Review Press. p. 213. ISBN   978-1-55652-565-0 . Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  5. Creswell, Toby (August 2006). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time and the Artists, Stories and Secrets Behind Them. Da Capo Press. p. 53. ISBN   978-1-56025-915-2 . Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  6. "Country". Billboard. 94 (52): 56. 23 October 1982. ISSN   0006-2510 . Retrieved 22 November 2010.