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Mark James, the songwriter behind some of Elvis Presley’s greatest hits, has died. He was 83 years old.

James wrote music beginning in the late 1960s for such country and pop stars as Billy Joe Thomas and Brenda Lee.

Indeed, his songwriting continued for decades as he made contributions that would be covered by such artists as Willie Nelson and the Pet Shop Boys.

However, he would be best known for a pair of smash hits that were performed by Elvis Presley.

In all, James wrote five songs for The King of Rock ‘n Roll, including “Suspicious Minds,” “Always on My Mind,” “Raised on Rock,” “Moody Blue,” and “It’s Only Love.”

But it was the first two that would see the most successful.

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A Couple Of Elvis Presley’s Greatest Hits

The first two songs of those mentioned were also two of Elvis Presley’s greatest hits.

“Suspicious Minds” was written by Mark James and recorded by Elvis in 1969. It became one of Elvis’s most famous songs, reaching number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and earning him a gold record.

It was his 18th and final number one single on that chart. The recording would go on to be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

“Always on My Mind” was also written by James and recorded by Elvis in 1972, shortly after his separation from his wife, Priscilla.

The song later became one of Elvis’s most famous, reaching number 16 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart despite being a B-side release.

Willie Nelson released his own version in early 1982 and it shot to number one on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart that May.

Dozens of performers over the years have recorded their own version of the hit song.

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Mark James’ Success As A Songwriter

James was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014. Additionally, he was named one of BMI’s Songwriters of the Century in 2000.

His songs, including “Hooked on a Feeling” and “It’s Only Love,” have been covered by many artists and continue to be popular today.

Nelson’s version of “Always on My Mind” earned James two Grammy awards.

James is described by the Daily Mail as “one of the most successful songwriters of the 20th century.” No cause of death has been revealed at this time.

He leaves behind his wife of 53 years, Karen Zambon, two daughters, as well as his grandchildren. His family said that “his larger-than-life personality filled any room he was in, and his smile lit it up. “

“He was a captivating storyteller who had the sweetest smile, the most infectious laugh and a twinkle in his eye that never dimmed,” they added.

Rest in peace, Mark James.

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