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Mark James dead at 83: Legendary songwriter behind Elvis hits Suspicious Minds and Always On My Mind passes away in Nashville


Legendary songwriter Mark James has died at the age of 83.

James, who wrote Elvis Presley’s megahit Suspicious Minds, died on June 8 in his Nashville home, his family said.

The Grammy winner’s cause of death has not been revealed. 

James’ family told the Houston Chronicle: ‘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.’

Legendary songwriter Mark James has died at the age of 83 in Nashville

Legendary songwriter Mark James has died at the age of 83 in Nashville 

One of the most successful songwriters of the 20th century, James’s songs have been featured in films such as Reservoir Dogs and Guardians of the Galaxy. 

He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014.

James was also behind the songs Always on My Mind and Hooked on a Feeling – both cited as on BMI’s list of the 100 greatest songs of the 20th century, alongside Suspicious Minds.

BMI also named him one of the top songwriters of the 20th century in 2000, alongside Elton John and Paul McCartney.

The musician won the Grammy twice in 1983 for Always on My mind, taking home the Song of the Year and Country Song of the Year awards after being recorded by Willie Nelson, as reported by Variety.

James was also behind the songs Always on My Mind and Hooked on a Feeling - both cited as on BMI's list of the 100 greatest songs of the 20th century, alongside Suspicious Minds

James was also behind the songs Always on My Mind and Hooked on a Feeling – both cited as on BMI’s list of the 100 greatest songs of the 20th century, alongside Suspicious Minds

One of the most successful songwriters of the 20th century, James's songs have been featured in films like Guardians of the Galaxy. He is seen in 2014 with his wife Karen

One of the most successful songwriters of the 20th century, James’s songs have been featured in films like Guardians of the Galaxy. He is seen in 2014 with his wife Karen

The song was previously recorded by Elvis in 1972 but that version was not a major hit until much later. 

Born Francis Rodney Cambon, James was originally from Houston, Texas, where he launched his music career. 

He relocated to Memphis after returning from serving in Vietnam and his first hit in 1968, The Eyes of a New York Woman, which was followed the next year by Hooked on a Feeling and ‘It’s Only Love in 1969.

James worked as a singer as he grew his songwriter career, and recorded Suspicious Minds in 1968. 

But it wasn’t until 1969, when Presley recorded the song that it became a number one hit.

James is survived by his wife of 53 years, Karen Zambon, his daughters Sammie and Dana Zambon and his grandchildren. 





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