Very sorry to hear about Wayne Carson who passed away on July 20th. Great multi-talented writer and musician. The story below is from USA Today:
Wayne Carson, a songwriter known for penning the Willie Nelson smash Always on My Mind and the Box Tops/Joe Cocker hit The Letter, died early Monday morning. He was 72.
Carson's wife, Wendy Harp Head, confirmed the songwriter's death to The Springfield News-Leader. Carson had suffered from various health issues and had been in hospice care for the past month.
Born in Colorado to musicians who performed under the stage names "Shorty & Sue," Carson grew up around music and began playing guitar at age 14 after hearing finger-picking great Merle Travis on record. He got his first big cut when Eddy Arnold recorded Somebody Like Me and took it to the top of the country charts in 1966.
The following year, Memphis rock group the Box Tops had a No. 1 pop hit with Carson's The Letter, a song Carson said was inspired by several pages of lyrics sent him by his father, one of which contained the word "airplane" spelled as "aero-plane." From that, Carson's wrote the song's memorable first line, "Give me a ticket for an aero-plane." The song was also a top 10 pop hit for Cocker and Leon Russell in 1970.
The Box Tops had two other top-40 successes with Carson tunes, Neon Rainbow and Soul Deep.
Carson's biggest success came with Always on My Mind. The song had been recorded by Brenda Lee in 1972 and later covered by Elvis Presley. But Willie Nelsons 1982 version topped both the pop and the country charts, winning Carson Grammys for song of the year and best country song. Nelson's version proved so popular that Always on My Mind was named the Country Music Association's song of the year in both 1982 and 1983, leading the organization to change its voting procedures so that a song could win the award only once.
RIP Wayne Carson. My close friend and brother. One of the great writers. Was loved by all and will be missed. BJ
— BJ Thomas (@TheBJThomas) July 20, 2015
.RIP Wayne Carson, such great writing, sung by one of the very best. https://t.co/GvOhwnrodm
— Duane Eddy (@DuaneEddy) July 20, 2015
Carson's other significant country credits include Mel Tillis' Who's Julie, Gary Stewart's She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles) and Conway Twitty's I See the Want To in Your Eyes. A 1997 inductee into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1997, he also had his songs recorded by B.J. Thomas, Waylon Jennings, Tina Turner, the Pet Shop Boys, Randy Travis, Shelby Lynne and many others.
More biographical info about Wayne is available from his personal web site. He will be missed.