Mark James, songwriting icon, dies in Nashville at 83

Mark James wrote famous songs like 'Always on My Mind' and 'Hooked on a Feeling'

By Web Desk
June 13, 2024
Mark James, songwriting icon, dies in Nashville at 83

Mark James, a renowned songwriter, known for penning iconic hits like Hooked on a Feeling, Suspicious Minds, and Always on My Mind, has passed away at the age of 83.

James, a Grammy winner and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee died on June 8 at his home in Nashville, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.


“Mark’s legacy and zest for life will live on in the hearts of those who loved him, and through his timeless lyrics and melodies that have been the soundtrack of lovers for generations,” his family said via statement.

James shared two Grammy Awards in 1963 for co-writing the hit song Always on My Mindwith Wayne Carson and Johnny Christopher.

First written for Elvis Presley, the song went on to win both Song of the Year and Country Song of the Year.

While Presley's 1972 rendition was not very popular, Willie Nelson's 1982 rendition shot the song to international stardom, and the Pet Shop Boys' successful rendition also followed.

Due to the song's ongoing popularity, the Grammy Hall of Fame inducted it in 2008.

James was the son of an Italian contractor and a teacher. He was born Francis Zambon in Houston, Texas, in 1940.

Since he saw so many films as a child, he became interested in storytelling after learning that "a great story can be told again and again."

He changed his name from Francis Zambon early on because he was originally pursuing a career as a singer and Houston club owners apparently didn't think it appealing.

With this name change, he officially started his career as the well-known songwriter Mark James.