BMI Remembers Renowned Songwriter Mark James

Posted in News on June 12, 2024

BMI was saddened to learn of the passing of legendary songwriter and longtime affiliate Mark James, who died, last week, at his home in Nashville, TN, at the age of 83.

A prolific writer and gifted multi-instrumentalist from an early age, James’ music career began in the 1960’s in his native Houston, TX, first in that city’s club circuit, and then, following a period of service to his country in Vietnam, in the recording studio. In 1968, two of James’ songs, “The Eyes of a New York Woman” and “Hooked on a Feeling,” were recorded by B.J. Thomas. The latter track would become a hit again when covered by the band Blue Swede in 1974, and, later still, feature prominently in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs in 1992.

1968 also found James writing, recording and releasing a single of his own called “Suspicious Minds.” The following year, that song was re-recorded and sent to the top of the charts by Elvis Presley, kickstarting a relationship that gave Elvis further songs written by James like “Raised on Rock,” “It’s Only Love,” “Moody Blue” and a song James co-wrote called “Always On My Mind.” While Elvis released it as a b-side, the song became a massive GRAMMY-winning hit for Willie Nelson in 1983, and a hit for the Pet Shop Boys in 1987. It is considered one of James’ most beloved works.

Mark James leaves behind an incredible catalog of over 300 original songs, and his music has been featured in numerous blockbuster films. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2022, BMI recognized the magnitude of James’ contributions with multiple Million-Air Awards: 9 million airplays of “Suspicious Minds,” 9 million airplays of “Hooked on a Feeling,” 7 million airplays of “Always On My Mind,” 1 million airplays of “Moody Blue” and 1 million airplays of “The Eyes of a New York Woman.” Collectively, those 27 million airplays (a number that has only grown since 2022) equates to 162 years of continuous, back-to-back play of his music.

He will be greatly missed by his friends, fans and family at BMI.

SOURCENews TAGS Obituary


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