Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Tue May 18, 2010 3:48 am

Inspired by Brian.

Besides songwriter Mark James and his hits for Elvis ("Suspicious Minds," "Moody Blue") and B.J. Thomas ("Hooked On A Feeling," "It's Only Love"), what else do we know?

Well, Mark James is his professional name, on stage and in the studio.


Image


He was born in Houston as Francis Zamboni, shortened to Francis Zambon when he listed the name as the songwriter on his 1968 Scepter single of "Suspicious Minds."

That cut of "Suspicious Minds" came before Elvis, in 1968 at American Sound in Memphis with the same musicians and the same producer, Chips Moman, behind the glass.


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Mark James - "Suspicious Minds" (Scepter 12221, 1968)


And B.J. Thomas apparently took this rhythm track and cut a new vocal on top for his cover of the song.

James is affiliated with the BMI performing rights organization. He started professionally writing, in Memphis at Chips Moman's request, for Press Music, and later moved to New York became a staff writer at Screen Gems-Columbia Music. He also produced and did some recording.

A repertoire search of the BMI website reveals "230 work titles," as noted above. Some are album tracks for artists like B.J. Thomas, others may well be tracks awaiting an artist.

Click here --> Songwriter/Composer: JAMES MARK

Besides the hits already spoken of, Mark scored with:

Sunday Sunrise - Brenda Lee
One Hell Of A Woman - Mac Davis (co-written with Davis)

"Always On My Mind," a collaboration with John Christopher and Wayne Carson Thompson, is his greatest success.

It's amazing how many people have covered this one, two had major hits.

A sample:

David Axelrod
Big Daddy
Ruth Brown
Michael Bublé
Sonny Charles
Floyd Cramer
Fantasia
James Galway
Julio Iglesias
James Last
Brenda Lee
Anne Murray
Willie Nelson
Pet Shop Boys

Elvis Presley
Stylistics
Roger Whittaker


Enjoy.

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Tue May 18, 2010 4:58 am

A favorite of mine is Eyes of a New York Woman.

I played in a softball game with him once. Very friendly.

Whenever GK would introduce him, hed say mark was a "child prodigy."

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Tue May 18, 2010 5:37 am

elvisjock wrote:A favorite of mine is Eyes of a New York Woman.

I played in a softball game with him once. Very friendly.

Whenever GK would introduce him, hed say mark was a "child prodigy."

Apparently so -- it's cool to learn he's a nice guy.

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Tue May 18, 2010 5:38 am

My proofreader has Mondays off.

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Tue May 18, 2010 5:43 am

elvisjock wrote:My proofreader has Mondays off.

Not sure what you mean, but James began studying both pop and classical music at the age of eight, and playing the violin.
When adolescence hit, he changed to guitar -- what a surprise!

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Tue May 18, 2010 5:53 am

Thanks for the info and link Doc

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Tue May 18, 2010 6:04 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
elvisjock wrote:My proofreader has Mondays off.

Not sure what you mean, but James began studying both pop and classical music at the age of eight, and playing the violin.
When adolescence hit, he changed to guitar -- what a surprise!


Reminds me of the lyrics to "Raised On Rock", a Mark James penned song.

I remember as a child I used to hear
Music that they played Lord with a feel'
Some call it folk, some call it soul
People let me tell you it was rock and roll

I was raised on rock, I got rhythm in my soul
Every day when I got home I turned on my radio

Listening to the music that my idols made
I knew every single record the DJ's played
A honky tonk a Hound Dog, a Johnny B. Goode
Chain Gang, Love Is Strange, Knock On Wood

I was raised on rock, I got rhythm in my soul
I was born to love the beat I was made for rock and roll

I thought it was a fad, thought that it would pass
But the younger generation knew it would last
Time's gone by, the beat goes on
But every time I hear it Lord it takes me home

I was raised on rock, I got rhythm in my soul
Every day when I got home I turned on my radio

Mother played recordings of Beethoven's Fifth
Mozart's sonatas down the classical Liszt
My papa loved to listen to his country songs
While I was in the back room rockin' on


I was raised on rock, I got rhythm in my soul
I was born to love the beat I was made for rock and roll

I was raised on rock, I got rhythm in my soul
I was born to love the beat I was made for rock and roll
I was raised on rock, I got rhythm in my soul

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Tue May 18, 2010 9:05 am

Daryl wrote:Listening to the music that my idols made
I knew every single record the DJ's played
A honky tonk a Hound Dog, a Johnny B. Goode
Chain Gang, Love Is Strange, Knock On Wood

"Honky Tonk" was the #1 R&B hit of 1956, as recorded by Bill Doggett. It also hit #2 on the pop charts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honky_Tonk_(song)

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Tue May 18, 2010 9:06 am

I wish someone had recorded ''Disco ryder''and ''Color my rainbow''

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Tue May 18, 2010 5:45 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
elvisjock wrote:My proofreader has Mondays off.

Not sure what you mean, but James began studying both pop and classical music at the age of eight, and playing the violin.
When adolescence hit, he changed to guitar -- what a surprise!


I was typing while falling asleep, and didn't proofread my messy post.

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Tue May 18, 2010 7:52 pm

I also like Mark's tribute song, Blue Suede Heaven, especially as performed by Terry Mike Jeffery.

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Tue May 18, 2010 9:12 pm

rickeap wrote:Thanks for the info and link Doc

My pleasure!

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Wed May 19, 2010 3:24 am

Here vis the original discussion strated by Brian

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=53098


Why the Doc feels the need to repeat himself is a mystery............this should have stayed where it belonged.........in the off topic section.

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:07 pm

In just posted this on the "Off topic" section (before I saw this thread), where it was indicated that the original Mark James lyrics for "Raised on rock" included the line "in the backroom digging the Stones" and that Elvis changed this to "rockin' on"?

Elvis' version was released the year before the mentioned Helen Reddy and Johnny Winter versions (with the Stones reference). So I would guess that Elvis could be singing the original lyric. Anybody who knows?

Was Elvis the first artist to record this song? Who else was Mark James pitching it to?

I guess the lyrics made sense for Mark James by listing the records that inspired him:
"Honky Tonk" (Bill Doggett 1956)
"Hound Dog" (obviously referring to Elvis' 1956 version)
"Johnny B. Goode" (Chuck Berry 1958)
"Chain Gang" (Sam Cooke 1960)
"Love is Strange" (Mickey & Sylvia 1956)
"Knock on Wood" (Eddie Floyd 1966)

But for Elvis, this is ridiculous! (with or without the Stones in the lyric). Must be Elvis' worst ever single!!!
Very strange that he even picked this song to record. (But not many worthwhile songs were recorded at the July 73 Stax sessions except for the Tony Joe White songs.)

Wonder if he had any saying in selecting this as a single release...


Regards,
Tom Ogland
from Norway

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:13 pm

On the demo - available on Disc 2 from "Writing For The King" - Mark James sings "While I was in the backroom digging the Stones." So Elvis must have changed the line because he disliked The Rolling Stones (probably an understatement).

tomogland wrote:But for Elvis, this is ridiculous! (with or without the Stones in the lyric). Must be Elvis' worst ever single!!!

I agree

Edit: ...although I hate Kissin' Cousins, Life and Do The Clam equally.
Last edited by daviddoelen on Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:24 pm

daviddoelen wrote:
tomogland wrote:But for Elvis, this is ridiculous! (with or without the Stones in the lyric). Must be Elvis' worst ever single!!!

I agree.


Strongly disagree. Only Elvis very singing could have been much better.

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:34 pm

Off-topic: Elvis shouldn't have recorded this song. It mocks (for lack of a better word) Elvis' place in music history. He was raised on blues, country, gospel and pop music which he merged into a new revolutionary style later called rockabilly/rock 'n' roll! :)

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:59 pm

Whether he liked The Stones or not, I still understand him changing the lyric.
The listing of the rock'n'roll/soul singles (from 56-66) sounds corny indeed, but still these were American records I'm sure listened to and enjoyed when they came out. Singing the line "While I was in the backroom digging the Stones" wouldn't suit Elvis whether he liked the Stones or not.

Re: Mark James --> All-American Sound Songwriter

Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:31 pm

tomogland wrote:In just posted this on the "Off topic" section (before I saw this thread), where it was indicated that the original Mark James lyrics for "Raised on rock" included the line "in the backroom digging the Stones" and that Elvis changed this to "rockin' on"?

Elvis' version was released the year before the mentioned Helen Reddy and Johnny Winter versions (with the Stones reference). So I would guess that Elvis could be singing the original lyric. Anybody who knows?

Was Elvis the first artist to record this song? Who else was Mark James pitching it to?

I guess the lyrics made sense for Mark James by listing the records that inspired him:
"Honky Tonk" (Bill Doggett 1956)
"Hound Dog" (obviously referring to Elvis' 1956 version)
"Johnny B. Goode" (Chuck Berry 1958)
"Chain Gang" (Sam Cooke 1960)
"Love is Strange" (Mickey & Sylvia 1956)
"Knock on Wood" (Eddie Floyd 1966)

But for Elvis, this is ridiculous! (with or without the Stones in the lyric). Must be Elvis' worst ever single!!!
Very strange that he even picked this song to record. (But not many worthwhile songs were recorded at the July 73 Stax sessions except for the Tony Joe White songs.)

Wonder if he had any saying in selecting this as a single release...


Regards,
Tom Ogland
from Norway


Yes, I believe Elvis was the first to record this song.

Marty Lacker says he brought this song to Elvis to record.

The original lyrics did include the line about the Rolling Stones but Elvis changed it because he wasn't a fan of them.

I agree the lyrics didn't suit Elvis but sometimes singers do record songs that don't always fit them lyrically.

If you ever noticed almost all of Mark James' best and biggest hit songs were either recorded by Elvis or BJ Thomas.

The song would have suited BJ a lot more than Elvis but oh well.

Wear your ring around my neck
Kissin cousins
Do the clam
Long legged girl
Life

Those songs were all worse singles releases than Raised on Rock.