Mark James: Legendary Songwriter Who Penned Elvis Presley Hits 'Suspicious Minds' and 'Hooked on a Feeling' Dies Aged 83

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

Legendary songwriter Mark James, who penned Elvis Presley's all-time hit "Suspicious Minds," has died aged 83. James died on June 8 at his home in Nashville, according to his family. The cause of death has not been revealed. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014.

As one of the most successful songwriters of the 20th century, James' songs have been featured in a large number of films such as "Reservoir Dogs" and "Guardians of the Galaxy." James also wrote "Always on My Mind" and "Hooked on a Feeling," both of which are listed among BMI's 100 greatest songs of the 20th century, along with "Suspicious Minds."

Death of an Icon

Mark James
Mark James X

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."

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

The musician won two Grammys in 1983 for "Always on My Mind," taking home the Song of the Year and Country Song of the Year awards after it was recorded by Willie Nelson, according to Variety.

The song was originally recorded by Elvis in 1972 but it didn't become a major hit until much later.

Once a Star, Always a Star

Mark James
Mark James X

Born Francis Rodney Cambon, James was originally from Houston, Texas, where he began his music career. He moved to Memphis after serving in Vietnam and gave his first hit in 1968 with "The Eyes of a New York Woman," followed by "Hooked on a Feeling" and "It's Only Love" in 1969.

James also worked as a singer while building his songwriting career, recording "Suspicious Minds" in 1968.

"Suspicious Minds," which became one of Presley's signature songs, was initially written by James for his own recording career in the late 1960s.

Inspired by James's feelings for a childhood sweetheart while both were married to other people, the song reflected a "confusing time." James later told the Wall Street Journal that it felt as if "all three of us were caught in this trap that we couldn't walk out of."

In 1969, the song became Presley's final number-one hit, revitalizing his declining career and solidifying his status as the biggest entertainer in Las Vegas until his death eight years later.

"Suspicious Minds" was also covered by Fine Young Cannibals, reaching number eight on the UK charts in 1986.

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