Wayne Carson

Induction Year: 1997

Birth Name: Wayne Carson Thompson

Birth Date: 05-31-1943

Place of Birth: Denver, Colorado

Death Date: 07-20-2015

Place of Death: Nashville, Tennessee

Wayne Carson's parents, Odie and Olivia Thompson, were professional musicians who performed as "Shorty & Sue." When Carson was a boy, they moved to Springfield, Missouri, where Shorty became a member of the Tall Timber Boys on the weekly Ozark Jubilee radio and TV variety program, and on KWTO radio. Carson picked up the guitar at age 14 and began touring in rock & roll bands. He also plays percussion, piano and bass.

Carson first moved to Nashville to make it in the music business in 1962. He was an artist on Decca Records the following year. He then moved back to Springfield to write for Ozark Jubilee producer Si Siman's song publishing company. In 1965, producer Chet Atkins chose Carson's "Somebody Like Me" for Eddy Arnold to record. Arnold phoned the songwriter to ask him to write a third verse for the song, so Carson wrote it on the spot, over the phone. In 1966, it became his first #1 hit.

Equally at home in country, rock & roll, R&B and pop, Wayne Carson has written songs that have been recorded by a wide variety of artists. His co-written "Always on My Mind" won the 1982 Grammy Award as Song of the Year and Country Song of the Year. The Country Music Association also honored "Always on My Mind" with Song of the Year accolades.

He is also the writer of the enduring pop classic "The Letter," which was a #1 pop hit for the Box Tops in 1967. It has since been recorded by more than two dozen artists and been nominated for two Grammy Awards.

As a recording artist, Wayne Carson has issued discs on the Monument, Decca, Elektra, Private Stock, MGM and EMH labels. He has also recorded for his own record company.

"(Don't Let the Sun Set on You) Tulsa"

Waylon Jennings1971 #16 country

"A Horse Called Music"

Willie Nelson1989 
Randy Travis1998 

"Always on My Mind"

(written with Johnny Christopher, Mark James)

Grammy Song of the Year, Grammy Country Song of the Year, CMA Song of the Year 1982 and 1983

Brenda Lee1972 #45 country
Elvis Presley1973 #16 country
John Wesley Ryles1979 #20 country
Willie Nelson1982 #1 country, #2 adult contemporary, #5 pop
Roger Whittaker1982 
Laurindo Almeida1983 
The Pet Shop Boys1988 #4 pop
Floyd Cramer1988 
The Stylistics1991 
Cissy Houston1992 
Little Milton1992 
James Galway1994 
Eddy Arnold1995 
Engelbert Humperdinck1995 
Charlie McCoy1995 
Al Hirt1997 
Johnny Cash1997 
Glenn Yarbrough1997 
The Jordanaires1998 
James Last1998 
Anne Murray2002 
B.B. King2003 
Scotty McCreery2011 

"Barstool Mountain"

(written with Donn Tankersley)

Wayne Carson1977 #82 country
Moe Bandy1979 #9 country

"Calling Mary Names"

Eddy Arnold1967 

"Cover Me"

Sammi Smith1975 #33 country

"Cussin,' Cryin' and Carryin' On"

Ike & Tina Turner1967 

"Do It Again a Little Bit Slower"

Jon & Robin and In Crowd1967 #18 pop
Ricky Wilde1973 

"Drinkin' Thing"

Gary Stewart1974 #10 country

"He's Got More Love in His Little Finger"

Billie Jo Spears1968 #48 country

"I See the Want-To in Your Eyes"

Conway Twitty1974 #1 country
Gary Stewart1974 

"Instant Reaction"

Bruce Channel1968 
Clarence Carter1969 

"Liberated Woman"

John Wesley Ryles1979 #14 country

"Mr. Bus Driver"

Bruce Channel1967 #90 pop

"Neon Rainbow"

The Box Tops1968 #24 pop
Petula Clark1970 
Wayne Carson1972 

"Nine Pound Steel"

(written with Dan Penn)

Joe Simon1967 #19 R&B, #70 pop
Earl Gaines1975 

"No Love at All"

(written with Johnny Christopher)

Lynn Anderson1970 #15 country
Dottie West1971 
B. J. Thomas1971 #4 adult contemporary, #16 pop
Bobbi Martin1971 
Glen Campbell1974 
Jan Gray1980 #80 country
Willie Nelson & Waylon Jenning1983 

"One Year, Two Months and 11 Days"

Wayne Carson1983 #61 country


Sandy Posey1967 
Tracey Ullman1985 

"She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)"

Gary Stewart1975 #1 country
Wade Hayes1998 

"Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets"

(written with Donn Tankersley)

Johnny Paycheck1977 #7 country

"Somebody Like Me"

Eddy Arnold1966 #1 country,#15 adult contemporary,#53 pop
Shirley Bassey1967 

"Something's Wrong in California"

(written with Rodney Lay)

Waylon Jennings1969 #19 country
Vern Gosdin1977 

"Soul Deep"

The Box Tops1969 #18 pop
Clarence Carter1969 
Eddy Arnold1970 #22 country, #28 adult contemporary
Guy Shannon1973 #63 country
Roberta Flack1977 
Tina Turner1979 
Gary U.S. Bonds1982 
The Tams2002 

"That's the Only Way to Say Good Morning"

Ray Price1979 #18 country

"The Clown"

(written with Brenda Barnett, Charlie Chalmers, Sandra Rhodes)

Conway Twitty1982 #1 country

"The Letter"

The Box Tops1967 #1 pop, #30 R&B
Cliff Richard1967 
Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders1967 
Tom Jones1967 
The Tams1968 
The Classics IV1968 
The Ventures1969 
The Arbors1969 #20 pop, #26 adult contemporary
Al Green1970 
Boots Randolph1970 
Joe Cocker & Leon Russell1970 #7 pop
The Rascals1971 
Bobby Darin1974 
Shaun Cassidy1979 
Dionne Warwick1979 
Sammi Smith1979 #27 country
The Beach Boys1983 
Ronnie Reno1983 #76 country
B. B. King1994 
Johnny Rivers2001 
Burrito Deluxe2004 

"Who's Julie"

Mel Tillis1969 #10 country

"You Got What You Wanted"

Ike & Tina Turner1967 

"You Keep Tightening Up on Me"

The Box Tops1970 #92 pop

Wayne Carson

Induction Year: 1997