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In 1987, Pet Shop Boys performed a version of "Always on My Mind" on Love Me Tender, an ITV network television special commemorating the tenth anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, in which various popular contemporary acts performed cover versions of his hits. Their performance was so well-received that the group decided to record the song and release it as a single. This version became the U.K.'s Christmas number one single that year, beating "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, and topping the charts for four weeks in total. It also reached number one in Germany in 1988, and peaked at number four in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 the same year, becoming the duo's fifth and last Top 10 hit there.

In November 2004, The Daily Telegraph newspaper placed the version at number two in a list of the fifty greatest cover versions of all time.

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