Mark James, Grammy-Winning 'Hooked on a Feeling' Songwriter, Dead at 83

The songwriter's music was recorded by Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson

<p>Gary Gershoff/Getty</p> Mark James in New York City in June 2014

Gary Gershoff/Getty

Mark James in New York City in June 2014

Mark James, the Grammy-winning songwriter behind hits like "Hooked on a Feeling," "Suspicious Minds" and "Always on My Mind," has died.

The Houston Chronicle reported that he died on Saturday, June 8 at his home in Nashville. He was 83.

“Mark’s legacy and zest for life will live on in the hearts of those who loved him, and through his timeless lyrics and melodies that have been the soundtrack of lovers for generations,” said the family said in a statement, per Variety.

Born Francis Zambon, the Houston native changed his name when he began performing guitar in public since the city's club owners thought he needed a name change. In his hometown, he launched his music career and cut his first single, "Jive Note," in 1959. Eventually, he formed his own project, The Mark James Trio.

<p>Larry Busacca/Getty</p> Mark James in New York City in June 2014

Larry Busacca/Getty

Mark James in New York City in June 2014

Related: Willie Nelson's 8 Children: All About His Sons and Daughters

After serving in Vietnam, he relocated to Memphis where he signed to a music publishing company and established his songwriting career with Houston native B.J. Thomas. He helped pen Thomas' breakout hit "The Eyes of a New York Woman," "It's Only Love," and later, the chart-topping "Hooked On a Feeling," the Swedish group Blue Swede recorded in 1974.

James was also behind Elvis Presley's hit "Suspicious Minds," which was originally released without much fanfare in 1968 but took off the next year when "The King" recorded it. Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter later turned it into a country hit in 1976, and The Fine Young Cannibals made the track a Brit-pop success in 1986. It would also be a soundtrack highlight for Dwight Yoakam in 1992.

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In 1983, James won two Grammys for "Always on My Mind," recorded by Willie Nelson and co-written by Wayne Carson and Johnny Christopher. Before Nelson took it on, Presley had recorded a version of it in 1972, though it didn't take off at the time. However, a rendition by the Pet Shop Boys in 1987 helped it surge in popularity. In 2008, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

<p>Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty</p> Karen Zambon and husband Mark James in Hollywood in July 2014

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Karen Zambon and husband Mark James in Hollywood in July 2014

Related: Elvis Presley's Death: The Details Behind the King of Rock 'n' Roll's Passing

James was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014. He was also inducted into the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame, the New York Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In his later years, the songwriter became more focused on film scoring. His songs have also been heard on soundtracks for films like Practical Magic, Reservoir Dogs, Honeymoon in Vegas, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Frequency and Guardians of the Galaxy.

The prolific songwriter is survived by his wife of 53 years, Karen Zambon; his daughters Sammie and Dana Zambon; grandchildren and extended family.

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