Every now and then, I like to take you waaaaaay back in time … some of you weren’t even born yet in 1951 when this song was released by Tommy Edwards, but I remember it well … remember hearing it long after the year 1951, the year of my birth! This song has a unique history, for it is the only #1 single to have been written by a man who would become a U.S. Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate!
Charles Dawes composed the music, titled “Melody in A Major”, back in 1911 before becoming Vice President in 1925 under President Calvin Coolidge! But in 1911 Dawes, then a Chicago bank president and amateur pianist and flautist, composed the tune in a single sitting at his lakeshore home in Evanston, Illinois. He played it for a friend, the violinist Francis MacMillen, who took Dawes’s sheet music to a publisher. Dawes, known for his federal appointments and a United States Senate candidacy, was surprised to find a portrait of himself in a State Street shop window with copies of the tune for sale. Dawes quipped, “I know that I will be the target of my punster friends. They will say that if all the notes in my bank are as bad as my musical ones, they are not worth the paper they were written on.” The tune, often dubbed “Dawes’s Melody”, followed him into politics, and he grew to detest hearing it wherever he appeared. It was a favorite of violinist Fritz Kreisler, who used it as his closing number, and in the 1940s it was picked up by musicians such as Tommy Dorsey.
Then in 1951, songwriter Carl Sigman had an idea for a song, and Dawes’s “Melody” struck him as suitable for his sentimental lyrics. Dawes had died in April of that year, but the song was recorded in 1951 by such notables as Dinah Shore, Sammy Kaye, and Carmen Cavallaro. But, it was Tommy Edwards’ version in 1958 that soared to #1 in both the UK and the U.S. At the time he recorded it, his MGM contract was coming to an end, without Edwards having achieved any great success, but this song helped him revive his musical career for another two years.
It’s All in the Game was also a #24 hit for the Four Tops in 1970, six months after the death of Tommy Edwards. As much as I adore the Four Tops, I have to admit I prefer Edwards’ version of this one, but I will offer both for your listening pleasure!
It’s All in the Game
Many a tear has to fall but it’s all in the game
All in the wonderful game that we know as love
You have words with him and your future’s looking dim
But these things your hearts can rise above
Once in a while he won’t call but it’s all in the game
Soon he’ll be there at your side with a sweet bouquet
And he’ll kiss your lips and caress your waiting fingertips
And your hearts will fly away
with a sweet bouquet
Then he’ll kiss your lips and caress your waiting fingertips
And your hearts will fly away
Songwriters: Carl Sigman / Charles Gates Dawes
It’s All in the Game lyrics © BMG Rights Management