It's All in the Game (song)

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"It's All in the Game"
Single by Tommy Edwards
B-side "Please Love Me Forever"
Released 1958
Genre Pop
Length 2:36
Label MGM
Writer(s) Carl Sigman, Charles Dawes
Tommy Edwards singles chronology
"It's All in the Game"
(1958)
"Love Is All We Need"
(1958)

"It's All in the Game" was a 1958 hit for Tommy Edwards. Carl Sigman composed the lyrics in 1951 to a wordless 1911 composition entitled "Melody in A Major," written by Charles Dawes, later Vice President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge. It is the only No. 1 pop single to have been co-written by a U.S. Vice President[1] or winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The song has become a pop standard, with cover versions by dozens of artists, some of which have been minor hit singles.

Edwards' song ranked at No. 38 on Billboard's All Time Top 100.[2]

Melody in A Major[edit]

Dawes, a Chicago bank president and amateur pianist and flautist, composed the tune in 1911[3] in a single sitting at his lakeshore home in Evanston. 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.[4] 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.[5]

"It's All in the Game"[edit]

In summer 1951, the 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. It was recorded that year by Dinah Shore, Sammy Kaye, Carmen Cavallaro, and Edwards.[5] The Edwards version had most success, reaching No. 18 on the Billboard Best Sellers In Stores survey.[6] The range of the melody would have been "difficult to sing", so required rearrangement.[7] A jazz arrangement was recorded by Louis Armstrong (vocals) and arranger Gordon Jenkins, with "some of Armstrong's most honey-tinged singing." Jenkins would in 1956 produce a version with Nat King Cole along the same lines.[8]

In 1958, Edwards had only one session left on his MGM contract. Stereo recording was becoming viable and it was decided to cut a stereo version of "Game" with a rock and roll arrangement. The single was a hit, reaching number one for six weeks beginning September 29, 1958, and would be the last song to hit number 1 on the R&B Best Seller list.[9] In November, the song hit No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart.[1] The single helped Edwards revive his career for another two years.[6]

In 1999, Edwards' stereo version was featured in the movie October Sky, based on the book Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam Jr. Hickam said it was his favorite song in high school, and insisted it be used in the picture. It was also featured in Barry Levinson's Diner (1982) and the 1985 film Mischief.

Recordings[edit]

"It's All in the Game" has been recorded by different artists. Other notable versions include:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. pp. 39–40. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  2. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs (40-31)". Billboard. 2008-09-20. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  3. ^ Publication date is 1912.
  4. ^ Bill Kauffman (June 2004). "The Melodious Veep". The American Enterprise. Archived from the original on 2006-07-21. Retrieved 2006-08-10. 
  5. ^ a b "Veep's Waltz". TIME Magazine. December 17, 1951. Retrieved 2006-08-21. 
  6. ^ a b Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (3rd ed.). Billboard Books. 
  7. ^ "Carl Sigman's Legacy... (interview with his son)". Pianoforte Magazine. Retrieved 2006-08-21. 
  8. ^ Will Friedwald (June 6, 2001). "The Old Songster". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2006-08-21. 
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 183. 
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 212. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Hot Country Songs 1944–2012. Record Research, Inc. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-89820-203-8. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Volare"
by Domenico Modugno
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
29 September 1958 (six weeks)
Succeeded by
"It's Only Make Believe"
by Conway Twitty