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
Songwriter(s) Carl Sigman, Charles G. Dawes
Tommy Edwards singles chronology
"It's All in the Game"
"Love Is All We Need"

"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 titled "Melody in A Major," written by Charles G. Dawes, later Vice President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge. It is the only No. 1 single in the U.S. to have been co-written by a U.S. Vice President[1] or a Nobel Peace Prize laureate (Dawes was both).

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. 47 on the 2018 list of The Hot 100's All-Time Top 600 Songs.[2]

Melody in A Major

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."[citation needed]

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"

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 reached 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/traditional pop 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. Stereophonic sound 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]

"It's All in the Game"
Single by Cliff Richard
Released August 1963 (UK)
Format 7"
Recorded 28 December 1962
Genre Pop
Label Columbia (EMI)
Epic (USA)
Capitol (Canada)
Songwriter(s) Carl Sigman, Charles G. Dawes
Producer(s) Norrie Paramor
Cliff Richard singles chronology
"Lucky Lips"
"It's All in the Game"
"Don't Talk to Him"


"It's All in the Game" has been recorded by many artists, notably Nat King Cole. Other notable versions include:

Personnel for Merle Haggard Version

The Strangers:

  • Roy Nichols - lead guitar
  • Norm Hamlet – steel guitar
  • Tiny Moore – fiddle, mandolin
  • Mark Yeary – keyboards
  • Dennis Hromek - bass
  • Biff Adams - drums
  • Jim Belken – fiddle
  • Don Markham – horns

See also


  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. ^ "Hot 100 turns 60". Billboard. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  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. ^ "Cliff Richard's UK positions". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2014-01-03.
  11. ^ "Cliff Richard's US singles-positions". AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-03-24.
  12. ^ To view Cliff Richard's "It's All in the Game" at number 1, click "It's All in the Game" on this webpage:"CHUM Charts 1963". Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 212.
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Hot Country Songs 1944–2012. Record Research, Inc. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-89820-203-8.
  15. ^ Marsh, Dave (1989). "The 1001 Greatest Singles". Archived from the original on 4 February 2002. Retrieved 12 August 2008.

External links

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