Monday, September 29, 2008

50 years ago: “It’s All in the Game” hit #1

It’s All in the Game

Tommy Edwards

Writer(s): Charles G. Dawes (music), Carl Sigman (lyrics) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: September 15, 1951

Peak: 16 US, 15 CB, 16 HR, 13 RB, 13 UK, 13 CN, 11 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 11.34 video, 10.72 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Charles Gates Dawes was the Vice President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge from 1925 to 1929. He is the only person to achieve that lofty position and write a #1 hit. In 1912, Dawes composed a melody called “Melody in A Major.” Nearly 40 years later, songwriter Carl Sigman, who translated foreign songs and wrote lyrics for existing melodies, BD penned words for it, resulting in the song “It’s All in the Game.” FB The song was recorded in 1951 by Carmen Cavallaro, Sammy Kaye, and Dinah Shore.

The only chart version, however, belonged to Tommy Edwards. He was a black R&B singer/songwriter born in Viriginia in 1922 who had a radio show in the 1940s. He followed his dream to write songs and went to New York in 1950. He got signed to MGM, but more for his singing voice. His first chart entry, “The Morning Side of the Mountain,” reached #24 in 1951. PM The follow-up was “It’s All in the Game.”

In 1951, the song peaked at #18. However, he re-recorded the song as a rock and roll ballad seven years later. “In its day, you could slow-dance to it or jitterbug…You will not hear arrangements like this these days...It [is] layered with counterpoint parts on the strings, and communal voices filling in the gaps…The arrangers’ names weren’t put on the songs…but it was someone who certainly would take no backseat to Nelson Riddle.” BD

The new version hit #1 for six weeks. HT All told, Edwards had 21 chart entries from 1951 to 1960, but the closest he came to matching the success of “Game” was hitting #11 in 1959 with another re-recording – this time of “Please Mr. Sun.”


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Tommy Edwards
  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Pages 243-5.
  • BD Bob Dylan (2022). The Philosophy of Modern Song. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Pages 65-67.
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 146.
  • HT Joel Whitburn (2009). Top Pop Singles 1955-2015. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 278.
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 11/5/2022.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Taylor Swift charted with “Love Story”

Love Story

Taylor Swift

Writer(s): Taylor Swift (see lyrics here)

Released: September 12, 2008

First Charted: September 27, 2008

Peak: 4 US, 11 RR, 16 AC, 3 A40, 12 CW, 2 UK, 4 CN, 12 AU, 12 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 8.0 US, 1.68 UK, 18.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.7 radio, 1245.33 video, 845.33 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

With her debut album, teen singer Taylor Swift became a major country star, landing two songs atop the country charts and another three in the top 10. While setting up a seemingly inevitable sophomore slump, Swift opted instead to conquer the pop world as well. “Everything you need to know about Taylor Swift’s talent is summed up here in four star struck minutes. Wide-eyed innocence served up in slick, perfectly calibrated Nashville pop? We’ll take four million, please.” MX

Swift wrote the song about a love interest but she never had a relationship with him. He was not popular with her friends and family. Swift wrote the song from the perspective of Juliet in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. As she said, “The only people who wanted them to be together were them.” WK She replaced the play’s tragic ending with a happy one – the ending she felt the characters deserved and the one which females hoped for. WK

Paste magazine’s Kate Kiefer said it is impossible not to sing along with the song. WK Slant magazine’s Jonathan Keefe saw the song’s success hinging on its prominent hook while The Boston Globe’s James Reed saw its strength in the songwriting. WK The BBC’s Fraser McAlpine said that the song, “although obvious, a bit dramatic, and probably targeted towards younger audiences, was just lovely and that Swift proved herself a true princess of pop with the song.” WK’s Sean Dooley deemed the song responsible for transitioning Swift from a “fresh-faced star to crossover star.” WK

“Love Story” was only the fifth song to top both the adult contemporary and country charts, following Rascal Flatts’ “What Hurts the Most”, Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance”, Faith Hill’s “Breathe”, and Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One”. SF It became Swift’s best-selling single WK and was once the best-selling country single of all time. WK Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) declared it the Country Song of the Year while it took Video of the Year honors at the CMT Music Awards and the Country Music Association Awards.


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First posted 9/27/2011; last updated 11/6/2022.

Friday, September 26, 2008

100 years ago: “Cuddle Up a Little Closer, Lovey Mine” hit #1

Cuddle Up a Little Closer, Lovey Mine

Ada Jones & Billy Murray

Writer(s): Karl L. Hoschna (music), Otto A. Harbach (lyrics) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: September 12, 1908

Peak: 15 US, 2 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, -- video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The “cuddly come-on” TY2 “Cuddle Up a Little Closer, Lovey Mine” was written for a vaudeville sketch, but the writers never got paid so they opted to use it in The Three Twins, a 1908 operetta. Alice Yorke introduced the song in the Broadway musical. TY2

Otto Harbach, who wrote the lyrics, wrote for nearly 50 musical comedies and operettas, collaborating with such famous composers as George Gerswhin and Jerome Kern, and mentored Oscar Hammerstein II. Among his other famous songs were “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and “Indian Love Call.”

The first charted version of the song was by Ada Jones and Billy Murray. Their version from 1908 reached #1. In 1942, Dick Jurgens put the song back on the charts, hitting #24. The next year, Kay Armen & the Balladiers hit the charts, peaking at #19. Guy Lombardo recorded the song in 1948. In 1951, Doris Day recorded the song for her album On Moonlight Bay, featuring songs from the movie of the same name. Others who have recorded the song include Bing Crosby (1959), Vic Damone (1958), Julie London (1959), and Dean Martin (1958). WK

It was also performed in Coney Island (1943) by Betty Grable, in Moonlight Bay (1951) by Gordon MacRae and Billy Gray, Tall Story (1960) by Jane Fonda and Anthony Perkins, and Everyone Says I Love You (1996) by Billy Crudup and Sanjeev Rambhadran. WK It has also been used in the films The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939), The Birth of the Blues (1941), Is Everybody Happy? (1943), Four Jills in a Jeep (1944), and Shady Lady (1945). TY2


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First posted 12/14/2022.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Kings of Leon Only by the Night released

Only by the Night

Kings of Leon

Released: September 19, 2008

Peak: 4 US, 14 UK, 2 CN, 114 AU

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 3.0 UK, 8.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: rock


Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

  1. Closer [3:57]
  2. Crawl [4:06] (7/28/08, 40 MR, 70 AU)
  3. Sex on Fire [3:23] (9/6/08, 56 US, 42 RR, 24 AR, 18 MR, 24 AA, 18 A40, 13 UK, 14 AU)
  4. Use Somebody [3:51] (10/4/08, 4 US, 11 RR, 13 AC, 25 AR, 13 MR, 111 A40, 12 AA, 2 UK, 8 CN, 2 AU)
  5. Manhattan [3:24] (4/5/09, 38 AU)
  6. Revelry [3:21] (3/2/09, 29 UK, 21 AU)
  7. 17 [3:05]
  8. Notion [3:00] (6/13/09, 99 US, 11, MR, 19 AA, 46 AU)
  9. I Want You [5:07]
  10. Be Somebody [3:47]
  11. Cold Desert [5:34]
All lyrics by Caleb Followill. Music by Caleb Followill, Nathan Followill, Jared Followill, and Matthew Followill.

Total Running Time: 42:55

The Players:

  • Caleb Followill (vocals, rhythm guitar)
  • Matthew Followill (guitar, vocals, keyboards)
  • Jared Followill (bass, vocals)
  • Nathan Followill (drums, percussion, vocals)


3.718 out of 5.00 (average of 35 ratings)


Only by the Night (finally) establishes Kings of Leon as a rock act that’s worthy of seriously sustained attention.” – Jason Kirk,


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

The Kings of Leon’s first three albums established them as critical darlings and British favs, despite their distinctively U.S. roots, having come out of Tennessee. All three albums hit one of the top 3 slots of the U.K. charts while they racked up six top 25 hits. However, in the U.S., while each album had improved on the former’s success, the Kings still made little waves at radio, having only hit the modern rock charts once with minor hit “The Bucket.”

On the band’s third album, “2007’s Because of the Times, Kings of Leon ventured out of the garage and into the arena” AL and Only by the Night “furthered the epic sound that Times introduced, flaunting a set of ringing guitars and radio-ready melodies that pushed the band away from the Allman Brothers’ camp.” AL “Like many big-sounding albums, Only by the Night is a polarizing piece of work, one that targets new fans at the expense of those who wish Kings of Leon had never shaved their beards or discovered post-‘70s rock.” AL Yes, they take “a turn for the heavily polished here, but what the album lacks in rough-edged raunch, it more than makes up for in earnestness and – yes – stunning beauty.” JK

Like its predecessor, it topped the U.K. charts, but Night was even bigger; it charted over a year and became the biggest selling digital album of all-time there. WK In the U.S., it gave the band its first top ten album when it debuted at #5. On the strength of singles Sex on Fire and Use Somebody, the album went platinum and nearly a year into its run actually bested its debut week.

“Sex on Fire” was a #1 in the U.K. and on the U.S. modern rock chart. It “makes up for its goofy title with a meteoric chorus tailored to Caleb’s voice.” In fact, throughout the album, “Caleb emotes with a dramatic grit that never loses its command.” JK

However, it was the multi-format smash “Use Somebody” that really put the Kings in the minds of the general populus. The song wasn’t just commercially successful; it also won Grammys for Record of the Year, Best Rock Song, and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

On “Use Somebody” and Manhattan, “Matthew Followill cloaks his guitar riffs in reverb and bassist Jared Followill takes the spotlight sporadically, popping up for quick melodic fills before ducking back into the mix.” AL When it comes to that “trading off of melodic lines between instruments, …Jared… is the album’s quiet MVP.” JK

“While past Kings of Leon albums concerned themselves with alcohol, women, and other hedonistic themes, those two songs are nothing but pop/rock grandeur, and Caleb howls their hopeful lyrics like Bono’s American-born cousin.” AL

Crawl flexes the band’s rock & roll muscle, melding Led Zeppelin-styled crunch with the experimental guitar buzz of U2’s Achtung Baby.” AL

Only by the Night focuses on textures and experimentation during the album's latter half, but most songs still deliver some sort of Technicolor melody, from Notion (one of the only tracks featuring piano) to the unexpected chorus of Be Somebody.” AL

“Taken as a whole, Only by the Night targets the audience that approved Kings of Leon’s sonic shift in 2007, leaving older fans free to damn these tracks for their consciously grand approach. Yes, the album is often cheesy. Yes, some of the more popular songs lost their luster after endless months of radioplay. But Only by the Night remains a potent Kings of Leon record, and the guys have never defined their ambition so clearly.” AL It is “a model of melodic rock composition, arranged and produced with a warm, inviting veneer, and performed with aching sincerity.” JK “These 11 tracks coalesce into a sanguine whole that eclipses the band’s much-discussed rock posturing and yields more with every play.” JKOnly by the Night (finally) establishes Kings of Leon as a rock act that’s worthy of seriously sustained attention.” JK


“Frontier City” was released as a bonus track on the vinyl and iTunes editions. The Japanese edition included “Beneath the Surface” and the CSS remix of “The Bucket.” A Target exclusive added a bonus disc of a 2007 live performance from the Hammersmith Apollo. Finally, an Australian tour edition added a five-track DVD Live in London.

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First posted 2/10/2010; last updated 3/5/2024.