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.

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