‘Though many of us lost interest in “the Game” a few weeks ago, there’s always “The” game to burn a candle over. And although it was a game played long before the discovery of fire, this particular wick was first lit in 1911.
It’s also the only Number One pop single with music written by either a U.S. Vice President or a Nobel Peace Prize winner…or for that matter, an Ambassador to the Court of St. James.
With lyrics written by songwriter, Carl Sigman in 1951 the tune reaches back to a composition written by a Chicago bank president named Charles Gates Dawes, who would later become Vice President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge.
An amateur pianist, Dawes composed the tune (which he entitled “Melody in A Major”) in a single sitting at his lakeshore home in Evanston, Ill. After listening to it a friend took the sheet music to a publisher. Weeks later Dawes was dumbfounded to discover a picture of himself in a State Street music shop window where they were selling “Dawes Melody”.
“I know that I will be the target of my punster friends,” he said. “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.”
Dawes would share the Nobel Peace Prize in 1925 for his plan to stabilize Germany’s economy after the First World War and after serving as VP, the man whose face was on the 14 December 1925 cover of Time Magazine, went on to serve as US Ambassador to Britain prior to returning to the banking business. But throughout his political career he would regret that day in 1911 that he came up with his “melody” as it was played whenever and wherever he made a political appearance.
Then “Dawes Melody” took on a life of its own, becoming a favorite of popular violinist Fritz Kreisler, who used it as his closing number throughout the ‘30s and then a Big Band standard after Tommy Dorsey picked it up in the ‘40s.
In 1951, the year Charles Dawes died, songwriter Carl Sigman wrote his lyrics to the song, which was now called “It’s All in the Game” and it was soon recorded by Dinah Shore, Sammy Kaye, Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole among others, including Tommy Edwards, whose version reached Number 18 on the Billboard Charts.
Stepping forward to 1958, Edwards, who had been bumping along since his 1951 hit, had only a single session left on his record contract. As stereo recording had recently become viable Edwards chose to “go for the gusto” with a stereo version of “Game” using the same studio orchestra as his original but with a Rock n’ Roll arrangement.
The resulting single owned the Billboard charts for six straight weeks and soon topped the British charts as well, reviving Edwards career for another few years, and guaranteeing the continued reappearance of “that sweet bouquet” for years to come as performed by the likes of: Cliff Richard, Robert Goulet, Andy Williams, The Lettermen, The Four Tops, Jackie DeShannon, Cass Elliott, George Bensen, Neil Sedaka, Merle Haggard, John Mathis, Barry Manilow, Glen Campbell and Keith Jarrett.
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 had 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
(Soon he’ll be there at your side) with a sweet bouquet
Then he’ll kiss your lips and caress your waiting fingertips
And your hearts will fly away