Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wednesday 45 Flashback: ‘It’s All in the Game’

One of my favorite songs of all time is “It’s All in the Game.”

It has been sung by Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Sammy Davis, Jr., Louis Armstrong and the Four Tops. And also by Andy Williams, Robert Goulet, Van Morrison, Glen Campbell and Elton John.

That’s the mark of a great song.

The man who had the biggest hit with it is far lesser known. His name was Tommy Edwards, and his 1958 recording of “It’s All in the Game” was a No. 1 smash.

That platter is spinning below, courtesy of a YouTuber known as bucksheespins.

The song has an interesting history. For nearly 40 years, it didn’t have words. The music – titled “Melody in A Major” – was composed in 1912 by Charles Dawes, a banker and music hobbyist who later became vice president of the United States!

Dawes wrote the melody in 3/4 time. If you’d like to hear how it originally sounded, follow this link to, scroll down to Disc 5, Track 13, and stream a piece of the 1920s recording by violinist Fritz Kreisler.

In 1951, hit songwriter Carl Sigman added lyrics and a new title. (He also changed it to 4/4 time.) The rest is pop-music history.

One of my favorite versions of “It’s All in the Game” is a live instrumental performance by pianist Keith Jarrett. Click here to hear it on my Vox blog.

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