Feb 04

TOMMY EDWARDS – ‘All In The Game’

Popular8 comments • 2,113 views

#76, 7th November 1958

When your heart is breaking, wise words are the last thing you want to hear and false hopes the first. In this ballad Tommy Edwards offers a bit of both ‘ a knowing shake of the head that turns into a sly nod, just as the music stops and the backing chorus flurries up like startled birds, ‘Soon he’ll be there at your side!’. Well, maybe. Edwards’ lacquered voice is telling you it’ll be Okay, after all, and for a minute or two at least you could believe it.



  1. 1
    rosie on 23 Jul 2008 #

    Well, well, well, you live and learn. According to Wikipedia, the very familar tune to this (which the Four Tops had a go at, amongst many others) was written by one Charles Dawes, vice-president of the United States from 1925-1929 and subsequently US ambassador in London.

    Which probably puts him up with Bertolt Brecht amongst the creators of number ones.

  2. 2
    wichita lineman on 9 Oct 2008 #

    Even Tommy released a first draft of this in the pre rock era. And somehow it’s still perfect American Graffiti material.

    This reminds me of a character called Dennis I used to work with when I had a saturday job on Surrey Street market in Croydon. When things went slightly awry he’d tut and smile, Norman Wisdom-esque, and say “It’s a game innit?”

    Once, when things went more than slightly awry, he did exactly the same tut and smile, but said “It’s a game and a half, innit?”

  3. 3
    Paul Ramsey on 23 Feb 2012 #

    Over the years some truly great versions of this song have been released: four tops, van morrison(yes) and cliff(no) but this is the best and is it the first British number one by an Afro American ; effortless pacing and a faultless performance

  4. 4
    wichita lineman on 23 Feb 2012 #

    I think Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers take that title.

    Great call on the Four Tops’ slinky catwalk version of It’s All In The Game from 1970. Not just Levi Stubbs on lead, for once.

  5. 5
    hectorthebat on 14 Feb 2014 #

    Critic watch: This song appears on the following “Best-of” lists:
    1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010)
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Greil Marcus (USA) – STRANDED: “Treasure Island” Singles (1979)
    Mojo (UK) – The 100 Greatest Songs of All Time (2000) 49
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)

  6. 6
    Lazarus on 9 Mar 2014 #

    #2 – In Arthur Smith’s entertaining biography ‘My Name is Daphne Fairfax’ he tells of working on the bins in South London with such a character, whose language was liberally sprinkled with “it’s a game,” and suchlike. Once when they were passing a funeral cortege he startled mourners by bellowing “it’s a game and a half when you’re dead!”

    This song is over 100 years old now – Charles Gates Dawes was indeed vice-president under Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s but he wrote it while working in a Chicago bank in 1912. There was discussion on the ‘Michael’ thread of old songs at number one; this one is right up there. Six weeks at the top in the States, putting it in a three-way tie for the longest run of the year with ‘Purple People Eater’ and ‘Volare.’

  7. 7
    wichitalineman on 9 Mar 2014 #

    Bloody hell L, I wonder if it was the same bloke – that sounds like the kind of thing he’d have found funny.

    I’m struggling to find who recorded this first, circa 1912, but Dawes’ face was on the sheet music, to his discomfort: “No one told me it had been published. I was walking down State Street and came to a music shop. I saw a poster-size picture of myself, my name plastered all over the window in large letters and the window space entirely filled with the sheet music. My business is that of a banker and few bankers have won renown as composers of music. 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.”

  8. 8
    Gareth Parker on 9 Jun 2021 #

    Again, Tom’s 6/10 seems spot on here.

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