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Archive for November 15th, 2012

Many a Tear Has to Fall: RPM Collects Tommy Edwards’ “MGM Recordings 1958-1960”

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Trivia time: name the only No. 1 Pop single to have been written by a United States Vice-President.

If you answered “It’s All in the Game,” recorded in 1958 by Tommy Edwards, you win our Second Disc No-Prize!  In 1951, Carl Sigman (“Ebb Tide,” “What Now My Love”) set lyrics to the 1912 (!) melody by Charles Dawes, Vice President under Calvin Coolidge and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.  Although the song was recorded by Nat “King” Cole, Louis Armstrong and Dinah Shore, it had its most enduring rendition in the 1958 MGM Records recording by Tommy Edwards, the silk-voiced R&B crooner.  But that wasn’t the first time Edwards had recorded the song; he took it to No. 18 in 1951 for MGM, but his updated arrangement later in the decade finally proved the song’s commercial mettle.  Cherry Red’s RPM label remembers the late Edwards with the new 2-CD set It’s All in the Game: The MGM Recordings 1958-1960.  Containing four complete albums plus bonus singles for a total of 57 tracks, it’s a comprehensive overview of an important period in the singer’s career with not just the title track but other hits such as “Please Mr. Sun” (No. 11), “Love Is All We Need” (No. 15), “I Really Don’t Want to Know” (No. 18),” and “My Melancholy Baby” (No. 26).

Although the 1958 recording of “It’s All in the Game” scored on both the pop and R&B charts, Tommy Edwards’ career had its roots in the pre-rock and roll days.  As a songwriter, Edwards placed songs with diverse artists in the pop, country and R&B genres including The Deep River Boys, Red Foley, Louis Jordan and Tony Bennett.   As a solo artist, he achieved success with 1951’s No. 24 hit “The Morning Side of the Mountain,” written by Larry Stock and Dick Manning and memorably recorded two decades later by Donny and Marie Osmond.  His first stab at “It’s All in the Game” hit a respectable No. 18, and all told, MGM released 30 singles by the artist between 1950 and 1957, though Edwards ceased recording in 1955.  The label’s long-term investment in Edwards paid off in 1958 when executive Morty Craft suggested that Edwards team with arranger LeRoy Holmes to re-record “It’s All in the Game” in a new, beat-heavy style.  The new RPM anthology starts with that auspicious recording.

After the jump: more on Tommy, plus a full track listing and order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 15, 2012 at 09:58