This is the only #1 hit ever written by a US Vice President. It was composed in 1911 by then-banker Charles Gates Dawes, who became VP under Calvin Coolidge in 1925. The lyrics were added in 1951 by the Brill Building songwriter Carl Sigman, who also changed the song's name to "It's All in the Game." In The Carl Sigman Songbook
, Sigman's son Michael writes:
The most interesting story-behind-a-song saga in Carl's career began with a phone call from a publisher. For years Carl had thought about writing a lyric for a tune he remembered from his classical training. "The Dawes Melody," or "Melody in A Major," was a classical violin and orchestra piece composed in 1911 by none other than Charles G. Dawes, later Vice President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge. Dawes composed the piece in a single piano sitting. "It's just a tune that I got in my head, so I set it down," he told an interviewer. He played it for a friend, the violinist Francis MacMillan, who liked it enough to show it to a publisher, and Dawes was officially a composer. The tune garnered some popularity when Jascha Heifetz used it for a time as a light concert encore. Early in 1951, Carl decided to try and write a lyric to the theme, believing that it was in the public domain, as free of complications as an old Mozart melody. He knew the two-octave range would be a problem, but figured he could fool around with the melody, take out the high notes and make it more singable. By sheer coincidence, Warner Brothers publishing executive Mac Goldman called one day to ask Carl to consider writing a lyric to "The Dawes Melody," the copyright for which, it turned out, was owned by Warners. Once Carl recovered from the news that the song was in fact already copyrighted, he rejiggered the tune and realized that a phrase from another song he was working on, a conversational phrase he'd plucked from the vernacular, was perfect for this tune. Once he plugged that title into its proper place, the lyrics to "It's All In the Game," to quote Carl, "wrote themselves." 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 have 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 Carl also wrote this never-recorded intro, to be sung prior to "Many a Tear…" Where love's concerned At times you'll think your world has overturned But if he's yours, and if you're his Remember this… Unfortunately, the vice president never got to hear the lyric. On the day Carl handed in the finished assignment, Dawes died of a heart attack, prompting Mac Goldman to quip, "Your lyric must have killed him."