One of my favorite records of all time is Tommy Edwards’ 1958 chart-topper, “It’s All In The Game.” It was by far his biggest hit and is still a very familiar song to most music fans even though Edwards died in 1969. But did you know that he recorded a very different version way back in 1951 and it sort of flopped?
While growing up in Depression-era Richmond, Virgina, Tommy Edwards was an early bloomer from a musical standpoint, singing in local spots while still a pre-teen. But he didn’t really make much of a name for himself until the post-war years, when he began writing some good songs and eventually landed the opportunity to hit the recording studio.
Edwards’ first Top Ten record was 1951’s “All Over Again,” but that same year he also recorded a old melody that had recently been given lyrics. It was something called “It’s All In The Game,” and even though it did sell some records it pretty much escaped the notice of most fans at the time.
He continued to do well for the next several years, with solid records successes like “Please, Mr. Sun,” “You Win Again,” and “A Fool Such As I,” and would have more hits later in the decade, but his biggest began almost as an afterthought. He decided to redo his 1951 underachiever with a different arrangement, one that put the violins into the background and made the song a little more pop-friendly. It was a smash, spending weeks at the top of the charts and becoming his signature song.