Thomas Jefferson Edwards (October 15, 1922 – October 23, 1969) was an American singer and songwriter. His biggest-selling record was the multi-million-selling song "It's All in the Game."
Born in Richmond, Virginia, Edwards was an R&B singer most remembered for his 1958 hit "It's All in the Game", which appeared in the list of Billboard number-one singles of 1958. He sang his hit song on The Ed Sullivan Show, on September 14, 1958. The song was composed by then-future U.S. Vice-President Charles G. Dawes in 1911 as "Melody in A Major" with lyrics written in 1951 by Carl Sigman. Edwards originally recorded and charted the song in 1951, but it only climbed to no. 18. The better-known 1958 version was on the same record label (MGM) and was backed by the same orchestra leader (Leroy Holmes), but with a different arrangement more suited to the rock and roll-influenced style of the time. As well as topping the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, the song also got to number one on the R&B chart and the UK Singles Chart. The single sold over 3.5 million copies globally, earning gold disc status. The gold disc was presented in November 1958. His second biggest hit was his 1959 re-recording of "Please, Mr. Sun" (written by Ramon Martin Getzov and Sid Frank), which reached #11. Also, "Love Is All We Need," which reached #15 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
"That Chick's Too Young to Fry", written by Edwards, was a sizable hit for Louis Jordan. Edwards began recording for the Top label in 1949. When MGM heard his demo of it, they gave him a recording contract.
Although Edwards recorded a number of other songs, none came close to achieving the same level of success, though several of his songs later became hits for other artists, such as "A Fool Such As I" by Elvis Presley, "It's All in the Game" by Cliff Richard and the Four Tops (Eddie Holman's version of it was the B-side of his hit "Hey There Lonely Girl"), "Please Love Me Forever" by Cathy Jean and the Roommates (1961) and by Bobby Vinton (1967), and "Morning Side of the Mountain" recorded by Donny and Marie Osmond.
He died from massive internal hemorrhaging due to esophageal varices linked to cirrhosis of the liver (alcoholism). This is per his death certificate. Buried at the Quioccasin Baptist Church Cemetery in Henrico, Virginia. His headstone says he was born 15 October 1922 but his death certificate says 12 October 1926. The 1930 census eludes that his correct birth year is 1922. The informant was his sister, Buena.
Edwards received a Virginia Highway Marker in 2008, erected near Pemberton Elementary School, off Quioccasin Road, in Henrico County. In July 2008, Richmond mayor L. Douglas Wilder signed a proclamation declaring October 15, 2008 "Tommy Edwards Day."
In September 2012, Cherry Red Records label Shout issued a 2-CD collection of Edwards's work, entitled It's All in the Game (The MGM Recordings 1958–1960), which comprised his first four MGM albums and singles from the two years following that single's huge success.
Country and western crossover album
In 1961, Edwards broke new ground by releasing a studio album entitled Golden Country Hits. His album of country interpretations predated Ray Charles' Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music and featured covers of some of the same song choices, including "You Don't Know Me," a popular crossover ballad by country songwriter Cindy Walker.
|1951||"Once There Lived A Fool"
|"I'll Never Know Why"
|"The Morning Side of the Mountain"
|"Christmas Is For Children"
|"It's All in the Game" /||18|
|"All Over Again"||10|
|1952||"Please, Mr. Sun"
|"Easy To Say"
|"You Win Again"
||13||It's All in the Game|
|1953||"Now and Then, There's A Fool Such As I"
|"Take These Chains From My Heart"
|"Baby, Baby, Baby"
|"So Little Time"
|"Every Day Is Christmas"
|"There Was A Time"
|"The Joker (In The Card Game of Life)"
|"Linger in My Arms"
|"You Walk By"
|1955||"Serenade to a Fool"
|"Welcome to My Heart"
|"Teardrop on a Rose"
|"Baby, Let Me Take You Dreaming"
|1956||"Love Is A Child"
|"The Day That I Lost You"
|1957||"We're Not Children Anymore"
|1958||"It's All in the Game" /||1||1||1||It's All in the Game|
|"Please Love Me Forever"||61|
|"Love Is All We Need"
|1959||"Please, Mr. Sun" /||11||18|
|"The Morning Side of the Mountain"||27|
|"My Melancholy Baby" /||26||27||29||For Young Lovers|
|"It's Only The Good Times"||86|
|"I've Been There" /||53||Tommy Edwards' Greatest Hits|
|"I Looked at Heaven"||100||For Lovers Only|
|"(New In) The Ways of Love" /||47||Tommy Edwards' Greatest Hits|
|"Honestly and Truly"||65||Non-album track|
|1960||"Don't Fence Me In"
||45||Tommy Edwards' Greatest Hits|
|"I Really Don't Want To Know"
|"It's Not The End of Everything"
|1961||"Vaya Con Dios"
|"The Golden Chain"
|"I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"
||Tommy Edwards Sings Golden Country Hits|
|1962||"I'll Cry You Out of My Heart"
|"Please Don't Tell Me"
|1965||"Take These Chains From My Heart"
||The Very Best of Tommy Edwards|
|1966||"I Must Be Doing Something Wrong"
- Tommy Edwards Sings—Regent MG 6096 (Mono only) -- 1958
- It's All In The Game—MGM E (Mono)/SE (Stereo) 3732–1958
- For Young Lovers—MGM E/SE 3670–1959
- You Started Me Dreaming—MGM E/SE 3805–1959
- Tommy Edwards—Lion L 70120 (Mono only) -- 1959
- Tommy Edwards in Hawaii—MGM E/SE 3838–1960
- Stardust—MGM E/SE 4020–1960
- Step Out Singing—MEM E/SE 3822–1960
- Tommy Edwards' Greatest Hits—MGM E/SE 3884–1961
- Tommy Edwards Sings Golden Country Hits—MGM E/SE 3959–1961
- Soft Strings and Two Guitars—MGM E/SE 4060–1962
- The Very Best Of Tommy Edwards—MGM E/SE 4141–1963
- Tommy Edwards—Metro M (Mono)/MS (Stereo) 511–1965
The recording "Honestly and Truly" is only heard on compact disc in mono, because the original stereo master tape was either lost or destroyed.
The recording "Take These Chains From My Heart" is heard on compact disc in re-channeled stereo because, as with the above song, the original stereo master was lost or destroyed.
These recordings were issued on the MGM record label unless otherwise noted.
"It's All in the Game" (1958 version) was produced by Harry Myerson. He is assumed to be the producer for all tracks from this point forward, although this cannot be confirmed.
The orchestra was conducted and the arrangements were made on all records by LeRoy Holmes.