Re ‘Pianists, PMs, and More’
My colleague Kevin Williamson has reminded me of Condi Rice — she belongs on our list of pianists in politics (or world affairs). Another colleague, Andrew Stuttaford, chips in Ted Heath. More of a conductor and organist, but true. (Surely a better musician than a PM. And yet, he paved the way to Thatcher . . .) Another colleague, Fred Schwarz, contributes Charles Dawes — Brigadier General Charles G. Dawes, who was vice president under Coolidge. In 1925, he shared the Nobel Peace Prize, for Versailles-related work he had done before being elected with Coolidge. Let me give you a swath from my recent book:
In 1912, [Dawes] wrote something called Melody in A. Just a little ditty for his friends and family to enjoy in their drawing rooms? Not exactly. It was published, then played by people all over America, on the piano and other instruments. Fritz Kreisler, one of the great violinists, took up the piece, making it a signature encore. He also recorded it. And, when Dawes died in 1951, his piece assumed another life. That year, Carl Sigmund put words to it, making a song called “It’s All in the Game.” It became a big hit for the singer Tommy Edwards, after which it was covered by any number of musicians — including Louis Armstrong, Dinah Shore, Nat King Cole, Engelbert Humperdinck, Van Morrison, Barry Manilow, and Elton John. Dawes’s tune may be better known than the fact that he won the Nobel Peace Prize, or that he was vice president of the United States. Indeed, in this melody may lie the man’s immortality.