Only two noble prize recipients have writing credit on a number one hit. As one of the greatest songwriters in American history, Bob Dylan is an obvious candidate. The other, Charles Dawes, is more inexplicable.
A self-taught composer, Dawes possessed many talents. In 1912, Dawes sketched out a piano composition called Melody in A Major. In 1951, Carl Sigman added lyrics to the piece turning it into “It’s All in the Game.” R&B crooner Tommy Edwards’ 1958 version sat at number one for six weeks. Between Melody in A Major’s inception and Edward’s performance, the world drastically changed. A great deal of that can be linked to Charles Dawes.
Dawes rose to political prominence following his service in World War I. Rising in ranks to brigadier general, his tenure at the United States War Department drew the attention of Republican politicians. In 1924, Calvin Coolidge nominated Dawes to serve as his Vice President. A year later, Dawes won the Noble Peace Prize for his economic program, the Dawes Plan. At the time, the Dawes plan was reluctantly adopted to relieve Germany’s post-war debts. Its legacy has only grown more controversial. The Dawes Plan stabilized Germany’s economy by injecting loans dependent on American banks. When the world economy crashed during the Great Depression, the investments were so entangled with foreign governments that Germany could not recover. The resulting political instability collapsed the Weimar Republic. The Macarena may be annoying, but at least its authors did not help Adolf Hitler rise to power.