Have you ever wondered what the biggest songs in gambling are? There are a couple of obvious answers, Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler and Motorhead’s Ace of Spades, but we’re looking at the lesser known options. Some of these you might not even realise are inspired by the casino floor, some are clear when you’re singing along. Take a look at our picks for the best songs inspired by casinos.
Viva Las Vegas – Elvis Presley
Famously, Elvis spent a good chunk of his life performing in Vegas, to the point that it’s hard to think of one without the other. You go to the City of Sin, you play, you win, you enjoy a show by Elvis, you maybe get a steak after. That’s the Vegas experience. But you can bring the Vegas experience home with10Bet South Africa. Try it for yourself and order a steak while you’re at it.
What cemented this was Elvis Presley’s ode to the City of Sin. It’s a driving tune gets the excitement going and its lyrics depict that feverish excitement of journeying to the party city.
You Know My Name – Chris Cornell
Not the strongest of gambling allegories, Chris Cornell’s go at making Thee James Bond Movie Theme no less accompanied not only the soft reboot of the James Bond franchise, but the much sought after Casino Royale adaptation. Which, in case it wasn’t obvious, has casinos and gambling at the centre of it.
Cornell’s lyrics describe the spy we all know. Even with a reboot we know his name. He’s a killer, according to these lyrics, with pointers to gambling peppered in, like odds, prizes, and diamonds. But then Shirley Bassey already had that covered inthe James Bond album - better.
Poker Face – Lady Gaga
Perhaps the most famous modern example of a song inspired by casinos, Lady Gaga’s Poker Face is a staple of every throwback club night, every gay club, and every South Park playlist. That, coupled with the fact that it would appear in a playlist alongside Kenny Rogers and Elvis, makes it a song for everyone.
And she teaches Chris Cornell what a gambling allegory is. She’s going to hold’em like they do in Texas, “fold ‘em, let ‘em, hit me, raise it”, and “play the [card] that’s on his heart”. But the brilliance of this song is, like the concept of a poker face, it’s pretty unreadable. What is this song actually about? What is it an allegory for? People are still arguing.
Luck Be a Lady – Frank Sinatra
You know a gentleman like Frank Sinatra indulges in the finer things, like whiskey, record players, and a late night at the casino. And a gentleman would turn the only reliable rule of gambling, luck, into a deity to be worshipped. Lucky Be a Lady might even be considered a prayer to help gamblers win their next round.
Shape of My Heart – Sting
Sting’s goal of making a song about gambling is unique in that it’s not about winning. It’s not an allegory for love or anything else. It’s not about the spectacle of Vegas. It’s simply about loving the game. His protagonist, according to Sting himself, looks for the “mystical logic” in the game. You can picture a wise old master of his craft, the same way you would imagine a kung fu master, who appreciates the uncertainty of the game.
And then the Sugababes made it into a love song. But we’re not mad about that.
Do It Again – Steely Dan
Unlike a lot of the songs on this list, Steely Dan isn’t revelling in the fun of the risk. Do It Again describes the fear of losing and yet not stopping. And in fact, rather than using gambling as an allegory for something else, Steely Dan uses a lot of different metaphors to describe the highs and lows of the casino.
The most blatant hint that this is about gambling is the chorus, where a wheel spinning round and round might be a roulette wheel.
Honourable mentions: The Winner Takes It All, What’s the Name of the Game, Take a Chance on Me – Abba
Abba clearly had some influence from gambling when it comes to their music. That’s three of their biggest songs with gambling implied in the title alone. However, this is Abba, so they are all allegories for some stage of love, whether that’s heartbreak or joy. It shows just how mixed the emotions of the casino floor can be.
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