New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Gambling has always been a prominent theme in music, and here we've chosen the top 10 best songs on the topic.
There's something for every taste, age, and genre. Granted, these hits are not all about a gambling game per se, but they all in some way relate life to it.
Roving Gambler - The Everly Brothers
Gamblers in the first half of the 20th century, when gambling exploded in the US to become a trade, weren't like today's players.
Back then professional gambling involved traveling (roving) from town to town, scraping for cash, and never settling down.
The Everly Brothers sang the story of a girl who fell in love with a gambler and was leaving her mother's family nest to hit the road with him.
Viva Las Vegas - Elvis Presley
Whom else to associate with Las Vegas other than Presley and Sinatra?
Elvis' hit "Viva Las Vegas" glorifies life in the Sin City but should also serve as a warning to players of the dangers of the desert town's glamor.
"I'm going to have me some fun/If it costs me my very last dime" might sound Rock 'n Roll coming from Presley's lips, but one-time fun is not worth lifetime poverty.
Dogs - The Who
The Who are best known for two things— being one of the best bands to come out of the UK and destroying musical instruments on stage.
The British working class was often the topic of choice for the band's lyrics, and "Dogs" is no exception.
It is about the love story of a "kennel maid" and a dog racing gambler who get to live a dream life of kissing, cuddling, and betting on the dogs.
The Gambler - Kenny Rogers
Yet another reference to the lifestyle of traveling gamblers of the last century, Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" is about the lessons that gambling teaches about life.
The hero of the song travels in the same train wagon as a gambler who, true to his trade, offers life advice in exchange for whiskey.
"Every gambler knows/That the secret to survivin'/Is knowin' what to throw away/And knowin' what to keep,"; this verse is only one of the many that make the song the best textbook on gambling there is.
Ace of Spades - Motörhead
With a name like this, there's no doubt what the song is about.
Antes, Aces, and "playing for the high one" are all known terms for gamblers though late frontman Lemmy once said in the interview that he's more of a slot machine guy adding that "you can't really sing about spinning fruit."
In 2009 VH1 voted "Ace of Spades" among the top ten greatest hard rock songs of all time.
The Winner Takes it All - ABBA
The Swedish phenomenon ABBA are still shining their star close to five decades after the band's founding.
The act, who are coming out with a new album and show this year, created one of the most touching songs about love, wins, and losses.
The heroine has "played all [her] cards" and is now facing the hardest part of a breakup—letting go, knowing that her love is destined to be happy with someone else.
Roll of the Dice - Bruce Springsteen
US rockstar Bruce Springsteen is yet another legend that has incorporated a gambling theme in his art.
This song depicts a failing gambler's quest to bring his luck back around after feeling a rush of optimism as a result of newfound love. In the end though we never get to know if the infatuated player gets the coveted "seven," yet the song is a great lesson for gamblers to not play under the influence of emotions.
Shape of My Heart - Sting
Is there any other title that comes to mind when saying "songs about gambling"?
Sting goes on to tell the story of a player who finds gambling to be an enigma—a mystical act that has encoded a secret formula that would reveal luck answers to logic, not to chance.
The famed British singer himself has confirmed that "Shape of My Heart" is about a stone-faced poker player looking for an answer, and it's not a love song like so many believe.
You Know My Name - Chris Cornell
This one is better known as the theme song from "Casino Royale" and what better fit for this list of top 10 gambling songs.
Granted, the lyrics don't refer to actual gambling but rather to James Bond's life as a secret agent which can come to an abrupt end "[…] with just a spin of the wheel."
Casino Royale, despite being the twenty-first installment of the movie series, shows Bond's initiation to the spying world.
Poker Face - Lady Gaga
One of the most recent song hits about gambling is Lady Gaga's "Poker Face."
Once again, the piece relates gambling to love and attraction, with the lyrical heroine teasing her love interest and never showing what she's really thinking, hiding behind a "poker face."
"Love game intuition, play the cards with spades to start/And after he's been hooked, I'll play the one that's on his heart," is also what seasoned gamblers are after—luring in their opponents and letting them expose weaknesses.
What these records have in common, besides being great hits, is that they all look at gambling as part of life, even as a teacher about life.
Gambling has always been walking shoulder to shoulder alongside human development and does so even more these days.
No longer do we have to visit the record shop to buy music or go to a casino to gamble.
Online streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify bring all the music in the world to us, and so do live casino pages where we can enjoy all the classics at our leisure.