The subject of gambling has always been dealt with in pop and rock songs. Either gambling in general is sung about or specific games like blackjack and poker are thematized. This has led to the best slot machines making it into pop culture and being a permanent part of it.
Many songs written are not necessarily by real stars, but by songwriters who enjoy casino games themselves. What few people know: The song hit Smoke on the Water by the band Deep Purple was only written because there was a fire in the Montreux casino.
In this article we take a look at the 13 best songs related to gambling. There are many pieces of music inspired by gambling and some stories about the artists and gambling. But some of these classics stand out.
1. The Gambler by Kenny Rogers
In the USA, this song, which is about classic gambling, enjoys enormous popularity. The poker princess Molly Bloom played this song at her first poker tournament. Actually, the well-known version by Kenny Rogers from 1978 was already written by Don Schlitz in 1976. But this version flopped.
The song tells of a night meeting on a train. A meeting that takes place somewhere in the middle of nowhere. In the song, the narrator talks to a player. He offers some advice in return for a cigarette and a sip of whiskey. Then the song tells of how the gambler on the train dies in his sleep, and the narrator finds an ace with the gambler.
2. Roll of the Dice by Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen released a story about the dice game craps with his album Human Touch in 1992. There, gambling is being compared to love. In both situations, high stakes are required and one can lose a lot here as well as there. In this song, the gambler wants to win his great love by rolling the dice. He aims to win against everyone, although his odds are actually miserable.
3. Poker by Electric Lights Orchestra
The fifth album by the British band Electric Light Orchestra in 1975 included a song about poker. Here, everything revolves around the gambler’s dreams, which are supposedly known to everyone. But the song also has a curiosity because there is also talk of a joker, but this does not exist at all in poker. At the same time, the song also mentions the fact that players often lose their love.
4. Gambler by Madonna
The song was released in 1985. At the same time, this song is the last one so far where Madonna wrote the lyrics alone. The song is about the peculiarities of the players, and it is again about the chances of the players to pick up a girl.
5. Blackjack by Ray Charles
With Blackjack, Ray Charles released an excellent blues song in 1980. The song tells impressively how the card game destroys a player. Moreover, the player cannot understand how one can have so much bad luck.
6. Luck be a Lady by Sinatra
The song Luck Be a Lady was written by Frank Loesser in 1950. In the song, which was also part of the musical Guys and Dolls, the gambler Sky Masterson tells how he hopes to win a bet to save his relationship with the girl of his dreams. However, it was Frank Sinatra’s version in 1965 that became famous, and this song has since become a real classic.
7. Card Fraud by The Clash
The London punk band released the song The Clash in 1979 with their album London Calling. The song tells the story of a lonely man who plays cards in an opium den with a card up his sleeve. The dealer becomes suspicious when the player discards a king of spades. After discovering the swindle, he shoots the player.
8. Spanish Train by Chris de Burgh
Spanish Train was released by the British singer Chris de Burgh in 1975. The song tells the story of a Spanish train travelling between Guadalquivir and Old Seville. The story begins with a railwayman dying and waiting to die. Immediately the devil wants to take him, but now God comes along too. Both are now playing poker for the dying man’s soul. More souls raise the stakes.
9. The Angle and the Gambler by Iron Maiden
This song was released by the metal band Iron Maiden in 1998. The song tells of a player who is advised by both the angel and the devil. Now he has to choose between these two advisors. Although the angel repeatedly offers his support, it quickly becomes clear that the desire to throw the dice or gamble is far too great.
10. Sin City by AC/DC
AC/DC also released the song Sin City with their 5th studio album in 1978. The song tells of a visit to a sinful city and the conditions prevailing there. The description of the city immediately suggests the clichéd description of Las Vegas.
11. The winner takes it all by ABBA
As in many other casino songs, gambling is used here to compare it to lovemaking. It is the same in this song. In 1980, the Swedish world stars tell of how a woman sings about her grief when she realizes that she has lost her husband to another woman. Very poetically, she then sings that she has played all her cards and cannot find an ace up her sleeve to save the relationship.
12. Viva Las Vegas by Elvis Presley
Viva Las Vegas is a real classic. The King of Pop loved to party and never said no to a good glass of whisky. The song, which dates from 1964, describes the city of Las Vegas with all its facets. You can win or lose at gambling, but this song definitely makes you want to take a trip to the casino. Elvis is still present there today, and many things remind us of him and his history with the city.
13. The Dealer by Stevie Nicks
The song was already written in 1979, but not published. Later on, the song was discovered by the American singer Stevie Nicks, and who made it her own in 2014. The song here, unlike what is often the case, tells the perspective of the croupier who calls himself a card shark. This Card shark uses perfidious tactics to try to keep the player at the table.