As they say, the music encompasses everyone from all walks of life. Musicians write songs literally from almost anything – love, life, school, animals, plants… anything!
But do you know that there are also songs written that are talking about gambling? Oh no! I’m not just talking about Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” just because there’s a “poker” in it. I’m referring to the songs that are literally talking about gambling. Apparently, music also plays an important role in gambling, the reason why many musicians make songs about it.
Do you want to hear them? Prepare your music streaming apps as the following is the list of the 5 great songs about gambling.
1. The Gambler (Kenny Rogers)
“The Gambler” is one of the most popular songs by the American country music singer Kenny Rogers. The song was written by Don Schiltz and was actually recorded by several artists, but clearly, Kenny Rogers’ version was the most listened to.
“The Gambler” is a song with a very simple narrative but with very deep metaphors about life. The narrative is set on a train where strangers are having a conversation about poker, any gambler’s favorite! While the writer himself was never involved with gambling, the lyrics talked about taking risks (as in gambling) in life, knowing how to play the game, and knowing when to stop. What the song communicates was said to be the advice the writer’s father gave him before he died. Listening to the lyrics and melody of the song will give you a different kind of nostalgic feeling, not just because Kenny Rogers sang it but because of the overall message of the song.
The song was the title track for his album “The Gambler” which was released in November of 1978. Experiencing mainstream success, Kenny Rogers’ version landed the No. 1 country hit and had even crossed over to the pop charts, considering it was the time when it’s hard for country songs to reach pop charts. The Gambler also won him the 1980’s Grammy award for the best male country vocal performance.
2. The Winner Takes it All (ABBA)
“The Winner Takes it All” is undeniably on the top tier of pop ballads of all time. Just like most of ABBA’s songs, it was written by composers Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. It was originally titled “The Story of My Life”.
There were speculations that the song was about the divorce between Ulvaeus and his ex-wife Agnetha Fältskog. However, Ulvaeus denied the speculations yet admitted that it was indeed about divorce in general perspective.
Fältskog sang the ballad’s lead vocals that were recorded in the same year she and Björn Ulvaeus divorced.
The song was released as the first single from ABBA’s album Super Trouper on July 21, 1980. It’s their first single after their hiatus for seven months and reached No. 1 in many countries.
3. Viva Las Vegas (Elvis Presley)
“Viva Las Vegas” was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1963 and was released in the following year for his film of the same title. It was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman.
The song seems to have a clear visual representation of Las Vegas which is known for its booming casino businesses. From the physical appearance of the city, the people you’ll see around (especially “pretty” women), to the games you can play there, such as poker, blackjack, and others – as mentioned in the song.
The song was released as a single with the B-side “What’d I say,” which also comes from the same film. Viva Las Vegas reached no. 17 on the UK’s singles chart, and moved to no. 15 after the 2007 reissue. The said single reached the top 20 on the Record World chart in the United States, while it reached no. 14 in Canada.
Even though Elvis never sang “Viva Las Vegas” live, it became popular and was performed by a lot of singers. The song was even featured in the 2021 film “Army of the Dead”.
4. Shape of My Heart (Sting)
“Shape of My Heart” is a 1993 song by the British musician Sting. It was the fifth single from his album titled Ten Summoner’s Tales. The song became a popular classic which currently has about 150 million plays on the digital streaming platform Spotify.
According to betandbeat, Sting said that he wanted to tell a story about a “card player” through the song. A story about a gambler who bets not to win but to try to figure something out, such as some kind of mystical logic in luck, something scientific, or almost about religious law.
5. I Feel Lucky (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
“I Feel Lucky” is a song by the American country singer Mary Chapin Carpenter that was released in 1992. She co-wrote the song together with Don Schlitz. It was the first single for her album Come On, Come On. During her time, the song landed no. 4 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
The song is a story about a woman who relentlessly believed it was her lucky day despite constantly receiving bad omens. Instead of believing what her horoscope tells her that “the stars are stacked against her,” she went out and bought a lottery ticket and among other things. In the end, she ended up winning the $11 million lottery prize.
You should listen to these songs as they are a musical masterpiece. If you listen to the lyrics closely, you’ll learn how gambling was beautifully referenced in how this life works. Indeed, music also influences gambling or vice versa.
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