It is enough to pause for a few minutes to realize how much the world of casino games has influenced and continues to influence popular culture: from literature, as evidenced by the famous novel “The Player” by Fyodor Dostoevsky, to the cinema, as emerges from ‘equally famous movie Casino Royale, or even in music, which often sang about gambling games more known to players or about the typical situations in which it is possible to come across in a common gambling hall. What, however, are the most famous songs focused on the theme of gambling? What situations or games do they focus on? Let’s find out some of them together.
Poker Face, Lady Gaga (2008)
As part of her debut album, The Fame, Poker Face is the song that made Lady Gaga one of the greatest pop artists of our day. Although the value of the song has often been underestimated, the lyrics of Poker Face, as reported in The Meaning of Songs, is full of iconic images that are open to multiple interpretations. According to what the fans said, the song was written after the end of Lady Gaga’s love story with Lüc, a gambling lover, also appreciated by the pop star herself. As the text reads, the artist sings: “No, he can’t read my Poker Face”. It is with this phrase that the singer refers to the skill that poker players must have in hiding from others whether they are bluffing or not. Similarly, Lady Gaga would have chosen to show up in the room where her ex worked, showing herself strong and not suffering at all, with an impassive face just like that of the most experienced poker players.
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Black Jack, Christian Baciotti (1977)
Black Jack is a disco music track dating back to 1977, by the French record producer, composer and singer Christian Baciotti, whose success is due precisely to this single song. Like many other songs inspired by the world of gambling, this one is also dedicated to the fun and splendor of casinos, and in particular the game of blackjack. The passage focuses precisely on the contradictions of the game, which also make it the main reason for its attractiveness to players. Indeed, the purpose of blackjack, as explained in an article by Betway Casino, is nothing more than beating the croupier’s hand, with a card with a value equal to or less than 21. It is precisely this peculiarity, probably, that makes it a game so appreciated by lovers of ‘gamble: victory and defeat, in fact, depend exclusively on fate, as well as on one’s ability to distinguish the right moment to stop and the moment to draw another card. Unfortunately, after the Black Jack song and the release of another album, Baciotti’s career ended.
Long Live Las Vegas, Elvis Presley (1964)
Dedicated to the madness of the house of entertainment, Viva Las Vegas is a 1964 film that stars the legendary Elvis Presley, called to play the role of a car racing and casino games enthusiast, Lucky Jackson. It is in Las Vegas that the protagonist wins a fair amount of money that allows him to buy an engine to participate in the race. Viva Las Vegas, the soundtrack of the film, praises the splendor of the city of entertainment. As Elvis sings, Las Vegas is the place where “nights turn into days, days turn into nights”, the place that “if you see once, you will never be the same person”. In addition to extolling its beauty, Elvis also dwells on what can be found in Las Vegas: as you can read from the translation of the song published on MTV,in Las Vegas “there is blackjack and poker and roulette, a fortune won and lost with every bet, all you need is a strong heart and nerves of steel”. There are also references to the splendor of casinos, such as beautiful women, lights and flashing neon lights.
Ace of Spades, Motorhead (1980)
Released as a single in 1980 and included on the album of the same name, Ace of Spades is considered one of the best songs of the heavy metal band Motorhead. As fans of the well-known group, the ace of swords that gives the title to the song has a double meaning: on the one hand symbolizes the playing card on the other hand it has also become the symbol of the group, aware of the difficulty of entry into the world of music. As we read in the text, “Gambling is for fools, but this is the world I like, baby, and I don’t want to live forever!” It is not just a beautiful phrase to sing out loud, but also a lifestyle: life, in fact, must be lived without any restraint, without inhibitions, even with the risk that it leads to failure. The message of the song is just that, and there is no better way to convey it than with the metaphor of gambling. We must always find the courage to take risks, regardless of possible defeats. Only in this way can one say that he has truly lived.
These are just four of the most famous and listened to gambling-inspired songs: few, perhaps, but enough to remind us how much this world continues to fascinate singers, as well as film producers and writers.