The affinity for high-stakes gaming and casinos dates back centuries, all the way to ancient Rome. Some of the most famous players from centuries past include Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Winston Churchill. So it should come as no surprise that a love of gaming has greatly influenced popular culture over the years, with entire films, songs, and books being dedicated to the subject.
Casino songs have a long history as well. You may already know of songs like “Viva Las Vegas” by Elvis Presley or “Desperado” by the Eagles, but how many casino-themed songs do you know from the 21st century? Check out the following list to see how a love of gaming has influenced some of the greatest artists of the century.
Poker Face by Lady Gaga
Released as a single for her 2008 album “The Fame,” “Poker Face” helped launch Lady Gaga’s career. The song won for Best Dance Recording at the 52nd Grammy Awards, and it was nominated for Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year. “Poker Face” reached No. 1 in the U.S. and abroad and is Lady Gaga’s second diamond-certified song.
All I Wanna Do Is Play Cards by Corb Lund
This song is featured on his 2005 album, “Hair in My Eyes Like a Highland Steer.” In 2006, the album was named Album Of The Year by the Canadian Country Music Association. In the song, Lund talks about how he wants to neglect all of his responsibilities in order to play cards. But since his passion helped him write a great song, what’s the harm?
Waking Up in Vegas by Katy Perry
Like “Poker Face,” “Waking Up in Vegas” was also released in 2008. Even though it was released on her album “One of the Boys,” it didn’t hit the radio until 2009. Upon release, it became a smash hit. The song celebrates the gaming and partying lifestyle of Las Vegas and is a must for anyone there hoping to get the party started with appropriately-themed tunes.
Vegas by Sara Bareilles
“Vegas” was released in 2007 on Bareilles’s second album, “Little Voices.” It’s a different sort of love song than “Waking Up in Vegas,” but it presents Vegas as one of the places where dreams come true. In the song, Bareilles sings: “Gonna sell my car and go to Vegas / ‘Cause somebody told me / That’s where dreams would be.” Give this song a listen if you’re looking to chill out with a quieter tune.
Pokerface by Ghostface Killah ft. Shawn Wigs
This song is featured on Ghostface Killah’s 2006 album, “More Fish.” The album reached No. 6 on Billboard’s Top Rap Albums and No. 13 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums in the U.S. Ghostface Killah and Shawn Wigs are all about the casino life, so naturally the song is packed with references to the World Series of Poker and the appeal of no-limit tournaments.
The Dealer by Stevie Nicks
Although this was originally written in the ‘70s for a Fleetwood Mac album, the song wasn’t officially released until 2014. It was re-recorded for her album, “24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault,” and released as a single after a bootleg version of the song became popular on YouTube. The song is Stevie Nicks at her best, so fans of her and Fleetwood Mac will appreciate this cards-themed track.
Pretty Vegas by INXS
Fans of Vegas and alternative rock will appreciate “Pretty Vegas” by INXS. The song was released on their 11th studio album, “Switch,” in 2005. “Switch” was the first INXS album to feature J.D. Fortune — who had won CBS’s contest “Rock Star: INXS” — as lead singer. “Pretty Vegas” became a top-40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 list in the U.S. and reached No. 9 on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) charts.