Top 10 Las Vegas Songs
Even though what happens in Las Vegas is supposed to stay in Las Vegas, that doesn’t always happen. In fact, it often comes out through song.
There’s something about Sin City that’s inspiring. Is it the gambling? The heat? The nightlife? The drive-thru chapels? The playing card metaphors? The Elvis impersonators? The mustang ranches? Whatever it is — likely a combination of all of them — Las Vegas, the mecca of American hedonism and risky business, is a muse for some of the best pop songs ever. (‘Luck Be a Lady’ and ‘Viva Las Vegas’ will always be No. 1 in the hearts of millions, but there are so many more!)
Here are our 10 favorite Las Vegas songs, spanning from way back in the 80s up to present day.
‘Two of Hearts’
This 1986 gem has one of the simplest choruses ever: “Two of hearts, two hearts that beat as one / Two of hearts, I need you, I need you / Two of hearts, two hearts that beat as one / Two of hearts, come on, come on.” Simple as it is — and as low a hand as Stacey Q was dealt — good luck getting this hook out of your head. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
‘I Should Be So Lucky’
Before she was a gay icon and a dance queen, Kylie Minogue was an Australian teen pop phenom. In the 1988 track ‘I Should Be So Lucky,’ she embraced scrunchies and a girl next door image. Though Minogue is singing about being lucky in love, we wouldn’t blame anyone for whistling this on their way to a poker table.
Sara Bareilles is looking for a new life anywhere other than where she is: she mulls over a trip to New York, crossing the border into Mexico, sailing across the ocean … but she always comes back to one winning destination: “Vegas, please.” Not only does the song capture the essence of a desperate dreamer, but there’s also a distinct (if not necessarily deliberate) irony of having such soulful vocals dedicated to a city meant for sin.
Though Conor Maynard isn’t even old enough to get into Las Vegas casinos, the “British Justin Bieber” sounds like an aficionado on ‘Vegas Girl.’ Comparing the object of his affection to a show girl (hopefully not the Elizabeth Berkeley sort), Maynard sings, “Roll the dice, I’ve got your number / Hit the jackpot underneath the covers.” Yup, sounds like this suave gentleman got lucky.
‘Gambler’ is a special song for Madonna. Fans of the Queen of Pop will know it’s one of the first and only self-written songs by the Material Girl herself — and she’s only performed it in her 1985 Virgin Tour. Recorded (along with ‘Crazy for You’) for the ‘Vision Quest’ soundtrack, ‘Gambler’ was never released stateside because of record label conflicts, so if you go to a Madge show expecting to hear it, you’re probably betting on a losing hand. Thankfully, there’s the Internet — so you can still hear it whenever you want.
The music business is as big a gamble as Russian roulette, which Cali-by-way-of-Ohio electropop act Rediscover examine in ‘Vegas.’ “Girl, I need to know right now if you’re having doubts,” frontman Wes Quinonez sings. “No, I’m not selling out / I’m just changing sounds.” The back-and-forth encouragement combined with the frustrated lyrics are not only inspiring and sigh-worthy from anyone who’s been there, but also really easy to dance to. Even though Quinonez laments, “I don’t know why I made this / Radio won’t play this,” radio should — it’s pop gold.
‘Leaving Las Vegas’
Sometimes, you can have too much of a good thing. Hence Sheryl Crow‘s ‘Leaving in Las Vegas,’ in which she’s had enough of the bad hands and drama. Accompanied by her guitar, she’s getting outta there: “I’m standing in the middle of the desert / Waiting for my ship to come in / But now no joker, no jack, no king / Can take this loser hand / And make it win.” Still, like most vices, chances are it’s going to call her back: “I’m leaving Las Vegas / And I won’t be back / No I won’t be back / Not this time.” The lady doth protest too much.
‘Money Don’t Matter 2 Night’
When you’re as rich as Prince and can bet anything you feel like, it’s really easy to say that ‘Money Don’t Matter 2 Night.’ The song has a vocal delivery similar to that of ‘When Doves Cry’ and addresses issues of poverty and greed — two things of which there are plenty in Vegas. Ultimately, the house always wins!
‘Waking Up in Vegas’
Katy Perry made a quintessential ode to vice with ‘Waking Up in Vegas.’ Perry describes the song as “basically a song about getting into trouble with your best friend or your boyfriend or your girlfriend — or whoever you’re with — and not having any ‘I’m sorry for what I did’.” Don’t apologize, because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas anyway. Just shut up and shake the glitter off your clothes!
Did you really think we’d leave Lady Gaga‘s biggest breakout off this list? The entendres are everywhere, endless, and they work: “I wanna hold em’ like they do in Texas please / Fold em’ let em’ hit me raise it baby stay with me (I love it) / Luck and intuition play the cards with spades to start / And after he’s been hooked I’ll play the one that’s on his heart.” And, of course, “I wanna roll with him a hard pair we will be / A little gambling is fun when you’re with me (I love it).” Gaga may not have a tell, but she has one heck of a Sin City anthem.