Songs About Gambling

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Posted 2023-06-08 by Steven Gfollow
This column was sparked by a newspaper article I read last week, which basically said that with the world's current economic status, nearly everything involving money is a gamble. Plus the gamble of diseases floating around, or even crossing the street with driverless cars deciding when and when not to hit people – life has become something of a gamble. Of course, this has always been the case; our caveman ancestors had to gamble on whether the sabre-toothed tiger they could see had already eaten or was looking for a human entrée.

And so, here we have songs about gambling.

Now, this list was easy to find songs for. There are so many! But I did get rid of songs that were just along the lines of "I bet you wouldn't (or would) do something" and focused on songs where gambling was a key component to the lyrics, even if it is not necessarily gambling with money. I also didn't include songs about Las Vegas.

So much fun listening to these to put this list together. And, as such, here are 15 songs about gambling, games of chance, placing a bet and anything else that fits in here!
'Don't Gamble With Love' by Paul Anka (1957)

Let's start way on back with one of the earliest modern pop stars (very loosely defined) and the B-side to the single 'Diana' (which is how I have it). Gambling with love – something too many of us have done. And this song is just a fun bit of early modern music.
'The Gambler's Lament' by Russell Morris (1971)

Russell Morris is known for only a handful of great songs, but his discography is filled with awesome tracks that sit on albums that he has been releasing consistently over the years. This is one of them, from Bloodstone, an album without a bad track on it.
'Tumbling Dice' by The Rolling Stones (1972)

I had a couple of Rolling Stones songs to choose, so I went for the most popular one, one that seems to appear on every 'Greatest Hits' package they release. While rock, this feeds into their blues origins nicely, and comes from the classic album Exile On Main Street.
'Desperado' by Eagles (1973)

One of The Eagles' best-known songs, a slower and sadder tune, and one which, while never released as a single, became one of the band's most beloved tracks as well. This is music that is hard to define, so we'll call it country-rock-balladry and leave it at that.
'Poker' by Electric Light Orchestra (1975)

Early ELO is an interesting beast, mixing pop and rock and classical motifs seamlessly. This album cut is one that only fans would know about, but I think it is well worth listening to.
'The Gambler' by Kenny Rogers (1978)

You knew this classic Kenny Rogers track had to be here. This is the gambling song according to most people, and is one of the first songs most people think of when his name is mentioned. Such a great song. And my son, who is 18, loves this track and knows all the lyrics, so it continues to resonate today.
'Lay Your Cards On The Table' by Racey (1979)

From the classic Smash And Grab album, this is one of so many fun tracks in that collection. It's either about love being a gamble, or the woman chosen being a gamble (it was the 1970s), but is still a good song.
'The Turn Of A Friendly Card' by The Alan Parsons Project (1980)

The APP were everywhere in the late 1970s to early 1980s, and Alan Parsons continues to release music to this day, but this is one of those songs that many people know of, but few know the name of or the band. It is a song that sits in the head and does not let go, with its classical music basis and glorious singing. Oh, I know technically this is 'Part 1', but the title is the same.
'You Better You Bet' by The Who (1981)

While I did say I was going to avoid "you bet" songs, this one is just too good to leave out, and there is an element of gambling with things in the lyrics, so I decided to keep it. This is one of only a couple of good tracks from Face Dances, but it is a great song nonetheless.
'I Take The Dice' by Duran Duran (1983)

Seven And The Ragged Tiger is my favourite Duran Duran album, and I like every track on it, including this one. The album itself shows their mode of pop music was based in a lot more rock sensibility than most give them credit for.
'Life's A Gamble' by The Radiators (1984)

Australia's own Radiators released so many great songs, and elsewhere this track would have given its name to this list. Anyway, this song is one of the truly great ones in their discography, and is one that could be applied just as easily to the world today. Is it timeless? Maybe…
'Let's Gamble' by Electric Pandas (1985)

Am I the only one who remembers this band? I hope not, because they had some good singles, and this is one I have on 12", so I've liked it for close to forty years now!
'Roll Of The Dice' by Bruce Springsteen (1992)

From Human Touch, this is a song that is passed by in the extensive list of songs released by The Boss, and that's understandable, but it is still a good song, and one of the more up-beat ones from that collection.
'I Can Bet' by Paul McCartney (2013)

I have liked a lot of McCartney's twenty-first century output, and it seems that, looking at critics, I am one of the few. The album New fell under the radar a bit, but I enjoyed it, and this is certainly one of the better tracks in the collection.
'My Lucky Card' by Billy F. Gibbons (2021)

The opening track from the Hardwire album , and it is a strong opener for an incredible album that surprised me with how good it truly was. This is a blues growler and it is still one of the best tracks in the collection.
And there we are – 15 songs about gambling in all its manifest forms. No 1960s, no 2000s, but still a huge range of years, which I hope gives something for everyone.

And I hope you enjoyed this list!

82690 - 2023-06-11 06:33:32


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