When Popstars Use Casinos as Metaphors for Their Songs

  • Reading time:4 mins read
  • Post category:Music Discussion

Popstars get their inspiration from many different places, but there’s no doubt gambling and the casino culture can be a fantastic muse to songwriters. Over the years, some of the most famous songs ever written have had paid their respects to the world of casinos and wagering. In this article, we will look at some of the best. 

The list below includes songs that are directly inspired by the casino realm and even a few bona fide pop classics that simply take inspiration from the theme and then run with it. In fact, the top two on our list fall into this latter category, using the casino world including poker, online slots, roulette, and Las Vegas as a metaphor for something else. 

Let’s get to the list:

Katy Perry – Waking Up in Vegas

One of pop icon Katy Perry’s most famous songs, “Waking Up in Vegas” was released as the fourth single on her second album, One of the Boys. It says a lot about the quality of that album that a song of this strength was only the fourth single. “Waking Up in Vegas” is a modern pop classic that pays homage to the well-known phrase, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” The song is about gambling the night away on the famed Las Vegas Strip and reached number 9 on the mainstream chart in the United States. 

Poker Face – Lady Gaga

Another song that takes inspiration from a classic gambling phrase is “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga. One of the most beloved pop songs of the 21st century, this is arguably Gaga’s signature tune and still her most famous song. It was the second single from her debut album, Fame, and rocketed to the top of the charts in the United States and 20 other countries. A poker face is a gambling term related to being able to hide intentions during a poker game. Lady Gaga uses it as a metaphor for how boyfriends can hide things from her using their own poker face. 

Motörhead – Ace of Spades

Moving away from rock and into the realm of heavy metal we find Motörhead’s classic Ace of Spades. As one of the pre-eminent hard rock band, Ace of Spades has a prominent place in the history of music. It is also one of the most famous songs that talks about something to do with gambling. This time, the highest value card in a deck, the ace of spades. This is punky rock music that has become Motörhead’s defining song. Lead singer Lemmy uses the ace of spades as a metaphor for being the best at everything… how rock and roll is that? He also wanted to fit as many gambling references into one song as possible, we think he succeeded. 

Rolling Stones – Casino Boogie

It’s hardly a surprise to see the Rolling Stones have a song about gambling considering their 500-year-long career. Ok, it’s really 60-years, but the point stands. The Rolling Stones have been around a long time and have covered just about every subject you can think of. In the classic Casino Boogie, Mick Jagger brings all his familiar swing and groove to lead singer duties, while Keith Richards’ guitar whines and growls in a song inspired by casino trips to Monte Carlo.

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