How to Play the Lottery According to Music - The Health Lottery
Music often comes from a place of strong emotion. We tend to gravitate towards compositions and songs which inspire or are inspired by passionate feelings, no matter if they are happy or sad. It can be said that gambling evokes a sense of passion in many: from the excitement of being dealt a good hand, to the disappointment of losing a bet, to the thrill of realising you’re holding a winning lottery ticket. So today we are going to explore various songs featuring gambling as the main theme, whether it is used as a metaphor, or referring literally to a game. These songs celebrate all the emotions that are brought up by taking a chance with Lady Luck, and maybe we can even answer the question of whether or not songs can teach you how to play the lottery!
Love, Life, and Gambling
Romantic love elicits some of the strongest emotions in us. Because there’s an element of chance in finding someone to love, it’s no surprise that romance is often compared to gambling in songs like “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga, “Tumbling Dice” by the Rolling Stones, and Robert A. Johnson’s “Little Queen of Spades.”
Another great example of a song comparing gambling to the ultimate game of love, Bruce Springsteen’s “Roll of the Dice,” talks about how much like gambling, sometimes you have to bet big to get a big payoff, but as with all bets, nothing is guaranteed. “Desperado” by the Eagles tells the tale of a lover who is always searching for something, but never finding it, often due to self sabotaging practices, comparing his search for love to a card game.
Although a lesser known music genre here in Great Britain, there are a couple of American country songs that are worth mentioning as they have most certainly become gambling music legends in themselves. Songs such as “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers, or “A Good Run of Bad Luck” by Clint Black are synonymous in the US with down and out cowboys risking it all on the cards. Not only are these classic songs that relate gambling tactics to life, but they are relatable to the audience, such as the timeless lyrics “know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.”
Taking a Musical Trip to Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, and Beyond
Of course, you can not talk about gambling songs without mentioning some of the classics, such as “Luck Be a Lady” by Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr. or “Viva Las Vegas” by Elvis Presley. These songs celebrate some of the most iconic gambling themes, from the celebration of Las Vegas to the idea that luck in gambling is much like a fickle woman.
The Dubliners created the song “The Galway Races,” to celebrate the horse races. While not exactly about gambling, it is often common to think of track betting when you think about the horse track. “Casino Boogie,” by the Rolling Stones, is another one, that while not directly related to gambling, is believed to have been inspired by the band members spending their days in the casinos of Monte Carlo. Of course this begs the question, would they play lotto online, and if so, would they make a song about it and what would it sound like?
Of course, not every song is about the joy of winning or flirting with Lady Luck. There are also songs that compare gambling to life and elicit a warning for the listener if they care to hear, songs like “Rambling, Gambling Willie” by Bob Dylan and The Clash’s “The Card Cheat.” Another song that audiences may be able to relate to is Iron Maiden’s “The Angel and the Gambler,” a song about being down and out, and a warning to quit the game while you’re ahead. If these songs leave you reflecting on your own problematic gaming habits, or those of someone you love, remember that help is available.
What Can We Learn from Music?
So can songs really teach us how to play the lottery? That’s for you to decide, but they certainly celebrate both the triumphant wins and down and out losses that can come from testing one’s luck on a toss of the dice, or the whim of a card. If this look at the intersection between music and gambling has put you in the mood for a flutter, you can have fun by playing the lottery online. Just make sure you’re buying your tickets from genuine online lottery sites and playing responsibly. Maybe you’ll be inspired to write the next great song about trying your luck!