Gambling and music go hand in glove together to create a well-crafted harmony, from Jimi Hendrix blasting from loudspeakers at a land casino to quirky tunes by Frank Sinatra. Music is always in the air when you up the ante at a casino. The harmonious relationship between music and gambling is hardly surprising when many top musicians have tried gambling and immortalized their experiences into songs.
Whether at the blackjack tables or playing a round of poker or two, musicians have an uncanny knack for creating tunes to accompany the gambling experience. Both music and gambling provide joy and entertainment, albeit through different mediums. The underlying connection between the two is even more noticeable when musicians enjoy gambling pen songs about their passions. Some musicians are expert gamblers, and here we will take a look at a few of the more famous names to grace the gaming tables at Las Vegas and Monte Carlo.
Hardly any other musician is as synonymous with gambling as Frank Sinatra. Ol’ Blue Eyes was part of the notorious Rat Pack performed in Vegas and developed a reputation for partying and gambling at the gaming tables. The Rat Pack included Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, along with Elvis Presley, created an inseparable link between music and gambling, which thrives to this day. The legendary crooner had many a flutter on the casino floor, and his patronage helped made The Cal-Neva Lodge, in Nevada, the most exciting place to be back in the day. Sinatra loved playing at casinos, and he turned on many other musician gamblers to try their luck at gambling.
Sean Combs – P Diddy
Hip-hop artist Sean Combs is a big fan of gambling and a dab hand at blackjack. He often graces the high limit tables whenever he visits Las Vegas. His attraction to blackjack led to him showing his true colours and making a splash at Harrah’s in Atlantic City, where he performed at the opening ceremony of a new selection of blackjack tables by the poolside in 2012. Diddy was invited to place the very first bet on the brand modern blackjack tables, thereby ushering in the slick new tables in Atlantic City.
Motörhead’s lead singer Lemmy was a legend in the rock community and avid gambler, having penned the classic song Ace of Spades. He is well-known for his music; however, his love for gambling never overshadowed his success as a musician. He showed his passion for gambling with a string of hits that detailed his experiences, none more so that Ace of Spades. That song has become a go-to anthem for the gambling community.
Jay Z is a more mainstream musician who is also a passionate gambler. He built his reputation as a singer, business entrepreneur, music producer and proficient gambler. A legend in the world of rap, Jay Z is the president of Def Jam Records and founder of Roc Nation. Jay Z prefers to remain out of the limelight by gambling in private settings with other celebrities and well-known gamblers.
He describes himself as a professional gambler; however, one wonders how often he practises the entertaining activity. At 50 years old, Jay Z remains widely influential in pop culture, with his tunes frequently hitting the charts’ top. Jay Z is still an avid gambler despite his numerous activities and commitments, and his favourite games are poker and blackjack.
No list of musician gamblers would be complete without the King of Vegas himself, Elvis Presley. Not only does he sing about gambling with Viva Las Vegas and his legendary concerts at casinos on the Strip, but he was notorious for his gambling escapades and action at the gaming tables. Elvis has done more to connect music with Las Vegas than any other musician. In the 1970’s he recorded a live concert in Vegas that was to be one of his last performances before he died.
His casino presence on the Strip was the stuff of legends, and Elvis thought nothing of losing thousands at the tables. His immense wealth meant he could afford to lose and keep playing. Elvis Presley is the quintessential musician gambler, and not even today’s rock stars can emulate his notoriety as a gambler. The legend lives on with a statue of the King in Vegas and numerous doppelgangers recreating his act.
Gambling and Music have always had a healthy relationship. Both have greatly influenced each other, and many famous musicians made a substantial impact on gambling culture. The songs they created and the hard-living lifestyle have become synonymous with the gambling world. Among all of the musicians put there, the ones mentioned above are among the most skilled gamblers, and their love and passion for the activity come out in their songs and day-to-day lives.