It may be hard for a lot of country music lovers to fathom, but we’re nearing the end of Kenny Rogers’s touring days. Rogers is in the midst of a farewell tour, and we’re now less than two months away from his final show. That show will be held at the Casino Ballroom in Hampton, New Hampshire, and should of course be a special event. It’s not a massive venue, but it will be an intimate setting where a small number of loyal fans will get to see hear the last notes Rogers ever plays on a stage.
It’s impossible to say what those notes will be, but it’s a decent bet that the last words will be, ”There’ll be time enough for counting, when the dealin’s done.” Those are the final words to “The Gambler,” probably the most famous Rogers track of all time, and certainly an appropriate ending to a finale show at a Casino Ballroom.
In honor of Rogers and his farewell tour, we thought we’d take a quick look at a few other artists who have followed suit with similarly deep connections to casino culture. So throw on “The Gambler” and read on for a few industry figures who may understand Rogers’s passion better than most of us.
Rogers probably has the title of most famous gambling song locked down with “The Gambler,” but Dylan had a few major songs deal with similar subject matter. “Delia,” from 1993’s “World Gone Wrong” concerned a character named Delia who “was a gambling girl” and “laid her money down.” And “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie” may have as good an argument as any for the next most famous gambling track behind “The Gambler.” Dylan is famous for his lyrical narratives – after all, the man won the Nobel Prize for literature – and there are always stories to tell about gambling.
We may not hear too much from him these days, but the rap star appears to have an abiding love of casino culture. In his case, it’s not manifested so much through themes and lyrics, but rather through actual activity at casinos. Nelly is a known celebrity poker player, having competed in the World Series of Poker and even appeared at Casino de Monte Carlo – perhaps the most famous casino in the world outside of Las Vegas.
Guns N’ Roses
The classic rock group’s signature song, “Welcome To The Jungle,” could be construed as an anthem to Las Vegas, though it was supposedly meant to be about the allure of Hollywood. More importantly, though, GNR has actually licensed out its own material for the enhancement of casino games. Online gaming sites are always launching new features and themes for their games, and accordingly they’ve looked to establish partnerships with a few major music acts. Guns N’ Roses now has its own online slot reel!
If Kenny Rogers owns the best or most famous gambling song with “The Gambler,” Sinatra may just have the title of artist most closely associated with Las Vegas – though Elvis Presley may have a legitimate argument as well. Sinatra played the part of Danny Ocean in the original Ocean’s 11, and his take on the 1950 Frank Loesser song “Luck Be A Lady” is right up there with the most well-known casino-related songs.
This is a little bit of a different pick, because Lady Gaga is most closely associated with casino culture through a song that has nothing to do with it. Her biggest ever hit is probably “Poker Face,” and though it’s more about romance and relationships than actual poker, it’s still managed to forge an association. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Gaga often dresses like a Cirque du Soleil character and has played many big shows in Vegas.
It’s one of the truly fascinating things about music that you can put together this sort of club thanks to a cultural or lyrical theme. It’s probable that none of these artists either directly inspired or were directly influenced by Rogers during his career. And yet they may all come to mind together when you think about the undying link between musicians and casino culture.