Viva Las Vegas: A brief history of Vegas and music

Bellagio Fountains On The Las Vegas Stri” (CC BY 2.0) by

Las Vegas is one of the world’s most popular destinations. There’s an almost endless supply of casinos and entertainment venues. The sheer amount of these places means it attracts visitors from across the world. That has resulted in it being referenced regularly across popular culture, most notably in the music industry. Let’s explore why this is the case and some examples of the songs celebrating the famous gaming and gambling haven.

Why Las Vegas?

Research indicates that 42 million people visited Vegas in 2019, meaning that it’s still prominent in the hearts and minds of many people. Gaming developers have quickly utilised elements of it in online representations of classic casino games. A quick delve into the online world will reveal several providers are trying to replicate that experience we mentioned above. If you visit sites like Pink Casino, there’s evidence that developers love transporting you to Nevada. The sounds you hear and the sights you see are two elements of that. In addition, one of the popular games is Rock Vegas. On a basic level, they are almost certainly targeting fans of both rock and Vegas. That’s a link that has been prominent throughout the recent history of both.

The kings of rock and roll

As we move on to Vegas references in the music world, there is only one place to start. Viva Las Vegas by Elvis Pressley is a song from 1964 that celebrates everything about it. It has since been covered by several other artists, most notably by Dead Kennedys. Looking closer at the song, it feels like the line: “Oh, there’s blackjack and poker and the roulette wheel” should be from an advert promoting any of Vegas’s 60 casinos.

Almost 15 years after Viva Las Vegas, came a classic from rock legends ACDC. It feels like two elements of popular culture will forever be linked. They both love being anti-establishment, and both like to put on an almost flamboyant show. An ACDC gig in Vegas has proven to be an incredible night for many rock fans.

A cultural impact that has travelled the world

Now we move on to a less obvious example. We move across to Europe with a visit to the Scandinavian country of Norway. The song ‘Vegas’ from Clubstrophobia, an almost genre-defying band. A memorable line is: “if you’re going to Vegas, then leave all your worries behind.”

Will this relationship between Vegas and music continue?

As we have already said, tourists across the people keep flying to Vegas, so it should stay in the heart of the public consciousness. That fact alone will mean it remains an inspiration for songwriters. In more recent history, Katy Perry has sung about ‘waking up in Vegas’ whilst fellow pop star Lady Gaga has performed there several times. Like Lady Gaga, many rock and pop stars see it as a fantastic place to entertain, and the crowd celebrate anyone who puts on a show. That additional factor alone will mean the relationship between music and Vegas will only grow stronger.