With the 2013 Billboard Music Awards coming up Sunday, May 19th at 8|7c on ABC live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, we thought it's the perfect time to pay homage to the many songs that have been penned in the city's honor. Some express the joys of hitting the jackpot and feeling grand. Others? Well, let's just say that not everyone leaves a winner.
Give a listen to the best 13 songs about all the spoils Las Vegas has to offer.
13. Sara Bareilles’ “Vegas”
The age-old story of “trying to make it” is framed by the second track off of Sara Bareilles’ 2007 debut, her first Billboard 200-charting album, "Little Voice," which reached No. 7 in 2008 and spent more than a year on the survey. Although the song drips of the painful sadness of shaping yourself in order to accomplish your dreams, Bareilles’ indisputably soulful voice goes a long way in making the song a lot more than just a sob story.
12. Elvis Presley's “Night Life”
Although initially intended for the soundtrack of the 1963 film “Viva Las Vegas”, “Night Life” didn’t see release until 1968 on “Elvis Sings Flaming Star.” It’s a shame that the song was shelved for a while because it features a schmoozy (wonderfully so) lounge band anchored by an occasionally out-of-control solo guitar.
11. Clubstrophobia’s “Vegas”
Who knew a tune that originated in Bergen, Norway could so perfectly capture the atmosphere in a city thousands of miles away from Club Agora? The video is particularly fascinating, and was nominated for Best Music Video by the British Animation Awards in 2004 for its jazzy, colorful execution.
10. Faith Hill’s "Let's Go To Vegas"
Nothing is more “country” than Faith circa-1995 gyrating in skintight PVC pants and a white t-shirt, just like in the video for the indisputably country and western tune about impromptu marriage. The uptempo, carefree track hit No. 5 on Hot Country Songs that year, marking one of her 22 career top 10s on the chart.
9. The B-52s’ “Queen of Las Vegas”
There is something romantic about gambling addiction—at least when it’s paired with a healthy dose of drum machine and punchy synthesizer. Cindy Wilson and co. returned to straightforward New Wave with 1983’s “Whammy” (following the David-Byrne-produced “Mesopotamia”) released a several delectable day-glo singles, including “Queen of Las Vegas.”
8. Gram Parsons’ “Ooh Las Vegas”
A perfect example of Parsons’ “Cosmic American Music”, this tune manages to convey the painful dilemma of a poor man gambling. Pair Parsons razor sharp lyrics (“the Queen of Spades is a friend of mine/The Queen of Hearts is a bitch”) with Al Perkins’ deft pedal steel skills and you have one of the finest songs about Las Vegas you could possibly ask for.
7. Cocteau Twins' “Heaven or Las Vegas”
Elizabeth Fraser is unintelligible on the title track of the Cocteau Twins final release for 4AD Records, but apparently in a more accessible way, because “Heaven or Las Vegas” was the most commercially successful album for the band. It rose to No. 9 on Alternative Songs in 1991. While most tracks about Las Vegas are based on the inherent loud, glittery nature of the city, the Twins focus on the aesthetic beauty of a city isolated in the desert.