We’re betting a fair majority of adults have set foot in a casino or have enjoyed a flirt with fruit machines at some point in their lives. We also bet that anyone who’s been to a casino will be all too familiar with the ethereal, cheery blinks and blubs of the slot machines that are attractive to game fans. Indeed, the casinos have realised quite how powerful upbeat music can be for their gamblers, or what an encouraging effect the winning tones can have.
And the loose, fast and audacious world of gambling is heavily attractive to one type of creative: musicians. From Kenny Rogers to Motorhead, a whole hosts of musicians have attempted to put the exhilaration (and anguish) in song form. Casinos are the sort of place that sees the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elton John and Mariah Carey play to sellout crowds in the world famous Caesar’s Palace in Vegas. But the Las Vegas strip also has a healthy and thriving rock scene; inspiring some serious talent in the form of The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Slaughter and Five Finger Death Punch. These bands are all indicative of the local Las Vegas dive bars, featuring a blend of hard and alt rock.
And that’s not where the music stops. Many a band have been inducted into the Las Vegas equivalent of the Hall of Fame, with iconic slot machines venerating their music. These are some of our favourites:
The Starchild, The Demon, The Spaceman and The Catman – apart from those dwelling under rocks, most people have probably heard these names; they exude the liberating passion that glam rock can inspire. Notorious on and off the stage, Kiss make for an ideal couple for casinos everywhere. Having said that, for all the band’s outlandish behaviour, we’re pretty sure the health and safety would have a thing or two to say about any pyrotechnics in the Kiss music videoslot upon a big win…
2. Michael Jackson
Billie Jean might not be his lover, but there’s no denying the musical genius of this man. His hit music video ‘Thriller’ changed the way the music industry operated, and so he justifiably makes our list. The King of Pop had a torrid (and perhaps unfair) time with his public image, from the Neverland allegations to the rare skin disorder, Vitiligo, Jackson has certainly lived an interesting life. And he’s been canonised in several a casino, with Michael Jackson fans travelling far and wide to play his slot machine for some moon walking, white gloved fun.
3. Jimi Hendrix
Named the greatest guitarist in history by the Rolling Stone magazine, Hendrix changed the concept of rock throughout the Sixties until his death in 1970. Boasting a purple theme (for obvious reasons) the Hendrix slot machine has an altogether Woodstock vibe. You can imagine the appeal for American gamblers to win it big to the sound of ‘Star spangled banner’. Indeed, it takes a special sort of man using just his guitar and vocals to captivate some 200,000 people at Woodstock, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience will continue to captivate listeners for years to come.
4. Guns ‘N’ Roses
It would be downright slanderous to ignore the influence of Guns ‘n’ Roses on this list. Coming to prominence in the 80s and 90s they were one of the last standing bastions of hard rock against the rising tide of dance and pop metal. Dirty, sleazy but more importantly, honest, their music typified everything rock should be. With standout riffers in Izzy Stradlin and Slash and Axl Rose’s primal voice beautifully screeching about sex, drugs and alcohol, their infamy was universal and capable of soliciting a cult like following from their fans. And talks of a reunion look set to provide those fans with a blast from the past.
5. Ludwig Van Beethoven
A curveball compared to the rest of this list, but it makes you wonder what genre would have drawn the raw musical genius of this 18th Century composer. He was certainly a master of volume and tension, and would have had the Viennese audience positively clapping their hands politely, but a quick stroll down biography lane reveals that Beethoven had a rocker’s attitude. And it would appear that the timelessness of his symphonies has found its home in casinos everywhere. The thrill of the opening bursts in his renowned Symphony No.5, is certainly enough to get your heart racing.
So there you have it, 5 great musicians celebrated by the care-free, thrilling world of casinos.