What happens in Vegas this weekend won’t just stay in Vegas. Instead, curious country fans can tune in to the ACM Awards , live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday night (April 3) at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. Will we be watching, too? You bet.
In the meantime, here are 10 songs that always remind us of Sin City.
“Ace in the Hole,” George Strait
Strait capped the 1980s with this upbeat song about having a little something up your sleeve. And he’s certainly played his cards right. He was named the ACM’s Artist of the Decade in 2009. Of course, his longtime Ace in the Hole Band brings that lively Texas swing wherever they go.
“The Gambler,” Kenny Rogers
Yes, you’ve got to know when to hold ’em and fold ’em, but there’s more than one ace here. While spring cleaning, heed this 1978 ACM entertainer of the year’s advice: “Every gambler knows the secret to surviving/Is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep.”
“I Always Get Lucky With You,” George Jones
Following a tumultuous career of good luck, bad luck and no luck at all, Jones married his wife, Nancy, in 1983. Their happy union coincided with this romantic tune, sung by a country legend who has learned to see the silver lining. This ACM-nominated song became his 13th No. 1 hit.
“I Feel Lucky,”
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Carpenter hit the jackpot with this sassy song in which she wins $11 million and heads straight to the bar. I always knew we could be friends. The rollicking piano propelled the single into the Top 10 and the savvy singer-songwriter won the ACM’s 1992 female vocalist of the year award.
“Leaving Las Vegas,” Sheryl Crow
Flying into Las Vegas, everybody chatters like crazy. But on the flight out, it’s just a little more despondent, sort of like this 1994 pop hit. Crow later connected with her country roots by lending harmonies (with Vince Gill) to Brooks & Dunn’s ACM-winning “Building Bridges.”
“Let’s Go to Vegas,” Faith Hill
After a smash debut album, Hill dispelled any notion of beginner’s luck in 1995 with this plucky invitation to the land of dangerous livin’ and tumblin’ dice. (No, not Tunica, Miss.) Already an ACM winner for top new female vocalist, Hill earned a dozen more — and later co-hosted the show.
“Ooh Las Vegas,” Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris
Parsons already knows the city will wreck a poor boy like him. After striking out with whiskey and gin, he sings, “The third time I lose, I drink anything ’cause I think I’m gonna win.” Harris stepped out with her version in 1975, earning an ACM nomination for new female vocalist.
“Queen of Hearts,” Juice Newton
With two gold singles (this one and “Angel of the Morning”), this singer-guitarist cashed in her chips on the country charts. Lady Luck rewarded her with an ACM trophy for 1981’s top new female vocalist, four No. 1 country singles, a platinum album and a country Grammy.
“Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House,” Garth Brooks
Brooks raised the ante for ACM entertainer of the year, winning that top category six times. This simple honky-tonker from his ACM-winning No Fences album reached No. 1 in 1991. How do you get a full house anyway? According to Garth, you just have to “fit together, if you know what I’m talking about.”
“Viva Las Vegas,” Elvis Presley
A vivacious single from one of Presley’s most colorful movies, this 1964 tune is essentially the city’s theme song. He and Ann-Margret filmed a few of the film’s scenes on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, right where the ACM will be hosting free concerts Friday and Saturday (April 1-2) leading up to the big show.