Go to main content

Sing City

May 14, 2009 | Other

The Las Vegas Review Journal listed the best Las Vegas-themed tunes. The Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman song "Viva Las Vegas" as performed by Elvis Presley tops the list.

"Las Vegas is an interesting place because of the nostalgia other people attach to it," says Ken Hanlon, director of the Arnold Shaw Popular Music Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "Of course, the people who live here don't seem to have that same sense of nostalgia."

Strangely, none of these is the city's official theme song. That distinction is claimed by George Dare, who says his "Shine, Las Vegas" was awarded the title in 1986. (A City Hall spokesman, however, calls it merely "an" official song. "There could be others," the spokesman says, although he doesn't know how many or what their names might be.)

  1. "Viva Las Vegas," Elvis Presley
  2. "Leaving Las Vegas," Sheryl Crow
  3. "Let's Go To Vegas," Faith Hill
  4. "Big in Vegas," Buck Owens
  5. "Sin City," AC/DC
  6. "Heaven or Las Vegas," Cocteau Twins
  7. "Here's to Las Vegas," Barry Manilow
  8. "Me and My Monkey," Robbie Williams
  9. "Sin City," Flying Burrito Brothers
  10. "L.V. (Las Vegas)," Clint Holmes
The comment on Elvis' song:

Churning like a freight train alongside the Strip, this twangy rocker would make a much better official theme song for Vegas than for Viagra. It perfectly nails the excitement of checking into your hotel room with Benjamins to burn: "How I wish that there were more/Than the twenty-four hours in the day/'Cause even if there were forty more/I wouldn't sleep a minute away."

Its organic feel is a testament to both the song's writers and singer, since its history is anything but organic. It began as an assignment from the filmmakers issued to several Brill Building pros in 1963, the title of Presley's 14th film already being in place. The late Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman -- who already had a track record with the King -- simply crafted the preferred "Viva Las Vegas."

"He was always surprised that it was the hit that it became," says Sharyn Felder, Pomus' daughter. "It was never a favorite song of his, by any stretch."

Not once, Felder says, did her dad even visit the town he so famously wrote about.

Source:Las Vegas Review Journal