You’ve heard the expression “the luck of the Irish.” Shamrocks, four-leaf clovers, leprechauns with their pots of gold and all that. With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, that got us thinking about songs about luck.

No, not John and Yoko’s sarcastically political “The Luck of the Irish,” the 1972 tune in which they sang: “You should have the luck of the Irish/ You’d be sorry and wish you were dead/ You should have the luck of the Irish/ And you’d wish you was English instead.”

Instead we offer a dozen songs in various genres about luck — enjoying good luck, suffering through bad luck and wishing for luck. Plus a lucky 13th tune because, well, this week we had a Friday the 13th.

 

GOOD LUCK

“Lucky Man”

By: Emerson Lake & Palmer (1970)

Fun fact: Bassist/guitarist Greg Lake wrote this, his first-ever composition, at age 12. This FM-radio staple featured one of the first Moog synthesizer solos.

Key lyric:

He had white horses

And ladies by the score

All dressed in satin

And waiting by the door

Ooh, what a lucky man he was

 

“Lucky Star”

By: Madonna (1983)

Fun fact: This was the future superstar’s first Top 10 pop hit.

Key lyric:

You must be my lucky star

’Cause you make the darkness seem so far

 

“I Feel Lucky”

By: Mary Chapin Carpenter (1992)

Fun fact: In this perky country favorite, the singer wins the lottery and celebrates at a bar, where she meets Dwight Yoakam and Lyle Lovett.

Key lyric:

The moral of this story, it’s simple but it’s true:

Hey, the stars might lie, but the numbers never do.

I feel lucky, I feel lucky, yeah

 

“Lucky”

By: Jason Mraz featuring Colbie Caillat (2009)

Fun fact: After this snared a Grammy for best pop collaboration with vocals, Mraz did a remix with rapper Lil Wayne.

Key lyric:
I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again

 

BAD LUCK

“Born Under a Bad Sign”

By: Albert King (1967)

Fun fact: This blues chestnut, co-written by Stax soul men Booker T. Jones and William Bell, was also recorded by Cream.

Key lyric:

Born under a bad sign

Been down since I began to crawl

If it wasn’t for bad luck, you know I wouldn’t have no luck at all

 

“Superstition”

By: Stevie Wonder (1972)

Fun fact: This was his first No. 1 song since his debut single, “Fingertips Pt. 2,” nine years earlier.

Key lyric:
Very superstitious,
Writing’s on the wall,
Very superstitious,
Ladders bout’ to fall
Thirteen month old baby,
Broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck,
The good things in your past

 

“Ironic”

By: Alanis Morissette (1995)

Fun fact: Even though the words were unironic, this song became the biggest single from her blockbuster “Jagged Little Pill” album.

Key lyric:

A traffic jam when you’re already late

A “no smoking” sign on your cigarette break

It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife

It’s meeting the man of my dreams

And then meeting his beautiful wife

And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

“Thirteen”

By: Danzig (1999)

Fun fact: This song was recorded in 1994 by Johnny Cash for his late-career comeback “American Recordings.”

Key lyric:

Bad luck wind been blowin’ on my back

I was born to bring trouble wherever I’m at

With the number ‘13’ tattooed on my neck

That ink starts to itch

Black gon’ turn to red

WISHING FOR LUCK

“Three Coins in the Fountain”

By: Frank Sinatra (1954)

Fun fact: Uncredited, Ol’ Blue Eyes sang this Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn tune for the movie of the same name; it won the Oscar for best song.

Key lyric:

Three coins in the fountain

Each one seeking happiness

Thrown by three hopeful lovers

Which one will the fountain bless?

“Gone at Last”

By: Paul Simon (1975)

Fun fact: Phoebe Snow and the Jessy Dixon Singers sang on this gospelly single.

Key lyric:

I had a long streak of bad luck

But I pray it’s gone at last

“Ace of Spades”

By: Motorhead (1980)

Fun fact: This gambling-themed full-tilt rocker became the signature tune for Lemmy Kilmister’s metal band.

Key lyric:

The pleasure is to play

Makes no difference what you say

I don’t share your greed

The only card I need is the Ace of Spades

 

 

“Get Lucky”

By: Daft Punk (2013)

Fun fact: With Pharrell Williams on lead vocals, this was fortunate enough to win the Grammy for record of the year.

Key lyric:

She’s up all night for good fun

I’m up all night to get lucky

“With a Little Bit of Luck”

By: “My Fair Lady” songwriters Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe (1956)

Fun fact: Sung by Eliza Doolittle’s dad in the Broadway musical, it also became a hit for pop-jazz singer Jo Stafford.

Oh you can walk the straight and narrow

But with a little bit of luck you’ll run amok