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.
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.
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
By: Madonna (1983)
Fun fact: This was the future superstar’s first Top 10 pop hit.
You must be my lucky star
’Cause you make the darkness seem so far
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
By: Stevie Wonder (1972)
Fun fact: This was his first No. 1 song since his debut single, “Fingertips Pt. 2,” nine years earlier.
Writing’s on the wall,
Ladders bout’ to fall
Thirteen month old baby,
Broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck,
The good things in your past
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.
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?
By: Danzig (1999)
Fun fact: This song was recorded in 1994 by Johnny Cash for his late-career comeback “American Recordings.”
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
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.
Three coins in the fountain
Each one seeking happiness
Thrown by three hopeful lovers
Which one will the fountain bless?
By: Paul Simon (1975)
Fun fact: Phoebe Snow and the Jessy Dixon Singers sang on this gospelly single.
I had a long streak of bad luck
But I pray it’s gone at last
By: Motorhead (1980)
Fun fact: This gambling-themed full-tilt rocker became the signature tune for Lemmy Kilmister’s metal band.
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
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.
She’s up all night for good fun
I’m up all night to get lucky
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