Song of the Day: Murray Head, “One Night In Bangkok”

The two B’s of ABBA, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, came up with the idea of writing a musical/concept album based on a chess match between American and Russian grand masters. With the help of Tim Rice, who had worked with Andrew Lloyd Weber on Jesus Christ, Superstar and Evita, the concept became Chess. They decided to release the album in 1984 to raise funds to stage the musical on the West End stage. One song from the musical, "One Night In Bangkok," was released as a single which reached #3 in the US and Canada in 1985. It was sung (or rather rapped) by Murray Head, brother of Anthony of Taster’s Choice (in Europe, Nescafé Gold Blend) coffee commercials and Buffy The Vampire Slayer fame, while Anders Glenmark sang the chorus.

I really liked the song, but soon discovered that the only way to get the song was to buy the whole album (the record store either didn’t carry the single or didn’t have it in cassette form). The song was great; the album, not so much. But that’s my opinion, and it clearly differs from that of all the other people that bought it and/or had seen the musical. I’m proud to be in the minority.

20 thoughts on “Song of the Day: Murray Head, “One Night In Bangkok”

  1. The American stage version was very, very different from the British version. I saw the show on Broadway. I prefer the British version.

    Now I’m seeing the production number in my head …

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  2. I really like this song, and didn’t know anything about it, so thanks for the information. I do hear this song at least twice a day on the oldies radio station here. 🙂

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  3. I first heard this song on the radio in Toronto soon after the album was released. Not long after I heard it I went as soon as I could to one of the big record stores on Younge St downtown Toronto and bought the double cassette. I liked the entire album and through the course of that summer listened to it many many times. I still have the cassette, but don’t listen to it anymore just like I don’t listen to any of my cassettes. “One Night in Bangkok” is not much like anything else on the album so maybe that’s why you didn’t care for it. I do like the big orchestral productions. Also like Evita and Cats for the same reason.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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