One Night in Bangkok

“Bangkok, Oriental setting, and the city don’t know that the city is getting the creme de la creme of the chess world in a
show with everything but Yul Brynner…”

Show of hands…when Murray Head’s “One Night in Bangkok” first hit our ears in the spring of 1985, how many of you knew it was from a new West End musical?

Sure enough, the Asian-themed pop ditty was the first single released from the concept album for Chess, a musical about rival American and Soviet chess players squaring off in the World Championships.

So why did its lead single become a huge pop sensation? Well, because the songwriters were none other than Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.

Who, you ask? None other than the “B” and “B” in ABBA. And those boys know how to write hits.

And it didn’t hurt that the singer was none other than Murray Head, who had Billboard success back in 1969, singing “Superstar” from Jesus Christ Superstar.

“One Night in Bangkok” was a synth-heavy, upbeat pop jam, making it totally perfect for our favorite decade. And the double entendre lyrics made it even more fun:

“I don’t see you guys rating the kind of mate I’m contemplating.
I’d let you watch, I would invite you, but the queens we use would not excite you.”

“One Night in Bangkok” skyrocketed up the Billboard charts over the course of its 20-week run, peaking at #3 in May 1985…making it the highest-charting song from a musical in the Hot 100 since “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In” from Hair hit #1 in 1969. And it’s the only musical-based song to chart in the top 30 since.

If that weren’t enough, the song’s legacy was truly cemented in 2011’s The Hangover Part II, when Mike Tyson belted out his own rendition. (Refresh your memory here.)

“I can feel the devil walking next to me.”

We ♥ One Night in Bangkok.

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~ by weheart80s on June 28, 2017.

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