51 Weeks: 51 Songs From The Past: Week 29: Murray Head – One Night In Bangkok

Something I like about James Bond movies is the dramatic opening scenes they all have. There’s usually a car chase, or some other kind of chase, where our hero comes face to face with danger. It’s ‘edge of your seat’ stuff from the moment the movie begins and is usually a sure way of getting you hooked on watching the whole movie. Did you know that songs can also come with a dramatic opening? Hold on tight while I land the music time machine in the year 1984.

51 weeks 51 songs from the past poster

Welcome, not only to 1984 but also to Bangkok. This is our first trip to this part of the world. Just in time, as well, as we welcome our guest singer this week.

Taken from the concept album and subsequent hit musical Chess, One Night In Bangkok became a worldwide hit. Probably not surprising given that it was written by Tim Rice, and the two male members of ABBA, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. It became a top ten hit in over 17 countries although, strangely, only made it to the number 12 spot in the UK. Perhaps the Britsih were not as keen on the musical as the rest of the world were?

There’s no surprise that the video for the song features Chess (the musical) heavily. However, it also took a leaf out of the book of some of the movies around at the same time with a rather dramatic and nasty ending. But, it was the dramatic beginning of the song that got me. I loved it, as it gives no clue as to what is to come unless you had heard the song or seen the show before. Yes, Murray may sound as if he’s singing the song through a microphone from the 1920s, but it adds atmosphere to the performance.

Do you have a favourite song that has a dramatic beginning? Share a link to that song in the comments section.

Thank you to everyone who left a link to a favourite song in the comments section of last week’s post. And a big thank you to Barbara and Kat who joined in with publishing a blog post of a favourite song.

Want to join me in building up your 51 favourite songs from the past? Leave a link in the comments section below and showcase your next song.

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69 thoughts

  1. Thank you, Hugh. I’d never seen the video, though I bought the double LP at the time. Great song from a classic concept album. The critics say its now lost without its context, but I find the whole thing brilliant and timeless.

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      1. Yes, I think it’s only second to Les Mis. I still get chill when I hear those opening notes 🙂 even after seeing the show countless times over the years.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for reminder of this. I’ll listen on Apple Music in a minute, and reminisce about trips I made to Bangkok in the 90’s.
    Did you ever lister to 10cc’s “One Night in Paris” . Now that is one dramatic song from start to finish ! 😊

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      1. That 10cc song takes me back to my student hitchhiking days in Paris! Not that I directly experienced what they’re singing about ! But it was the swinging 60’s. (Now the swinging 60’s refers to my age) 😉

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      1. I can well imagine. Even I shed a few tears when I heard Barbara Dickson sing the song. I’m not one for crying when watching movies or the TV, but the way Barbara sang that song was very moving.

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  3. I enjoyed hearing this song again Hugh. I didn’t realise who the writers were nor that it came from the musical ‘Chess.’
    My choice this week comes from a very familiar face in not such a familiar group! I love this song and think the beginning is very dramatic if not a little creepy!

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    1. The song was a huge success all over the world, Sarah, although it doesn’t necessarily mean the show it came from would be. Strange that it was the UK where the song did least well.
      Glad it brought back some great memories for you. I always enjoy it when that happens.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Got a lot of play in US, on MTV, when MTV was fun to watch!! I didn’t know it was written by Tim Rice…he was getting major musical chops in those days! Good thing you can’t see me right now…I’m rocking out to the song as I work at my standing desk!!

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      1. And coincidently, I heard it today while I was shopping. That’s the second time you out out a song that I heard the same or next day. Great timing..:)

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  5. “So you better go back to your bars, your temples, your massage parlours…” a line that I like to quote.

    It’s one of my favourite 80’s songs, despite the fact that I was -3 years old when the song came out. I loved hearing it on 80’s flashback shows when I was in high school in the early ’00s.

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    1. Exactly, Sally. I’m so very pleased to have experienced the music of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Once the ’90s came, I turned my musical ears off a little, as some of the tunes sounded just like a jumbled up mess (to me). Now, I could not tell you one song that is in the top 20. In fact, I’ve not been able to do that for the last 20 years 😀

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  6. Hmmm, I’ve never heard of this movie/musical or singer/song before. Honestly, just not my cup of tea, if you know what I mean. Then again, my choice for this week is I’m sure not many people’s cup of tea! haha … thanks for the prompt, Hugh! Have a wonderful weekend! … My entry … enjoy… or not! 🙂 http://wp.me/p3RE1e-3lK

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