Chess - dancefloor sensation!?

Chess - dancefloor sensation!?

Jun 1, 2008, 3:31 PM |

Last night, I (not pictured in the thumbnail, though that's some wicked hair) was at a dance club and, to my pleasant surprise, very early into my outing what should I hear blasting over the sound system but a remix of a song out of Chess: The Musical!


Yes, Chess, however indirectly, is a dancefloor sensation.


The song in question, it is not surprising, is One Night in Bangkok, originally by  British actor and musician Murray Head, was released in 1984 and used in Chess: The Musical, in which most of the music was written by ABBA members and the lyrics were done by Tim Rice.


I've actually heard a number of remixes and covers of One Night in Bangkok, and I'm still a bit baffled as to why the song has as much staying power as it does.  Its status as a dancefloor anthem, however, has been running strong for about as long as I've been alive, with its first dance remix coming in 1985, courtesy of Robey.


Perhaps all that is old is new again and people are taking interest in the new wave music of the 80s once more. That said, it's still strange that a song out of a musical, much less a more esoteric one such as Chess: The Musical should have this effect.


For your listening pleasure, if you can find these versions, you might be interested to hear what people have done with this song pertaining to this hobby of ours:


Murray Head (1984): It's the original version. Makes sense to start here.

Robey (1984): The first pull toward making this into a dance track.

TNT Party Zone (1993): A version that blends the musical aesthetics of 80s New Wave and 90s Dance music.

Cold War Remix by The Razor Skyline (1998): This track appears on a complilation called Newer Wave 2.0, which features a number of covers of New Wave hits by industrial/electronica artists, and it represents a further change in its style from poppy muical hit do having a bit of a harder edge.

Vinylshakerz (2005): One Night in Bangkok for the 21st century, this version adapts the song to the electro, trance, and house genres of dance music that are so prevalent in nightclubs today. This was the track that I was so surprised to hear yesterday.


There are a number of other covers and remixes out there, as well, these are just ones that I'm familiar with.

So that was a brief tour of the history of one chess-themed song and its journey from the 80s to today.