Thought I’d add a bit of spice to my role as a Tiny Pepper. I have a feeling I’m going to be kind of introspective and quiet in my musical choices this month, but then again, this little bit of biting Pop-Rock just might be the start of a trend.
Yeah, this is from a musical. We saw Chess in London as part of my senior trip to Europe, although “One Night in Bangkok” had been released as a single some time before the play was ever staged. The producers and the composers (Tim Rice on lyrics, Bjorn and Benny from ABBA on music) recorded and released the score to help finance the stage production. This song was a decent hit in the U.S., making it all the way to number three. And yeah, that’s Murray Head, older brother of Anthony Stewart Head (aka Giles to all us Buffy fans), doing a charmingly nasty performance. This was the character of the American in the play, which was extremely loosely based on the Bobby Fischer-Boris Spassky matches from the 1970s (you know, before Bobby went completely nuts). The American is supposed to be sarcastic, caustic, selfish and generally intolerable, and Murray does a good job of it. You can’t remove all the sympathy from the character, of course, because that wouldn’t be very much fun. But he’s got a nice edge to him.
I enjoyed watching Chess, and I still really like the music, but I doubt I’d ever see it again. The show itself is kind of dated, although the way things are going with Putin’s Russia, it looks like the Cold War may be on again, in which case Chess might be coming back into style.