It’s funny how life takes you where you never think you’d go isn’t it? A couple of decades ago, I was a DJ at an alternative rock radio station and one of the songs we had in heavy rotation was Murray Head’s “One Night in Bangkok“. I loved the song, and used to play it all the time. But, never in a million years did I think I’d ever visit the city, let alone spend more than 10 years of my life living in it.
Fast forward 25 years and Murray Head’s ‘One Night in Bangkok‘ is a classic song, even here in the city. Odd when you think about it, as the lyrics make little sense and the video makes it look like Murray Head never actually went to Bangkok as everyone in it looks Chinese or Cambodian.
The music too is odd. Written by a couple of former ABBA members, it has nothing to do with Thailand whatsoever, with no roots in Thai music, and sounding more Middle Eastern than Thai. No wonder really the song was banned in Thailand, with a government body saying its lyrics “cause misunderstanding about Thai society and show disrespect towards Buddhism.”
Yep, I’d say that’s probably true. (Although it’s not banned now, as far as I can see. I’ve heard it more time than I can count not only in Bangkok but other places in Thailand too).
Still, for nostalgia, it’s nice to occasionally listen to “One Night in Bangkok“, with the idea that, even if it’s not remotely real, it’s still held up quite nicely for pure entertainment quality.