Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Night Videos

I'm a big fan of Murray Head's no. 2 hit single from 1985, "One Night In Bangkok." So much so that back in the day I bought the 45 single and the original, pre-Broadway Chess soundtrack (which evolved radically by the time the show finally hit the stage). But one thing had nagged me for close to 30 years--sometime in 1984, well before Head's version got any kind of airplay--I saw a video for "One Night In Bangkok" air on Friday Night Videos, or WTBS' Night Tracks, that was performed by a woman. I wasn't really taken with it, but the video, arrangements and performance were distinctive enough that when Head's take took off, this other version stood out in my mind. And I only ever saw it aired the once. If, as all the stories insisted, "Bangkok" was specifically written for Head to perform in this new Broadway show, where'd this earlier version come from? The mystery persisted. But now I've learned that I wasn't hallucinating, that the singer Louise Robey did indeed cover it. How her "cover" managed to come out the year prior to the release of the more famous version has not been explained. Was she originally up for a role in the musical, only to get cut during one of the many rewrites? Did a licensing agent goof and make the song available before they should've? Did Head's version simply get pushed back because of production delays or somesuch? The world may never know, but here's the video that came first.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Toto Coleo.

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  1. Weird! I love the Murray Head version too, but have never heard of/heard this one. No wonder... she's a sexy girl, but the arrangement lacks the authentically "exotic" tone that made the more familiar one stand out from all the other synth-pop. Not to mention Head's sarcastic delivery. Robey's voice sounds like she's calling out floor numbers in a department store elevator...

  2. This is the same girl from Friday the 13th, The Series.