Murray Head — “One Night in Bangkok”

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

One Night In Bangkok, a highly literary, fantastic song. Lyrics by Tim Rice, 1984. Sung by Murray Head.

“One Night in Bangkok”

Here's the lyrics:

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can't be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me
Yul Brynner Yul Brynner (1920 to 1985), a Russian-born actor, well known for his role in The King and I.
Bangkok, Oriental setting
And the city don't know that the city is getting
The crème de la crème of the chess world in a
Show with everything but Yul Brynner

Time flies — doesn't seem a minute
Since the Tirolean spa had the chess boys in it
All change — don't you know that when you
Play at this level there's no ordinary venue

It's Iceland… or the Philippines… or Hastings… or… or this place!
world's your oyster means somethings like having all the money in the world and can do what one wants. The phrase is originated from “The Merry Wives Of Windsor” (≈1600), by Shakespeare, Act 2, scene 2, 2–5. “Pistol: Why then the world's mine oyster, Which I with sword will open.”.
One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free
You'll find a god in every golden cloister
And if you're lucky then the god's a she
I can feel an angel sliding up to me
One town's very like another
When your head's down over your pieces, brother
It's a drag, it's a bore, it's really such a pity
To be looking at the board, not looking at the city
Whaddya mean? Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town…
Somerset Maugham (1874 to 1965) A English novelist, popular in his time. According to famoushotels.org There was a hotel named The Oriental that has suites themed after him. Somerset Maugham
Tea, girls, warm, sweet, sweet
Some are set up in the Somerset Maugham suite
Get Thai'd! You're talking to a tourist
Whose every move's among the purest
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine
One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can't be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me
Siam's gonna be the witness
To the ultimate test of cerebral fitness
This grips me more than would a
Muddy old river or reclining Buddha

And thank God I'm only watching the game, controlling it

I don't see you guys rating
The kind of mate I'm contemplating
I'd let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you

So you better go back to your bars, your temples, your massage parlours
One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free
You'll find a god in every golden cloister
A little flesh, a little history
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can't be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me

Locations mentioned: Iceland, Philippines, Hastings (a city at the southern tip of UK), Bangkok. Google Map

The lyrics are exceedingly funny and alluding.

Bangkok, is a very crowded Asian city. It is known for prostitutions, with exotic Asian flavors and styles. It is also very polluted. And, as a Asian city of Asian culture, it is filled with intrigues, swidles, and high-class competitions and power struggles. Temples, extremely rich in histories, pantheon of Asian gods and goddesses, intermixed with modern rich hotel suites and corruptions. What a exoticness. The despair and ecstasy, and tough guys tumble. You can feel a angel sliding up to you, and the devil walking next to you!

Note: there is actually a Temple of Reclining Buddha in Thailand, and it is the birthplace of Thai Massage. See Reclining Buddha.

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