Billboard #1s for the Week Ending March 2, 1985

This week’s Time Capsule!

Chart Title Act Weeks
Hot 100 Careless Whisper Wham! featuring George Michael 3
R & B Missing You Diana Ross 2
Country Baby Bye Bye Gary Morris 1
Adult Contemporary Careless Whisper Wham! featuring George Michael 4
Rock Mick Jagger Just Another Night 1
Album Make It Big Wham! 1

BangkokHeadThis week sees an unusual songwriting partnership create an unusual chart competition. Lyricist Tim Rice had enjoyed significant success in a musical partnership with Andrew Lloyd Webber, creating such shows as Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita. He had long wanted to write a musical about Cold War politics, but by the time he settled on a theme, Lloyd Webber was working solo on Cats. At the suggestion of producer Richard Vos, he contacted Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvæus of ABBA, who were looking for work outside the band. The three hit it off and created the concept album Chess, the blueprint for a musical blending the Cold War, international chess play, and a love triangle. While it took years to reach the stage, the album spawned a couple of successful singles. In the UK, the biggest hit was I Know Him So Well, a lovely song of romantic tension.

BangkokRobeyInternationally, however, a more unlikely track was the monster. Actor Murray Head had starred in Jesus Christ Superstar and landed a Top 20 hit from its soundtrack, Superstar [#14, 1971]. Rice cast him as “The American”, one of the chess champions. He narrates One Night In Bangkok, a tale of the chess match and a dissection of the joys and perils of the city and its long history. It entered the Hot 100 at #81 last week and moves up to #70 this week. Canadian performer Louise Robey took a very New Wave approach to the song, releasing it as her debut single under her surname only. Her One Night In Bangkok bows at #80 this week. It fizzled out quickly, however, peaking at #77 with only three weeks on the chart. Head’s version, on the other hand, picked up steam and entered the Top 40 in its fifth week. Two months later it logged one week at #3, becoming Head’s lone Top 10 hit and one of the biggest US hits for Rice, Andersson, and Ulvæus.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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