One Night in Bangkok was written, by Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, and Tim Rice for a musical called Chess. Chess, which was meant to be a satire of the Cold War, tells the story of two chess champions, one an American and one a Russian. One Night in Bangkok opens the second act as the American, who has now retired from playing professionally, is hired to provide commentary for a chess championship that is being held in Bangkok. As is evident from the lyrics, he is not impressed by the city. In fact, the American was so unimpressed by the city that the song was banned in Thailand and officially condemned by the Thai government.
The song was performed by actor Murray Head, who played the American in the Broadway production. The single proved to be an unexpected hit, reaching number three in Canada and the U.S. and number twelve in the UK. It’s gone on to have a long life outside of Broadway, being successfully covered by several different groups.
As of this writing, it’s still officially banned in Thailand.