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Chess: Original Recording / remastered deluxe edition

chess

Chess was a 1986 musical notable for being the first major project undertaken by ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus (in collaboration with lyricist Tim Rice).

However, around 18 months before the debut of the musical in London’s West End came Chess the concept album which was highly successful, yielding two major hit singles with the UK number one I Know Him So Well (a duet featuring Elaine Page and Barbara Dickson) and One Night In Bangkok (sung by Murray Head) which topped the charts in many countries and peaked at number three in America. The album is now being reissued as a 30th anniversary expanded set.


This remastered deluxe edition takes the form of a 2CD+DVD set. There are a few bonus tracks appended to the second CD and the DVD offers promo videos and ‘Magasinet special: Chess’ a TV documentary broadcast in November 1984 on Swedish channel SVT 2.

The 3-disc deluxe edition of Chess will be released on 24 November 2014.



Track listing

Disc: 1 (CD)
1. Merano – Murray Head, The Ambrosian Singers, London Symphony Orchestra, Anders Eljas
2. The Russian And Molokov / Where I Want To Be – Denis Quilley, Tommy Körberg, The Ambrosian Singers, London Symphony Orchestra, Anders Eljas
3. Opening Ceremony – Björn Skifs, The Ambrosian Singers, London Symphony Orchestra, Anders Eljas
4. Quartet (A Model Of Decorum And Tranquillity) – Elaine Paige, Tommy Körberg, Denis Quilley, Björn Skifs
5. The American And Florence / Nobody’s Side – Elaine Paige, Murray Head
6. Chess – London Symphony Orchestra, Anders Eljas
7. Mountain Duet – Tommy Körberg, Elaine Paige, London Symphony Orchestra, Anders Eljas
8. Florence Quits – Elaine Paige, Murray Head
9. Embassy Lament – Tommy Körberg, The Ambrosian Singers, London Symphony Orchestra, Anders Eljas
10. Anthem – Tommy Körberg

Disc: 2 (CD)
1. Bangkok / One Night In Bangkok – Murray Head
2. Heaven Help My Heart – Elaine Paige, London Symphony Orchestra, Anders Eljas
3. Argument – Elaine Paige, Tommy Körberg
4. I Know Him So Well – Elaine Paige, Barbara Dickson
5. The Deal (No Deal) – Murray Head, Tommy Körberg, Elaine Paige
6. Pity The Child – Murray Head
7. Endgame – Murray Head, Tommy Körberg, Elaine Paige, Denis Quilley, Barbara Dickson, The Ambrosian Singers, London Symphony Orchestra, Anders Eljas
8. Epilogue: You And I / The Story Of Chess – Elaine Paige, Tommy Körberg, The Ambrosian Singers, London Symphony Orchestra, Anders Eljas

Bonus tracks

9. Press Conference – The Ambrosian Singers
10. Intro Mountain Duet (Der Kleine Franz) – London Symphony Orchestra
11. Anthem – London Symphony Orchestra

Disc: 3 (DVD)
1. Magasinet Special: Chess 1984 – London Symphony Orchestra, Tommy Körberg, Elaine Paige, Murray Head, Anders Eljas, The Ambrosian Singers, Denis Quilley, Barbara Dickson, Björn Skifs
2. One Night In Bangkok – Murray Head
3. Nobody’s Side – Elaine Paige
4. The Arbiter – Björn Skifs
5. I Know Him So Well – Elaine Paige, Barbara Dickson
6. Pity The Child – Murray Head

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34 responses to Chess: Original Recording / remastered deluxe edition

  1. Stefano says:

    Too pity the 12 inch version of ‘One Night In Bangkok’ is missing on this remaster.

    • Boaz Halachmi says:

      …and all other 12″ version. The best IMHO is The Arbiter. There should have been a 3rd CD with all the extra material issued on the original 1CD, “Chess Pieces”.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I thought the 12″ version was just the full length version and the 7″ was an edit – not the case then?

      • Mike the Fish says:

        It is listed as having pretty much the same running time as the LP version, but is definitely different. I only dipped into it on a 2nd record shop, but wasn’t impressed enough to buy it.

  2. Lazlo Nibble says:

    Agreed. On the other hand, they also left off Robey’s cover version, so thank heaven for small miracles.

    • Boaz Halachmi says:

      On the LP, “The Arbiter” is part of a 3-song medley, and because of that, the song is cut into two parts. The 7″ version is the only one where the song is full. The 12″ version adds EXTRA LYRICS not available on the album.

  3. Simon Long says:

    This looks very interesting indeed! I’m a huge fan of Chess – I’ve got all the international recordings that have been released, and saw it twice in London. This might finally erase the memory of Idina Menzel’s massacre of the part of Florence in the most recent “Chess In Concert” recording, which was truly dire. Most interesting is an official UK version of “Press Conference” – if this is the track I think it is, it has one of the catchiest tunes in the musical that was nowhere on the album. (“Hey, come back my friend – we’re only showing – home movies, nothing more – where are you going?” – one of Murray Head’s best songs). “Der Kleine Franz” is less interesting – a pastiche German drinking song that isn’t really a highlight. But a remastered version, some bonus tracks and a DVD – I’ll be preordering that immediately. Excellent news!

  4. Kiki says:

    If I remember well, there were some differences of mixes between the full “chess” 2Cds editions and the later 1 Cd reissue, which included some 7” Version… It should have been time to complete this…

    Answering to Lazlo : Robey was only a minor Disco cover version and has strictly nothing to go with the original cast… (You could also have mention the Whitney and Cissy Houston’s cover of “I know Him So Well”…)

  5. Boaz Halachmi says:

    I really hope the DVD is the “Chess Moves” VHS tape. It had all the videos mentioned but with Tim Rice doing introduction for each video

  6. Mike the Fisher says:

    Alas, no 5.1, and as others have stated the stay remixes/edits.

  7. Mike the Fisher says:

    *stray*

  8. Daniel says:

    “ABBA” re-releases – …boring. Wasted chances.
    Maybe in 5 years we will have a Super Deluxe Edition of “Chess”
    with the 12″ version of “One Night In Bangkok” ?
    Where is “When The Waves Roll Out To Sea” by Elaine Paige ?
    The Demo “Every Good Man” by Agnetha ?
    Oh I forgot – it’s surely not good enough for Björn & Benny….
    I have both still on my “Chess” MiniDisc in pore quality
    and I would like to have them better,
    but I’m sure they will never released.
    last question: Nobody ( Elaine or Barbara ) sings a demo
    of “Someone Else’s Story” back in theses days ?

    • Simon Long says:

      If you want “When The Waves Roll Out To Sea”, get hold of the Swedish cast performance of Chess – it’s on there as “Glom Mig Om Du Kan”, performed by Per Myrberg. It’s worth buying the Swedish Chess just to get it – plus it is the overall best sounding version in terms of audio quality, particularly if you can find the SACD.

      As for “Someone Else’s Story”, I believe it was written specifically for the Broadway production, which didn’t happen until 2 or 3 years after the original recording was made – I doubt there exists a recording with Paige or Dickson.

  9. André says:

    My all time favourite musical – remastered at last.nsure it’s missing a few remixes, mixes and other bits and bobs, but I’m pleased with what is being offered in the meantime. Thank you to whoever provided the impetus behind this remastering project!

  10. Edward says:

    the 12inch version of one night in bangkok follows the album version untill a break midway. Then follows some instrumental part in wich segments of the classical opening choir part of merano can be heard (the instrumentalisation is the one nigtht in bankok track with the vocals of merano through it, bit weird I agree), and then the normal bangkok track continues..

  11. Andy Hawkins says:

    Cool, though I always thought the CD already sounded pretty damn good. Be interesting to compare to this release

  12. Steven Roberts says:

    So let me get this right.

    No hi-rez. – no 5.1 – no 12″ or single mixes – and the bonus tracks that have been included are tacked on at the end of the second disc, rather than being placed in the correct running order for the songs?

    This may not be the worst anniversary/deluxe/any excuse for a re-release edition I’ve ever seen (that would be a tie between Peter Gabriel and Cyndi Lauper, should you be wondering) but nevertheless it represents a massive opportunity wasted.

    Roll on the 40th anniversary, I guess.

    • Simon Long says:

      The bonus tracks being at the end makes sense – it doesn’t change the flow of the album with tracks that weren’t part of it originally; if you want to insert them in order, create a playlist or program the CD player. Also, by the description of them as being by The Ambrosian Singers, it sounds as if they aren’t the full versions anyway – certainly Press Conference should also have had Murray Head and Tommy Korberg singing on it, as they had the majority of the lines. If they were full versions, it might make more sense to put them in the correct locations, but as I suspect they are just backing tracks from the theatrical performance used for illustration, and probably at a lower quality than the rest, it makes no sense to break up the original album with them.

      As for 5.1 – the SACD of the Swedish performance has a 5.1 version, and it adds nothing at all to the original. This is musical theatre; the action is all in front of you on stage, so there’s nothing to be gained from artificially relocating sounds to the rear.

      • Steven Roberts says:

        If I understood Swedish then perhaps I would listen to the 5.1 SACD, but since I don’t…

        As for the bonus tracks being placed at the end of the album – I seem to recall an interview with Benny earlier in the year when he mentioned it was the intention to release an expanded version of Chess with extra tracks that they didn’t have space for due to the time limitations of vinyl.

        I took that to mean they would be reinstated into the running order – where they would have originally been, had space allowed – rather than tacked on at the end.

        And I’d still like to see the 7″/12″ mixes included.

        • Simon Long says:

          Seriously – do not allow the fact that the Swedish version is in Swedish to put you off hearing it! It is the best sounding recording version of Chess by a significant margin, and if you already know the English version, you know what words they are singing anyway. Helen Sjoholm’s performance as Florence is the best on any recording of Chess – her version of Nobody’s Side (Lamna Inga Dora Pa Glemt) is stunning. The rest of the vocalists are nearly as good, and a couple of them were the Swedish singers on the original recording anyway. If you are a fan of Chess, you need to hear the Swedish version – there is also a DVD of the stage show available.

          I still think the tracks being tagged on at the end is likely to be a reflection of them being demos or other lower-quality versions that would sound out of place among the main running order – they are tracks which were written for the stage performance rather than the album, so wouldn’t have been recorded under the same circumstances as the album itself.

  13. Walter says:

    Nice to see “Chess” getting a remastered Deluxe edition yet it doesn’t look like a very exciting release.

    Even though the sound on the original CD is in good quality, it’s rather soft sounding so a remaster could be good. However, knowing the hit -and-miss remasters from the ABBA Deluxe Editions I’d need to hear it first before getting myself too excited.

    Nothing has been said about the booklet yet, will it be it any different from the 64 page that was part of the original 2CD?

    Video part: nice to have the promo clips on DVD and thus hopefully the single edit of “The Arbiter”.
    I guess the Magasinet Special will be about 30-50 minutes so a total of about 1 hour for a whole DVD is not making full use of that format is it?

    As for the bonus tracks.. what a laugh and how disappointing.
    As others have said, where are the 7″ and/or 12″ versions and where’s the Spanish version of “I Know Him So Well” as once published on Barbara Dickson’s Soundcloud page? I think Elaine Paige even played one (or more?) unreleased Chess tunes in her radio show.
    I thought the original Chess material could fill 3 vinyl albums but at that time that was seen as too much music / not commercial enough. So why not include those tunes now?

    The bonus tracks all seem to be instrumental or choir only… perhaps because the orchestra and choir already have received their wages and don’t get any new ones for this release while artists like Elaine, Barbara and Murray may have to be paid extra before they agree to have those previous unreleased getting released?

    A 2CD set could contain about 160 minutes (max.) and we get about 93 mins (org. soundtrack) + 10 mins of bonus tracks at most = 105 minutes… so still 50 minutes left for alternate or unreleased songs or some edit versions.

    Why didn’t they make a Pledge Music project for Chess instead of that ABBA book fiasco?
    They could have let us chose from stuff like:
    for the average fan / listener:
    – the original 2CD set
    – the original 2CD set & a DVD

    For die hard fans
    – the original 2CD with bonus tracks & a DVD (the 2014 release)
    – Chess – The Singles 2CD (incl. all 7 singles taken from the original album with b-sides, single edits and all! – only takes up about 105 minutes)
    – Chess Pawns – a collection of demo recordings / unreleased studio out-takes so we can enjoy listening to Björn singing “Hot Shit” in good quality :)

  14. Steven Roberts says:

    Given that we won’t see any 12″ or 7″ mixes on this release (aside from the single mixes accompanying the videos, presumably) – what could legitimately have been included on a third CD? And what single mixes are already out there on CD somewhere? (I know about The Arbiter single mix that appears on Chess Pieces, but what else is there?)

    Thanks!

  15. JJ Glebe says:

    Press Conference wouldn’t contain any singing by Murray Head or Tommy Korberg; that song is almost entirely sung by chorus members playing reporters, with The American/Freddie answering with spoken lines. Right at the end Florence has a verse (“smile, you’ve got your first exclusive story”) but the track list doesn’t mention Elaine Paige in that track either, so we can’t know what we’ll get there until we hear it.
    Generally I agree that this was a much teased but overall wasted opportunity.

    • Simon Long says:

      Ah – very true – I had Press Conference confused with Interview! That said, they are fundamentally the same piece of music in what is mostly the same arrangement, with different lyrics.

  16. peter m says:

    I, m a massive fan of both the original album & musical, but to be
    honest there’s little new here on offer.
    The bonus audio isn’t worth mentioning.
    The dvd would probably get viewed once.
    I have most of the various cast recordings,but am considering
    the swedish version, rather than purchase this.
    an opportunity wasted.

  17. Nigel Hall says:

    Indeed a wasted opportunity. I can understand B&B not wanting to release demo recordings (even though it would have been lovely to hear them in good quality at last) but it would have been *so* easy to have included at least the 7″ and 12″ versions yet to make it to CD at all (in addition to the two versions of The Arbiter there is the 7″/video version of Nobody’s Side (the version on the ‘Chess Pieces’ CD is a different mix), and the full length version of Merano, which is on the b-side of one of the One Night in Bangkok 12″). And since this seems to be a B&B sanctioned release rather than yet another cash-in attempt by Universal it’s even more disappointing. Oh well, roll on 2024…

  18. Patrick O'Donnell says:

    Just to throw in further confusion: there is a version of Elaine Paige singing Someone Else’s Story (though it’s most likely from a much later time). I know of a video for Heaven Help My Heart and another for Embassy Lament (though I’m not sure if the latter is official…) and would have liked to see these included. Was The Soviet Machine part of the original recording but omitted for space limitations, or was it included in later productions? It’s a stretch for its inclusion, but it’s such a fun number, I would’ve liked to see it included even as a new recording.

    Like the Ring Ring Deluxe Edition (pathetic videos choices!), this doesn’t really hold up to being as good as it should have been. I’ll buy it, but gritting my teeth as I do so.

  19. Gregg says:

    Any idea if the DVD will be playable in Region 1/NTSC?

  20. Eric says:

    I think I’d rather have had a Chess Pieces reissue on CD, given that none of the mixes/versions exclusive to that have been included on this. What a wasted opportunity.

  21. Walter says:

    Sound snippets are available from (Dutch) bol.com website. Here are the direct links for the bonus tracks:

    Press Conference:
    http://real1.phononet.de/bolnlmp3/d2/335/018/LOZEPXYBAGRHCLZAGXWHYLOKAMEB.mp3

    Intro Mountain Duet (Der Kleine Franz):
    http://real1.phononet.de/bolnlmp3/d2/335/018/LOZEPXYBAGRHCLZAGXWHYLOKAMEC.mp3

    Anthem (Instrumental):
    http://real1.phononet.de/bolnlmp3/d2/335/018/LOZEPXYBAGRHCLZAGXWHYLOKBPRW.mp3

    As for this Deluxe Edition not including more unreleased stuff that has been heard / available before on Soundcloud or BBC Radio I guess it’s B&B’s way to say it’s okay to download those songs and share them with fans as that will be the only way to obtain them…

  22. Adam Dawson says:

    I wanted to see Lo Creo Conocer (Spanish Version of I Know Him So Well) released on this album.

  23. Ruffus says:

    Isn’t it strange that the video for “Heaven Help My Heart” wasn’t included on either the VHS release “Chess Moves” nor on this deluxe edition DVD? The video does really exist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_EN7EXllUk

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