Press Conference Lyrics, from Chess the Musical

It is no secret to friends that my favourite musical is Chess, by ABBA’s Benny and Bjorn, and lyrics by Tim Rice. Late last year a remastered 30th anniversary CD was released including three unreleased songs. Two of these turned up in later stage productions, ‘Der Kleine Franz’ – a Tyrolean drinking song and ‘Press Conference’ – where the American protagonist meets the press and lashes out. Looking back, its obvious that Press Conference was written at the time, as it forms the introduction to One Night in Bangkok. An instrumental version of Anthem was also included, perhaps to cover the final scene.

Rewritten versions of Press Conference appear in both the original London and Broadway productions, however the original concept album version is different. It features different verses, lyrics, arrangements, and tempos, and flies by at a phenomenal pace. This is probably to highlight the barrage of the press, but makes the lyrics here very difficult to hear. Sadly the bonus tracks are not printed in the bonus leaflet and so, after lots and lots of listening, I have created a half-decent attempt at a transcription…

PRESS CONFERENCE (CUT CONCEPT ALBUM VERSION)
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Music by Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson

<CACOPHANY>

ANNOUNCER
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE CHESS CHAMPION OF THE WORLD!!!

REPORTERS CHORUS
WHY DO YOU PERSIST WITH VICIOUS ATTACKS
UNGRACIOUS REMARKS RE OPPONENTS? IT SMACKS OF
A LACK OF CONVICTION, ADMIT
YOU’RE UNDER DURESS AND THAT YOUR
ONLY SKILL LEFT IS FOR MONEY, NOT CHESS

YOU SAY YOU WILL WIN BY SIX GAMES TO TWO
BUT DONT YOU CONCEDE HE’S A CHALLENGER WHO
IS A CUT ABOVE BOTH OF THE CRAP YOU’VE BEATEN BEFORE
SO AREN’T YOU PUSHING YOUR LUCK BY PREDICTING THE SCORE.

IF SOVIET LIFE’S AS GRIM AS YOU CLAIM
THEN HOW COME THEIR BOYS ARE SO GOOD AT THE GAME?

THOUGH YOU SWEAR THE AMERICAN DREAM
THE AMERICAN WAY IS CLEARLY THE BEST
YOUR IMAGE ISNT SAYING A LOT
FOR LIFE IN THE WEST
AND THOUGH RIGHT NOW YOU THINK THAT YOU’RE HOT
YOU’RE RIDING THE CREST,
THE DAY IS BOUND TO COME WHEN YOU’RE NOT
AND SO WE SUGGEST
RESPECT FOR JUST IN CASE YOU FORGOT
WE MADE YOU YOUR BEST
THE MEDIA ALWAYS GAVE YOU A SHOT
SO DONT BE A CLOWN
WE WOULDN’T WANT TO DRAG YOU BACK DOWN (ECHOS)

AMERICAN
OK, WHAT’DYA WANNA KNOW

REPORTERS
WHY DID YOU RISK THE WHOLE MATCH BREAKING DOWN?

AMERICAN
I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SAYING, WHAT ARE YOU – WHAT ARE YOU IMPLYING?

REPORTER
ALL YOUR OUTRAGEOUS DEMANDS, SELF-CONCEDE

AMERICAN
I DON’T SEE ANYTHING OUTRAGEOUS IN DEMANDING WHAT I’M WORTH!

REPORTER
THEY PAY YOU ALL THAT YOU ASK FOR AND THEN YOU DEMAND EVEN MORE

AMERICAN
ANY CHAMPION IS ENTITLED TO AS MUCH AS HE CAN GET, ANY WAY HE WANTS TO GET IT.

REPORTER
DOES YOUR OPPONENT DESERVE SUCH ABUSE?

AMERICAN
ALL SOVIETS DESERVE ABUSE!

REPORTER
BUT EVEN YOU MUST CONCEDE HE CAN PLAY

AMERICAN
HE IS THE BEST RED ON THE CIRCUIT, SURE, I’LL GIVE HIM THAT BUT…..

REPORTER
HE HASN’T LOST FOR A LONG TIME. HE COULD BE A TOUGH NUT TO CRACK

AMERICAN
LISTEN, IF HE GETS ONE GAME OFF ME, IT’S BECAUSE I WANNA KEEP THE PRESS INTEREST GOING AND…

REPORTERS
IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE WHAT WE’RE REPORTING
WHY SO DISPARAGING?
NOT VERY SPORTING

AMERICAN
ARE THE COMMUNISTS SPORTING, MY GOD!?

REPORTERS
TELL ALL THIS TO THE
UNITED NATIONS
ARE YOU AN ASSET TO
EAST-WEST RELATIONS?

AMERICAN
WHAT IS THIS? WHAT HAVE THE RUSSIANS DONE FOR EAST-WEST RELATIONS? HAVE YOU GUYS GOT ANY INTELLIGENT QUESTIONS?

REPORTER
WHAT’S YOUR IMPRESSION OF OUR LITTLE TOWN?

AMERICAN
RATHER COLD AND DULL, I MEAN, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?

REPORTER
WHERE WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE PLAYED – LENINGRAD?

AMERICAN
LENINGRAD WAS AN INSULTING SOVIET SUGGESTION.

REPORTERS
THEY ONLY TRIED TO BE FRIENDLY – THEY WOULD HAVE PLAYED IN NEW YORK!

AMERICAN
AWW COME ON – CUT THE CRAP. YOU KNOW AS WELL AS I DO IT WAS ANOTHER SETUP.

REPORTER
HOW COME YOUR SECOND’S A GIRL, LOVER-BOY?

AMERICAN
AT LEAST I’M UPFRONT, I SAY WHAT I THINK.
<PAUSE> WHAT DID YOU SAY THEN?

REPORTER
HOW COME YOUR SECOND’S A GIRL, LOVER-BOY?

AMERICAN
I DONT KNOW WHAT YOURE GETTING AT, BUT DONT.

REPORTERS
ARE YOU THE WAY CHESS IS GOING?
ARE THERE MORE LIKE YOU BACK AT HOME?

AMERICAN
ARE ALL YOU GUYS REDS? LISTEN IF I DO LOSE….

REPORTERS
YOU PROTEST TOO MUCH,
WE SEE YOUR PLOY-A
BIG NOISE TO HIDE YOUR FEARS
PURE PARANOIA

AMERICAN
IM NOT PARANOID, THEY’RE OUT TO GET ME!

REPORTERS
TELL ALL THIS TO THE
UNITED NATIONS
ARE YOU AN ASSET TO
EAST-WEST RELATIONS?

CHORUS
(SO) GIVE US A BREAK
WHADDYA WANT?
ITS ONLY A GAME FOR GOODNESS SAKE
(ONLY A GAME FOR GOODNESS SAKE)
(REPEAT x 3)
WHADDYA WANT? (ECHO)

REPORTERS
WELL WHAT DID I SAY?
HE’S OUT OF HIS TREE
HE’S FINALLY FLIPPED
AND BETWEEN YOU AND ME
HE’S NO HOPE OF RETAINING HIS CROWN
IN THIS FRAME OF MIND
IN FACT, HE SHOULDN’T HAVE COME HERE
HE SHOULD HAVE RESIGNED

MUCH BETTER TO QUIT
WHEN STILL NUMBER ONE
THAN CRASH TO DEFEAT
REPUTATION UNDONE
ALTHOUGH HE’S PROVED TO HIMSELF
IT’S A COMMUNIST PLOT
IF YOU ASK ME
IT’S MONEY TO BLAME
THAT STARTED THE ROT

IT’S SAD THAT THE BEST HIS COUNTRY’S PRODUCED
IS STRUGGLING IN FRONT OF OUR EYES
AND REDUCED
TO A MINDLESS ABUSE AND ASSAULT
ON ALL OF MANKIND
IN FACT, HE SHOULDN’T HAVE COME HERE
HE SHOULD HAVE RESIGNED

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