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Kung Fu Fighting
Song

Kung Fu Fighting

Carl Douglas
Album:

Song Meaning and Background of Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas


Kung Fu Fighting, the iconic martial arts theme to the 2008 movie of the same name, has become a cultural icon. The funky disco track by Carl Douglas was a worldwide hit, and its enduring popularity has helped to introduce martial arts to a wide audience.


In addition to showcasing the versatility of the disco genre, the song’s lyrics also address a range of themes that appeal to the interests of a broad array of audiences. Its uplifting message of personal triumph over adversity has resonated with people across the world.


In addition, the lyrics reference self-defense techniques, which echoes the underlying philosophy of martial arts in that combat skills are taught not to promote violence, but to equip individuals with the ability to protect themselves and those around them.


The song’s quintessential Oriental riff—a nine-note musical phrase that is used to represent all things Asian—is an instantly recognizable touchstone that has since been adopted by numerous other artists. Robyn Hitchcock, for instance, covered the song on her 1990 album Alvin Lives (In Leeds). More recently, Peaches recorded a version of the tune on her 1995 album Fancypants Hoodlum. And the song was featured in the 2008 kid’s movie Kung Fu Panda, performed by CeeLo Green and Jack Black.


Although many people consider the song to be a one-hit wonder, the track has made an important contribution to music history. Its fusion of disco rhythms with martial arts references set a precedent for experimentation within the genre, and its enduring popularity continues to expand the martial arts’ reach.


Lyrics of Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas


Oh-hoh-hoh-hoah

Oh-hoh-hoh-hoah

Oh-hoh-hoh-hoah

Oh-hoh-hoh-hoah

 

[Chorus:]

Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting

Those kids were fast as lightning

In fact, it was a little bit frightening

But they fought with expert timing

 

There were funky China men from funky Chinatown

They were chopping them up

They were chopping them down

It's an ancient Chinese art

And everybody knew their part

From a feigning to a slip

And a kickin' from the hip

 

Everybody was Kung Fu fighting

Those kids were fast as lightning

In fact it was a little bit frightening

But they fought with expert timing

 

There was funky Billie Chin and little Sammy Chong

He said, here comes the big boss, let's get it on

We took the bow and made a stand

Started swaying with the hand

A sudden motion made me skip

Now we're into a brand new trip

 

Everybody was Kung Fu fighting

Those kids were fast as lightning

In fact it was a little bit frightening

But they did it with expert timing

 

Oh-hoh-hoh-hoh, ha

Oh-hoh-hoh-hoh, ha

Oh-hoh-hoh-hoh-ha

Keep on, keep on, keep on

Sure enough

 

Everybody was Kung Fu fighting

Those kids were fast as lightning

In fact it was a little bit frightening

Make sure you have expert timing

Kung Fu fighting, had to be fast as lightning...

Release Date

1974

Songwriter/s

Carl Douglas

Producer/s

Biddu Appaiah

Label/s

Pye (UK and Canada), 20th Century Fox (US), EMI (Australia)

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