Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Kung Fu Fighting And Other Great Love SongsReleased: 1976Charted:
Douglas was a session singer for Pye records when he wrote this. He got the idea for the song when he saw 2 kids in London doing some Kung Fu moves.
In 1974 the Asian producer Biddu asked Douglas to record a song he wrote with Larry Weiss called "I Want To Give You My Everything," and Douglas convinced him to use "Kung Fu Fighting" as the B-side. They recorded "Kung Fu" in 10 minutes, figuring it was just a B-side, but the record label loved it and made it the A-side. After a slow start, it began selling and Biddu became the first Asian to produce a UK #1 hit. It went on to sell 10 million copies worldwide.
Biddu (From the Metro newspaper August 6, 2004): "Kung Fu Fighting was not meant to be a hit. Carl Douglas recorded something for an A-side of a single and every session was three hours long. We spent two hours on the first song and then took a break and I said: 'Quick guys, we need to record the B-side in two takes.' Kung Fu Fighting was the B-side so I went over the top on the 'huhs' and the 'hahs' and the chopping sounds. It was a B-side: who was going to listen? I played the A-side to the guy at Pye Records, Robin Blanchflower, and he said: 'Can I listen to the rest of the reel?' When he heard it, he said: 'This should be the A-side.'"
Kung Fu movies were very popular at the time, and this capitalized on the craze. Bruce Lee was a big star.
Douglas is from Jamaica. He was the first Jamaican-born singer to have a #1 hit in the US.
Of course this was used in the 2008 kid's movie Kung Fu Panda, performed by Cee-Lo Green and Jack Black. The original Carl Douglas version was used in the movies City of God (2002), Wayne's World 2 (1994), Beverly Hills Ninja (1997), Daddy Day Care (2003), and Bowfinger (1999).
In 1998 this returned to the UK charts peaking at #8 in a rendition by British dance act Bus Stop. Their version sampled Carl Douglas' original vocals. Bus Stop were production group Mark Hall and Graham Turner who later recorded as Flip & Fill. Daz Sampson, who later represented the UK in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, was also a member of the group.