The song is about a white man who gets lost in Jamaica and gets ripped off every step he makes (by a whore, by a gang who steal his medal, etc.). It was inspired by real events that happened to 10cc's Eric Stewart and Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues
when they went on holiday together in Barbados.
Stewart recalled in the book 1000 UK #1 Hits
by Jon Kutner & Spencer Leigh, "Justin and I were on a para-sailing raft in the middle of the ocean and I was strapped into this parachute gear. I was towed behind a speedboat at high speed. I took off and waved goodbye to Justin. He was then left on the raft with three black guys, one Jamaican and two from Barbados. The Jamaican guy said to Justin, 'I like your silver chain, man, I'll give you a dollar for it.' Justin replied, 'come on, it's worth a lot more than that and it's a present from my mother.' And this guy said, 'If this was Jamaica, I would cut your hand off for that.' I came back and asked Justin if he wanted to have a go. He said, 'No, let's get off this raft as quick as we can, I have had some problems.' When we got back to England, I relayed the story to Graham (Gouldman) and we wrote a song around it."
Thibaut - Brussels, Belgium