(Very apropos in this case!)
Kung-Fu Fighting, Carl Douglas, 1974
In the early seventies there was a fabulous series of Bruce Lee movies: The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon, and then Enter the Dragon in 1970-1973. This started a resurgence of interest in martial arts that had not been seen since Elvis took karate.
In 1972 a show came on TV called “Kung Fu”, with our hero the Shaolin Monk, Kwai Chang Caine starring David Carradine. Travelling through the old west we see Caine’s ‘principals’ tested at every turn. We also flashback to when Caine was a young Monk in training under his blind master Po, and the Kung-Fu trials and tribulations that made him the man that he is. The most famous scene is when Master Kan says to a young Caine (who he calls ‘Grasshopper’),”Quickly as you can, snatch the pebble from my hand”. [Young Caine tries to do so and fails]. Master Kan then says, “When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.” I personally would have had to have been on my death bed to have missed the show – you had to watch it!
Not to miss a beat, Carl Douglas release “Kung Fu Fighting” in 1974 at the beginning of the disco era and toward the end of the “chop-socky film” era as it has been referred to. The oriental ‘riff’ that has become the symbol in N.A. of Chinese culture was featured throughout. Meant to be a ‘B-side” it was recorded at the very last few minutes when Carl was recording “I Want to Give You my Everything”. Good thing too, as it sold a million copies, the best selling single of 1974. (Yes, of course I have the 45!)
Carl tried to follow up with “Dance the Kung Fu”, but the moment had passed for the Jamaican-born musician who was already 32 years old at the time of “Kung Fu”. This was a case of being in the right place at the right time.