Carl Douglas: One Hit Wonder (1974)

Kung Fu Fighting
Single: Carl Douglas
Album: Kung Fu Fighting and Other Great Love Songs
B-side: Gamblin' Man
Released: 1974
Genre: Disco
Songwriters: Carl Douglas

"Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas reached the top of the British, Australian, Canadian, and American charts in 1974. It's one of the all-time best-selling singles. 

The track ranked number 1 on the UK Channel 4's Top 10 One Hit Wonders list in 2000 and the same channel's 50 Greatest One Hit Wonders poll in 2006. VH1 ranked it 100 of the 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders.

Disco Music

Disco music was new when "Kung Fu Fighting" entered the US chart at number 94  on October 12, 1974. It reached the top on December 7. Historians researching the first disco song to reach number 1 in the US generally recognize three songs. 

The first is "Love's Theme" by the Love Unlimited Orchestra, conducted by Barry White. It's an instrumental song that hit number 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 on February 9, 1974. "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)" by MFSB, another instrumental, was the theme for the American TV show Soul Train. The track topped the chart on April 20 of that year. 

And finally, the Hues Corporation's "Rock Your Baby," which reached the top of Billboard's Hot 100 on July 6. 

Martial Art Films

Martial arts was hot in 1974. A popular TV series called Kung Fu starring David Carradine ran from 1972-1975. Bruce Lee made movies like  Fist Of Fury and Enter The Dragon

Bruce Lee  Fist Of Fury movie poster

The music industry was catching on. Curtis Mayfield had a single on Billboard's Hot 100 on June 22, 1974, titled "Kung Fu." It reached the Top 40.

Carl Douglas
Carl Douglas was the first Jamaican-born artist 
to score a number-one single in the United States.
Allmusic biography

Carl Douglas was a Jamaican-born session singer. Biddu Appaiah, usually just known as Biddu, was an Indian-born record producer. They lived in London when they got together to make "Kung Fu Fighting." It was supposed to be a B-side.  

Carl Douglas
Carl Douglas

Douglas and Appaiah had been recording a single called "I Want To Give You My Everything." They needed a B-side, so Appaiah asked Douglas if he had any other songs, and Douglas showed him a few lyrics. They recorded "Kung Fu Fighting" in two takes when they only had 10 minutes left in their studio session. 

Douglas' follow-up single was "Dance The Kung Fu," which peaked at 48 in America and 35 in the UK. Carl Douglas never again charted in America and had just one more entry in the UK: "Run Back" in 1977, which went to 25.


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