This story is really well researched, and just too good not to post! Here’s how NPR introduces the topic:
“There’s a tune that you’ve probably heard throughout your life. It’s nine notes long, and it’s almost always used to signal that something vaguely Asian is happening or is about to happen.
You know what I’m talking about. The tune’s most prominent role is probably in that 1974 song “Kung Fu Fighting.” It comes in right as Carl Douglas is singing that anthemic “Oh-hoh-hoh-hoah.”
(Just for funsies, here are some of the song’s lyrics: “There was 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.”)”
I’m sure you’ve probably guessed by now, but this little tune actually has nothing to do with China or Asia at all… Have a listen to the full story by clicking on the link below: