This #1 Billboard chart topper from 1974 was supposedly banged out in ten remaining minutes of studio time. Its novelty status has outlived its haphazard origins. 2011 finds it being reappraised in the name of political correctness.
The American conservative magazine, National Review, reported in its June 6 issue that a bar band musician, Simon Ledger, had the handcuffs slapped on him on the Isle of Wight, for singing this tune. The charge wasn’t really a charge, but “suspicion of racially aggravated harassment.”
Apparently, some Chinese people going by the club took offence (and maybe, rightly so) to the lyric about “funky Chinamen from funky Chinatown.”
Of course, the magazine couldn’t resist making this crack about multiculturalism going too far, quoting another line from the song: “It’s a little bit frightening.”