Top 40 chestnut "Kung Fu Fighting"

Yujan Chou

Senior Member
I was reading a film review of Kung Fu Panda 3 that concludes as follows:

"The actors, especially Black, Cranston and Hong, provide terrific vocal support for their highly expressive characters. But please, let's give that Top 40 chestnut "Kung Fu Fighting" a rest!"

I was wondering what "Top 40 chestnut" is?
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    "Top 40 chestnut" means "an old song that is/was ranked among the 40 most popular tunes." Radio stations often broadcast the "top 40" most popular tunes. "Chestnut" usually means "an old joke/story", but here it means "an old song."


    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    This is a combination of two idiomatic phrases:
    1/ The idiom 'an old chestnut' means 'an old favorite' - something popular or proverbial.
    2/ The best selling music charts would be broadcast as "the top 20" , so "the top XX" is an extension of the popularity principle.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    An [old] chestnut is a joke, story, phrase, action, song, mannerism, etc., that has been heard/seen hundreds of times and has become trite, stale, or clichéd. Thus the writer wants the song omitted.

    Top 40 = one of the 40 greatest chestnuts


    Senior Member
    American English
    I guess the implication is that this one was nearer number 40 than number 1. The reviewer is saying the acting is good, but the story is dreadful.
    Actually, Kung Fu Fighting is a song released in 1974 (the "chestnut" part). Wikipedia
    "Kung Fu Fighting" is a song written and performed by Carl Douglas and composed and produced by Biddu. It was released as a single in 1974, on the cusp of a chopsocky film craze, and eventually rose to the top of the British and American charts, in addition to reaching number one on the Soul Singles chart. It received a Gold certification from the RIAA in 1974 and popularized disco music. It eventually went on to sell eleven million records worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.

    More on that link, of course.

    You may not want to listen to it because as hokey as it is, it could stay will you forever – to the extent that as much as I don't like it, I just had to go listen again. :rolleyes:

    Edit: Ah, I see that self-correction has been implemented in post 8 while I was gathering details – sorry. But I'll leave the details for those interested.