Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Story of the song | Chuck Norris for street, bedroom battles

Published:Sunday | September 25, 2016 | 9:00 AMMel Cooke
Damian Marley thrills the massive crowd at Reggae Sumfest in 2012.
Merciless
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As a martial artist, Chuck Norris has loomed large in the movies and on television. There are those who would remember him from classic martial arts flick, Way of the Dragon, directed by and starring Bruce Lee. It was released in 1972, a year after Jamaican standout movie, The Harder They Come.

In another decade, Norris was in army fatigues rescuing US prisoners of war left behind in Vietnam. Norris, played Colonel James Braddock in the Missing in Action trilogy, the first of which came out in 1984.

When he ran out of POWs to take back home, Norris went on the warpath against criminals in the American South as Walker, Texas Ranger. The television series ran from 1993 to 2001, and in the eight years Norris, as Cordell Walker, defeated all comers. He was partner with Trivette and in addition to the martial arts moves, Norris was also behind the microphone doing the theme song.

As the series was carried on free-to-air television in Jamaica, many would have heard Norris singing:

"In the eyes of a ranger,

The unsuspected stranger

Had better know the truth of wrong from right,

'Cause the eyes of a ranger are upon you

Any wrong you do he's gonna see

When you're in Texas look behind you

'Cause that's where the rangers are gonna be"

Being the enduring action hero that he is and how Jamaican popular music regularly references film, Norris has also been included in the lyrics of two dancehall entertainers from different eras. Merciless name-checks Norris in Mavis, from the early 1990s, and Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley has his name in Welcome to Jamrock.

In Mavis, Merciless uses Norris as a point of reference for what the women do not want in the bedroom. He has the lady coming in from somewhere that Norris is not in film, but he has no problem placing the martial artist there as it suits the lyrical purpose. Merciless deejays:

"Gal a fly all de way from Paris

An a tell me how she fraid a Chuck Norris

She want no man dat tump an box an kick

Mavis want a man dat is romantic

Well well."

Another action movie star who made it big in the 1970s and 1980s is also included in Mavis. Immediately following the section about Chuck Norris, Merciless calls the name of a man who was a boxer and warrior on the big screen. He deejays:

"Gal a fly all the way from Rome

An a tell me say she fraid a Sylvester Stallone

She really want a man to make she moan an' groan

Simone no want no man fi come bruk up har bone."

Stallone hit the big screen with the Rocky boxing series starting in the 1970s, then the Rambo Vietnam-based movies as a very tough fellow.

In Welcome to Jamrock, Junior Gong uses Chuck Norris as the bad man who wanna-be gangsters try to imitate. He dismisses them as people who "... pose like dem name Chuck Norris/And don't know the real hardcore".

For, as he reminds all, "Sandals a no Back-To."