Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Land of 1000 Dances

Written and first recorded by Chris Kenner (US #77 1962).
Also recorded by Danny & The Memories (1965).
Other hit versions by Cannibal & The Headhunters (US #30 1965), Wilson Pickett (US #6/R&B #1/UK #22 1966).

From the wiki: “Written and first recorded by Chris Kenner in 1962, ‘Land of 1000 Dances’ is famous for its ‘na na na na na’ hook added by Cannibal & The Headhunters in their 1965 version. (The ‘na na na na na’ hook happened by accident when Frankie ‘Cannibal’ Garcia, lead singer of Cannibal & The Headhunters, forgot the lyrics. The melody to that section of the song was also created spontaneously, as it is not on Kenner’s original recording.) The song’s best-known version was Wilson Pickett’s 1966 single release, from the album The Exciting Wilson Pickett, which became an R&B #1 and Billboard Top 10 hit, his highest-charting Pop song.

“Kenner’s original recording included a brief, gospel-influenced, a capella introduction with the words: ‘Children, go where I send you / (Where will you send me?) / I’m gon’ send you to that land / the land of a thousand dances.’ This 18-seconds was left off the single release to facilitate radio airplay, and the phrase ‘Land of 1000 Dances’ never appeared in any subsequent recording. The original Kenner recording also mentions 16 dances: the Pony, the Chicken, the Mashed Potato, the Alligator, the Watusi, the Twist, the Fly, the Jerk, the Tango, the Yo-Yo, the Sweet Pea, the Hand jive, the Slop, the Bop, the Fish, and the Popeye.

“A very interesting version of this song was made ca. 1965 by Danny & The Memories, who later became Neil Young’s backup group, Crazy Horse. ”

Cannibal & The Headhunters, “Land of 1000 Dances” (1965):

Danny & The Memories (predecessors of Crazy Horse), “Land of 1000 Dances” (c. 1965):

Wilson Pickett, “Land of 1000 Dances” (1966):

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