Land of a Thousand Dances
|"Land of a Thousand Dances"|
|Single by Cannibal and the Headhunters|
|from the album Land of 1000 Dances|
|B-side||"I'll Show You How to Love Me"|
"Land of a Thousand Dances" (or "Land of 1000 Dances") is a song written and first recorded by Chris Kenner in 1962. The song is famous for its "na na na na na" hook, which Cannibal & the Headhunters added in their 1965 version, which reached thirty on the Billboard chart. The song's best-known version was Wilson Pickett's 1966 recording on his album, which became an R&B #1 and his biggest ever pop hit. Some releases of the song credit Antoine "Fats" Domino as a co-author of the song with Kenner. Domino agreed to record the song in exchange for half of the song's royalties.
The "na na na na na" hook happened by accident when Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia, lead singer of Cannibal and the Headhunters, forgot the lyrics. The melody to this section was also created spontaneously, as it is not in Chris Kenner's original track.
The original Chris Kenner recording 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.
The lyrics mention many dances, but don't contain the song's actual title. Kenner's original recording included a brief, gospel-influenced, a capella introduction with the words: "Children, go where I send you / (How will you send me?) / I'm gon' send you to that land / the land of a thousand dances." This eighteen seconds was left off the single release to facilitate radio airplay, and the phrase "Land of 1000 Dances" never appeared in any subsequent recording.
Wilson Pickett version 
|"Land of 1000 Dances"|
|Single by Wilson Pickett|
|from the album The Exciting Wilson Pickett|
|B-side||"You're So Fine"|
|Recorded||May 11, 1966, Muscle Shoals, Alabama|
|Wilson Pickett singles chronology|
Wilson Pickett recorded the song during his first set of sessions at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. (He had previously recorded in Memphis.) His recording was released as a single and appeared on his album, The Exciting Wilson Pickett. The single became his third R&B #1 and his biggest ever pop hit, peaking at #6. In 1988 a re-recorded version by Pickett was featured in the end credits for The Great Outdoors. In 1989, the earlier Pickett version was ranked number 152 on Dave Marsh's list of The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made.
- Vocals: Wilson Pickett
- Guitar: Chips Moman, Jimmy Johnson
- Keyboards: Spooner Oldham
- Drums: Roger Hawkins
- Bass: Junior Lowe
- Tenor sax: Charlie Chalmers, Andrew Love
- Trumpet: Wayne Jackson
- Baritone Sax: Floyd Newman
|"Land of a Thousand Dances"|
|Single by Ted Nugent|
|from the album Intensities in 10 Cities|
|Writer(s)||Fats Domino/Chris Kenner|
|Ted Nugent singles chronology|
- Major Lance (1963)
- Thee Midniters (1965)
- The Action (1965)
- Johnny Rivers - Meanwhile Back at the Whisky à Go Go (1965)
- Bill Haley & His Comets (1966)
- Danny & The Memories (1965–66, Scopitone Video Clip)
- The Kingsmen - Up and Away (1966)
- Nino Tempo & April Stevens (1966, Scopitone Video Clip)
- Otis Redding (1966); also live on a dedicated Ready Steady Go! edition (1966) - Otis Redding Special
- The Young Rascals - Collections (1967)
- Erkin Koray (in Turkish language)
- The Chopsticks -The Chopsticks．Sandra And Amina (1970)
- Ike & Tina Turner - Live in Paris (1971); Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! (40th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set) (2009)
- Patti Smith – Horses (1975)
- Ted Nugent – Intensities in 10 Cities (1981)
- Renato Zero - Via Tagliamento 1965/1970 (1982)
- The J. Geils Band - Showtime! (1982)
- Joan Baez (1983)
- World Wrestling Federation – The Wrestling Album (1985)
- Tina Turner – Tina Live in Europe (1988)
- Cuisillos de Arturo Macías (As La hora del bien) (1993)
- Rockapella - Lucky Seven (Japan release) (1996)
- Vinnie Jones – Respect (2002)
- Barón Rojo – Desde Barón a Bilbao (2007)
- The Mean Mean Men (2009)
- Guy (their cover was featured in the film FernGully: The Last Rainforest)
- The Residents (on The Third Reich 'n Roll)
- Chants R&B - Stage Door Witchdoctors
Derivative works 
- Philippines variety show Eat Bulaga! had a song called "Kagat Labi", and it used the tune of this song.
- The continuing "na" sequence was incorporated into the 1995 dancehall song "Here Comes the Hotstepper" by Ini Kamoze.
- The B-52's mock-60s-sounding 1979 song, "Dance This Mess Around", opens its list of dances done at parties with the line, "They do all 16 dances!", an allusion to the number of dances mentioned in this song.
- The Clash's 1985 single, "This is England", featured the line "Land of a Thousand Dances"
- The guitar hook in Devo's 1984 song, "Here To Go", is a slight variation on the melody to the "na" sequence.
- A slowed down variation of the "na na na na na" melody appeared as a guitar solo in the song "Top of the Pops" from The Kinks' Lola-album (1970).
Cannibal and the Headhunters version
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||30|
Wilson Pickett version
|UK Singles Chart||22|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||6|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles||1|
Ted Nugent version
|U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||47|
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 101.
- Shannon, Bob; John Javna (1986). Behind the Hits: Inside Stories of Classic Pop and Rock and Roll. New York: Warner Books. pp. 94–95. ISBN 0-446-38171-3.
- White, Adam; Fred Bronson (1993). The Billboard Book Of Number One Rhythm & Blues Hits. New York: Billboard Books. p. 22. ISBN 0-8230-8285-7.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 461.
- "Land of 1000 Dances". Retrieved 2008-08-06.
- "The Exciting Wilson Pickett - Billboard singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-08-06.
- "Wilson Pickett - Land of 1000 Dances". Retrieved 2008-08-06.
- Land of a Thousand Dances by Wilson Pickett at Allmusic
- Land of a Thousand Dances by Patti Smith at Allmusic
"You Can't Hurry Love" by The Supremes
|Billboard Hot R&B Singles number-one single
September 17, 1966
"Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" by The Temptations