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. 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 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.