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"Land of a Thousand Dances" (or "Land of 1000 Dances") is a song written and first recorded by Chris Kenner in 1963. The song is famous for its "na na na na na" hook, which Cannibal & the Headhunters added in their 1965 version, which reached number 30 on the Billboard chart. The song was covered by Danny & The Memories. 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. Other notable recordings include Roy Orbison, Little Richard, Ted Nugent, The Kingsmen, Patti Smith, Bill Haley & His Comets (which includes a spoken introduction by Big Joe Turner), Electric Indian, and Jello Biafra. An ensemble performance by members of the then-World Wrestling Federation (now known as WWE) was included on The Wrestling Album in 1985; although they do not perform on the song, the music video for the track includes appearances by Cyndi Lauper, Meat Loaf and Rick Derringer. The song is also covered in the Australian film The Sapphires.

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 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.

[Från wikipedia]


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