Found Performance: Land of 1000 Dances by Wilson Pickett

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“Land of 1000 Dances” or “Land Of A Thousand Dances” was written by Chris Kenner in 1962. The first hit version was by Cannibal & the Headhunters in ’65. The single reached #30 on the Billboard Hot 100. The first time I heard the song was listening to KPUG-Bellingham in the mid-sixties. It was the latest hit by Wilson Pickett.

The late Wilson Pickett recorded his cover of “1000 Dances” at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. “Wicked Pickett” was backed by the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and the Memphis Horns. That single, released in 1966, became Pickett’s biggest hit. It went all the way to #1 on the Billboard Rhythm & Blues (soul) chart, and it peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. It rose to #22 on charts in the UK. In 1989, prolific rock ‘n’ roll music critic Dave Marsh put Pickett’s version of “Land Of 1000 Dances” at #152 on his list of The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made.

This video captured Pickett during a high octane live concert before his obviously awe struck and captivated fans. “Wicked” sure knew how to belt out a soul song. He put the “S” in screamer. Pickett will go down in the history books for his many memorable radio hits: “The Midnight Hour,” “Mustang Sally,” “634-5789,” “Funky Broadway,” “I Found a Love,” his take on “Hey Jude,” and several others.

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Author: Steven Smith

Presently editor and historical writer with Puget Sound Media in Seattle. Former radio broadcaster and radio station owner, 1970-1999. Journalism and speech communications degrees. I enjoy researching articles and online reporting that allows me to meld together words, audio and video. P.S. I appreciate and encourage reader comments and opinions.

30 thoughts on “Found Performance: Land of 1000 Dances by Wilson Pickett

  1. To quote Buck Ritchey, Steve, almost nearly but not quite hardly,

    “PEnnsylvania 6-5000” was one of the biggest hits and an immortal song of the big band era by Glenn Miller & His Orchestra, recorded on Bluebird in 1940. It was the phone number of the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City, where Miller’s band had a regular gig. Its phone number is still 736-5000.

    Those three others are local phone numbers familiar to many who visit this site. I threw them in just for drill and to agitate the grey cells.

    I remembered another song though . . . LOnesome 7-7203.

  2. Lonesome 7-7203 good song. Hawshaw Hawkins. I think it has been covered by a couple other artists. An oldie but goodie, for sure!

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