Found Performance: Land of 1000 Dances by Wilson Pickett


“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. “Put your hand on your hips, yeah…Let your backbone slip” These days, my backbone or sciatica, as it is called, will slip just getting up from a chair. Songs about dancing: there are hundreds of them, just guessing. And quite a few of them have used that line, about letting your backbone slip. Chiropractors, rejoice!

          1. Didn’t something like a hole in the stockings, as in nylons, signify a “loose lady” in those days? If so, that little ditty sounded innocent but would actually be risque.

  2. Jason…if you keep whining about symptoms like that the girls will no longer fall for your story that you are 36 years old.

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