Sunday, August 9, 2015

"Land of a Thousand Dances" by J. Geils Band

Song#:  1357
Date:  02/26/1983
Debut:  77
Peak:  60
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  "Showtime!" was the band's live album follow-up to their multi-platinum smash "Freeze Frame." The LP's first single, a remake of the 1966 R&B hit "I Do," did moderately well reaching #24 on the pop chart. For a second single, the band chose another remake and issued this classic Wilson Pickett tune (see below). It didn't get people dancing and the song disappeared after a few weeks. This would be the last charting single to featured the band's frontman, Peter Wolf.

ReduxReview:  Once again, I'll mention that I'm not a fan of live recordings. I'd just rather be there than to listen to it like an outsider. The experience doesn't always translate well to a recorded medium. Plus these recordings are often tinkered with to make them sound better, which is wrong in my opinion. Although this song seems to be well-recorded and captures a bit of the excitement, it loses steam with an audience participation section. It was probably fun in concert, but on record it doesn't work.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song famously done by R&B star Wilson Pickett in 1966. Written and originally recorded by Chris Kenner in 1963, his version initially got zero attention. Kenner then entered into a deal with Fats Domino who would record the song in exchange for a writing credit and 50% of the publishing/writing royalties. Kenner agreed and Domino recorded the song. Unfortunately, Domino's version was also ignored. However, Kenner's original got a second wind and suddenly found it's way to #77 on the pop chart. The song then got picked up two years later by Cannibal and the Headhunters who took the tune to #30. They added the now-famous "na na" part to the song thanks to lead singer Frankie Garcia forgetting the words. Thee Midniters then reached #67 the same year, but it was Wilson Pickett's 1966 version that really broke the song reaching #6 pop and #1 R&B. In 1965, the studio group Electric Indian scrapped the chart at #95 with their version. That was the last chart appearance of the song until J. Geils' made it to #60.  2) The title of the song appears nowhere in the lyrics. However, it was originally supposed to be. When Chris Kenner first recorded the tune, he included a 10-second intro where Kenner says "I'm gonna take you, baby, I'm gonna take you to a place. The name of the place is the land of a thousand dances!" But when the single was released, the intro was edited out. Most likely it was done to make the record shorter for radio airplay.


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