Early in 1965, Cannibal and the Headhunters, a Chicano vocal quartet out of East Los Angeles, took "Land of a Thousand Dances" to No. 30 on the pop charts, shutting down a version by their archrivals Thee Midniters (which reached No. 67) in the process. It was the third national hit in less than a year for acts under the banner of label boss Eddie Davis -- the others were the Premiers' "Farmer John" (No. 19) and the Blendells' "La La La La La" (No. 62), both in 1964 -- and marked the apex of the West Coast East Side sound that had been evolving since the late 1950s. Despite being picked up by Date, a Columbia Records subsidiary, Cannibal never managed another Hot 100 single -- though "Nau Ninny Nau" was the kind of obvious follow-up that should have clicked in that era, and "Please Baby Please" was a true-blue vocal group record. By 1967, the best years of his career already behind him, Cannibal had left the music business, and in 1996 he died in... More >>>
Cannibal and the Headhunters defined the West Coast East Side sound with their version of "Land of 1000 Dances."