Acquisition #17: Dancing in the Moonlight - King Harvest
"Dancing in the Moonlight" is a song written and originally recorded by the French-American rock group King Harvest. The song was written by Sherman Kelly, produced by Jack Robinson, originally recorded in 1970 by Kelly's band Boffalongo, and then released as a single by King Harvest in 1972, reaching number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2000 a cover by English band Toploader became a worldwide hit and achieved multi-Platinum status in the United Kingdom.
The song was written in 1968 by Sherman Kelly, whose brother, Wells Kelly – King Harvest's drummer – introduced the song to the band. It was originally recorded in 1969 by the American band Boffalongo, which included Sherman Kelly (singing lead on the original recording of his own composition) and future King Harvest lead vocalist, bassist and keyboardist Dave "Doc" Robinson. Wells Kelly later became the original drummer for Orleans. King Harvest, while being based in Paris, recorded and released "Dancing in the Moonlight" as a single with "Lady, Come On Home" on the B-side. Steve Cutler, a jazz drummer from New York City (standing on the base of the pole in the cover picture), plays drums on the tracks and toured France and the UK with the band. The group disbanded after six months and the single languished for a year until it was bought and released worldwide by Perception Records.
The song was also recorded by High Broom and released in 1970 on Island Records (catalog no. WIP 6088; vinyl 7"). It failed to reach the UK Singles Chart.
In Canada, the song made number 5 in the weekly charts and number 71 in the year-end chart for 1973.
In 1973 the singing and dancing act Young Generation released a cover version; despite airplay, it failed to chart. In 1994 the Baha Men released the song as a single, but it also failed to chart. Their version was later used in the film Fat Albert. The song finally charted in the UK in March 2000, after being covered the previous year by Toploader.
In Popular Culture
The song was featured on The Middle season 7 episode "Not Mother's Day" when Mike finally dances with his mother-in-law Pat, under the moonlight at a gas station, to fulfill a promise he made on his wedding day. The song was also used in the final scene of the 2017 film The Hitman's Bodyguard. The song was also featured during the closing credits of the 2019 film Annabelle Comes Home.
The Toploader rendition of the song was featured on the soundtrack of the 2002 film A Walk to Remember, in the film Four Lions, as well as on the soundtrack of the Netflix series The Umbrella Academy in the episode "The Day That Wasn't".
The song was also featured in the 2017 video game Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, and serves as the opening song for the second episode.