Dancing in the Moonlight

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"Dancing in the Moonlight"
Single by King Harvest
from the album Dancing in the Moonlight
B-side "Lady, Come On Home"
Released July 9, 1972 (1972-07-09)
Recorded 1972
Genre Pop rock
Length 2:57
Label Perception Records – P-515
Writer(s) Sherman Kelly
Producer(s) Dave Robinson

"Dancing in the Moonlight" is a song by the rock group King Harvest that was released as a single in 1972 and reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. The band released other singles, but they were never able to match the success of "Dancing in the Moonlight". The track used a Wurlitzer electric piano throughout.


The song was written in 1968 by Sherman Kelly,[1][2] whose brother, Wells Kelly – King Harvest's drummer in the early 1970s – introduced the song to the band. It was originally recorded in 1969 by the American band, Boffalongo, which included Sherman Kelly (who sang lead on this original recording of his own composition)[3] and future King Harvest frontman, Doc Robinson. Wells Kelly later became the original drummer for Orleans. Meanwhile, King Harvest recorded and released "Dancing in the Moonlight" as a single, with "Lady, Come On Home" on the B-side, while the band was based in Paris. Steve Cutler, a jazz drummer from New York City (standing on the pole in the cover picture), played drums on the tracks and toured with the band in France and the UK. 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 is often wrongly primarily attributed to Van Morrison,[4] Elvis Costello, or "Kink Harris",[5] due to incorrect labeling on various digital download services. Neither Morrison nor Costello has recorded a version of "Dancing in the Moonlight", and "Kink Harris" does not exist.

The song was also recorded by High Broom, and released in 1970 on Island Records (catalog no. WIP 6088; vinyl 7").[6][7] It failed to reach UK Singles Chart.

A cover version was released in the UK in 1973 by the singing and dancing act, Young Generation, but despite airplay, it failed to chart. The song finally charted in the UK in March 2000, after being covered in 1999 by Toploader, which used the first part of the first verse instead of the second part of the first verse.

The song was played as a wake up call for Daniel M. Tani, an astronaut on board the STS-120: Discovery mission headed for the International Space Station, on the early morning of October 24, 2007.

In Canada, the song made #5 in the weekly charts and #71 in the year end chart for 1973. [1]

Toploader version[edit]

"Dancing in the Moonlight"
Single by Toploader
from the album Onka's Big Moka
Released February 2000
November 2000 (1st reissue)
January 2007 (2nd reissue)
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded 1999
Genre Post-Britpop
Length 3:46
Label S2, Epic
Writer(s) Sherman Kelly
Producer(s) George Drakoulias
Toploader singles chronology
"Let the People Know"
"Dancing in the Moonlight"
"Achilles Heel" (re-release)

"Just Hold On"

"Dancing in the Moonlight" (re-release)

"Only for a While"

In 2000, English alternative rock band Toploader released a cover of "Dancing in the Moonlight". It was originally released in February 2000 as the third single from their debut studio album Onka's Big Moka (1999) and peaked at #19 on the UK Singles Chart. It was re-released in November of the same year and then reached #7. The song has been certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry for sales of over 600,000 copies.

Track listing[edit]

Sony 669985 2. LC 6140 (UK):

  • Dancing in the Moonlight (3:52)
  • Dancing in the Moonlight / stargate radio mix (3:30)
  • Dancing in the Moonlight / alliance dc vocal remix (6:30)
  • Dancing in the Moonlight / live (4:31)

Charts and certifications[edit]

Other versions[edit]

Usage in other media[edit]

The original version of "Dancing in the Moonlight" was licensed by Wal-Mart for their 2008 television commercial season in the United States. The song was also featured in the 2011 British-American comedy film Paul.[22] Alyson Stoner recorded a cover version, for the 2009 Disney DVD/Blu-ray movie Space Buddies. The Toploader version was featured in the 2002 coming of age film A Walk To Remember, let alone the 2010 British dark comedy film Four Lions, while the main characters are driving down to London. Toploader's cover is one of the walk up songs of major league baseball outfielder Kevin Pillar.[23]


  1. ^ "Dancing in the Moonlight – King Harvest : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Sherman Kelly". Sherman Kelly. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Wells Kelly". Orleansforever.com. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ Van Morrison recorded the similarly-titled "Moondance"
  5. ^ d.d. 2011-07-18, entering a search for "Dancing in the Moonlight" in the iTunes store returned numerous hits for "Kink Harris" but only two for King Harvest.
  6. ^ "High Broom - Dancing In The Moonlight (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  7. ^ "Images for High Broom - Dancing In The Moonlight". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  8. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  9. ^ "Ultratop.be – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  10. ^ "Ultratop.be – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight" (in French). Ultratip.
  11. ^ "Musicline.de – Toploader Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  12. ^ "Irish Singles Chart - Toploader - Dancing in the Moonlight". IRMA. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight". Top Digital Download.
  14. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight". VG-lista.
  15. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  16. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight". Top 40 Singles.
  17. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight". Singles Top 100.
  18. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight". Swiss Singles Chart.
  19. ^ "Archive Chart: 2001-02-18" UK Singles Chart.
  20. ^ "2001 UK Singles Chart" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  21. ^ "British single certifications – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Dancing in the Moonlight in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  22. ^ "Paul (2011) soundtrack". IMDb. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Interview with Kevin Pillar — Arizona Fall League Standout | QEW Connection". Aaabisonsblog.wordpress.com. November 2, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 

External links[edit]