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 (P-515)
Songwriter(s) Sherman Kelly
Producer(s) Dave Robinson

"Dancing in the Moonlight" is a song by the French-American 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 was unique for using a Wurlitzer electric piano throughout. Decades after its original release, a cover by Toploader became a minor hit.


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 base of 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 was also recorded by High Broom and released in 1970 on Island Records (catalog no. WIP 6088; vinyl 7").[4][5] 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. In 1994, the song was released as a single by the group Baha Men, but failed to chart. Their version was later used in the Fat Albert movie.

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.[6]


Toploader version[edit]

"Dancing in the Moonlight"
Single by Toploader
from the album Onka's Big Moka
Released February 2000
Format CD single
Recorded 1999
Genre Post-Britpop
Length 3:46
Label S2
Songwriter(s) Sherman Kelly
Producer(s) George Drakoulias
Toploader singles chronology
"Let the People Know"
"Dancing in the Moonlight"
"Achilles Heel"
"Let the People Know"
"Dancing in the Moonlight"
"Achilles Heel"

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.

Critical reception[edit]

In 2007, the song was placed at number 17 on BBC Three's list of "The 100 Most Annoying Pop Songs...We Hate to Love".

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]

  • In the early 90's, the original version was used in an ad for Hanes Her Way underwear, featuring a young woman performing gymnastics on a trampoline under the full moon wearing a Hanes Her Way bra & panty set under an open blouse.
  • 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.[26]
  • The Toploader version was featured in the 2002 coming of age film A Walk To Remember, as well as 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.[27]
  • The original version was featured in a 2016 2nd-season episode of Better Call Saul; the song played in the background during a flashback scene where the lead character Jimmy McGill recalls a poignant moment in his childhood.
  • Also used in the TV series, Scorpion (TV series) (Season 2/ Episode 4) in the closing minutes of the episode.
  • The original version was also used in "The Middle (TV series)" episode "Not Mother's Day" (season 7, episode 22), where Mike was dancing with his mom-in-law Pat at the gas station.
  • Used in the official teaser of 'Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series' presented in The Game Awards 2016 as a World Premiere Trailer.
  • Used as end credits roll in the 2017 film The Hitman's Bodyguard


  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. ^ "High Broom - Dancing In The Moonlight (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  5. ^ "Images for High Broom - Dancing In The Moonlight". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
  6. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (July 17, 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". 
  7. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  8. ^ http://tropicalglen.com/Archives/70s_files/19730217.html CASH BOX Top 100 Singles, February 17, 1973
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 137. 
  10. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (July 17, 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". 
  11. ^ Musicoutfitters.com
  12. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  13. ^ "Ultratop.be – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  14. ^ "Ultratop.be – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight" (in French). Ultratip.
  15. ^ "Musicline.de – Toploader Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  16. ^ "Irish Singles Chart - Toploader - Dancing in the Moonlight". IRMA. Archived from the original on June 3, 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight". Top Digital Download.
  18. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight". VG-lista.
  19. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  20. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight". Top 40 Singles.
  21. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight". Singles Top 100.
  22. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight". Swiss Singles Chart.
  23. ^ "Archive Chart: 2001-02-18" UK Singles Chart.
  24. ^ "2001 UK Singles Chart" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  25. ^ "British single certifications – Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Dancing in the Moonlight in the search field and then press Enter.
  26. ^ "Paul (2011) soundtrack". IMDb. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Interview with Kevin Pillar — Arizona Fall League Standout | QEW Connection". Aaabisonsblog.wordpress.com. November 2, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2013.