"Dancing in the Moonlight" is the title song on the 1973 King Harvest album Dancing in the Moonlight. The track was released as a single in 1972 and it reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. The band released other singles, but those 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, 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) 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.
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.
"Dancing in the Moonlight" was licensed by Wal-Mart for their 2008 TV commercial season in the US.
It was featured in 2010 British dark comedy film Four Lions, while the main characters are driving down to London.
The song was also featured in the 2011 film Paul.
It is the walk up song of major league baseball outfielder Kevin Pillar.
The King Harvest version is often wrongly primarily attributed to Van Morrison,Elvis Costello or "Kink Harris", due to incorrect labeling on various digital download services. Neither Morrison nor Costello has actually recorded a version of "Dancing in the Moonlight", and "Kink Harris" does not exist. The original recording of the song is also sometimes misattributed to Toploader, who released a cover of the song in 2000 that reached the Top Ten in the UK Singles Chart, higher than any previous version. The Toploader cover has also been used in the films A Walk to Remember and Four Lions. A musical number of the song is featured in Richard Wenk's comedic short, Dracula Bites the Big Apple.