There’s a full moon in Horseshoe Bay tonight and for some reason, my mind turned to a 50-year-old song written by a guy named Sherman Kelly for his band Boffalongo. They recorded it in 1970, but it remained in obscurity until Kelly’s brother introduced it to a Paris-based band called King Harvest. Their version of Dancing In The Moonlight, recorded in 1972, also languished until it was bought and released worldwide by another record label and became King Harvest‘s one and only hit.
DITM has been covered by many artists since then, and its popularity is obviously due to its catchy melodic hooks and upbeat message. And because my brain is weirdly wired, I’ve decided to offer you ten versions of the song for no other reason than I really like it.
What I did not know when I embarked on this project is the back story for the song, and it’s pretty horrible. Don’t take my word for it; here’s Sherman Kelly’s account of how the song came to be. It might mean even more to you after hearing his story. I know it does to me.
Maël & Jonas are a pair of friends from Germany who got their big musical break in the Deutsch edition of The Voice a couple of years ago. It’s a winsome version and they have fun with it…be sure to watch until the end.
Pomplamoose is one my new favorite group of musicians (I included them in a previous post). Their version is sort of a techno funk version of DITM. It’s not my favorite arrangement, but it does showcase their musical talents.
This next version is by another Seventies-era band, but one that is definitely not a one-hit wonder: Orleans. Their offering was recorded during a 2018 concert and they’ve still have mastery over the harmonies that they were originally known for.
Ilona Mahieu is a self-described “indie rocker” based in the UK — feel free to apply your own insights to what that entails — but she’s created a very enjoyable video of her version by asking people to submit videos of themselves dancing to the song.
Rachael Nemiroff is a Christian musician born in Alabama and active in the Nashville Christian music scene. Her version is a laidback and relaxing acoustic arrangement. This is another one that bears watching to the end, if only for Rachael’s mom’s take on the song.
Since DITM was an international hit, I figured we should include more countries in this roundup. The Bloomfields are a cover band from the Philippines, specializing in Sixties music. There’s nothing exceptional about this performance, but it’s pretty cool to see how music transcends borders.
And now for something completely different, albeit sort of the same. I almost didn’t include the following arrangement of DITM because it’s an almost complete rewrite of the lyrics into a country version of the song sung by Chris Lane and featuring Lauren Alaina. What changed my mind was this comment left by someone on the YouTube page:
No words to describe what an absolute pleasure it is to hear a country rewrite of our hit from 1973. Great vocals! Great production! Here’s hoping you guys take it all the way to the top. All the best to you.
And you’ve probably figured out that that “someone” is the King Harvest representative. That makes for a pretty good recommendation for the following. And, to be honest, it’s a great take on the song.
I featured Reina del Cid and Toni Lindgren in this recent post (among other excellent indie artists), and I was happy to see their take on the song.
I find something very special in watching a musician exercising their gift in a venue where nobody is really paying attention, but that doesn’t affect the quality and sincerity of the performance in the slightest. The following video shows Allison Stella doing just that in a South Jersey bar/restaurant. I hope she got a lot of tips that day.
You didn’t really think that I was going to end this post without including the original hitmakers, did you?
That’s it. Now go outside, look at the moon, and … well, you know what to do next. (And feel free to send me the video.)