Dancing In The Moonlight

It was autumn of 1972 and it would be seventeen weeks before the song peaked at Number 13 (for two weeks) on Billboard’s Hot Top 100 Chart.  It was one of those songs that was instantly likeable with a groove that made everyone want to dance … even those who described themselves as move challenged.

Seven years after they had a hit with this song, King Harvest re-recorded the song with a slicker production, more harmony vocals, and a Fender Rhodes piano added.  This became known as the Olcott version, and although it didn’t have a second go on the Billboard charts, the song retained its positive feel and danceability.

Sherman Kelly composed the song and before it was a hit for King Harvest, Boffalongo (the group he belonged to) recorded a version of it.  One of the members of the band, Larry Hoppen, went on to form the group “Orleans.”  This version of the song was recorded live in 2006.

English alternative rock band Toploader formed in 1997.  Three years later in 2000, the band had a hit with this song in the UK where it reached #7 after it was featured in a television commercial for a Sainsbury supermarket.  Their version was used in movies such as “A Walk To Remember” and “Four Lions.”

Three years later, it was all over for Toploader and the group members blamed it all on the supermarket for turning their version of the song into a “monster” as the put it.  Guitarist Julian Deane was quoted as saying he couldn’t bear to listen to the song anymore and voiced his displeasure over the fact that the song had been licensed for the commercial to the tune of $10,000 GBP (or about $16,000 USD).

The split can best be described as caustic and bitter, and it’s hard to believe that it was brought on solely by the use of one song in a supermarket spot.

When American actress, dancer, choreographer, and singer, Alyson Stoner took it on in 2009, she made it her own.  Better known for her role as Max in the Disney series, “The Suite Life of Zack And Cody” she charmed the younger set with her rendition in 2009.

But one of the best remakes that captures the fun of the song is by the duo Plastic Plastic hailing from Bangkok (Thailand).  The rendition by Pokpong Jitdee and Tongta Jitdee is close to the original, but it carries its own unique touches such as a flute and a xylophone among other interesting instrument choices.

In the end, this is an endearing and enduring song.  Regardless of which version(s) you prefer, any version will tug at your heartstrings to coax your inner child out to let loose with some dancing in the moonlight.

Elyse Bruce

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