“Dancing In The Moonlight,” the song’s lyrics suggest, is a place where everyone gets along and enjoys themselves.
While vacationing on the Caribbean island of Saint Croix in 1969, Sherman Kelly was assaulted and left for dead by locals. He wrote this song in response to the ordeal. During his recuperation, he penned this song. “I imagined a different world,” Kelly wrote in her journal. An idealistic vision of a happy and peaceful celebration of life.
Boffalongo, led by Larry Hoppen, was the first to record this song. A year after releasing their first album, the band brought on keyboardist Sherman Kelly and his song “Dancing in the Moonlight ” for their second album. When the band was formed, the initial lineup included Kelly’s brother Wells on drums; this version of the song included Hoppen on guitar and Sherman on lead vocals.
Wells Kelly visited the band King Harvest in Paris in 1971 when they were working on a new record (his former Boffolongo bandmate Dave “Doc” Robinson was in the band). In addition to American recordings, Wells brought along a copy of “Dancing in the Moonlight” by Boffolongo, which King Harvest chose to remake, but this time with a much more keyboard-driven feel and a more polished production. Despite a European release, Robinson’s lead vocals failed to catch on; an American company, Perception Records, saved the song by re-releasing it in the United States.
To date, it has been their only chart-topper and long-running hit record for the band. The ’70s miniseries used the song as a theme track. When the band is recording “Singing In the Moonlight,” one of the show’s female leads chances to be there. After hearing the little girl’s own preference for dancing in the moonlight, the band rearranged it to “Dancing in the Moonlight.”