I’d wager that not just some of you but practically everybody likes the song ‘Dancing in the Moonlight,’ which based on its very frequent phrasing throughout the tune actually deserves to be titled with one of those parenthetical allusions as ‘(Everybody’s) Dancing in the Moonlight.’ It’s a top-notch early-‘70’s pop nugget, as well as being something else everybody seems to love, a one-hit-wonder: in this instance, for the French-American band King Harvest – so named after the 1969 song by The Band, who everybody in the group considered their chief musical influence, entitled ‘King Harvest (Has Surely Come)’ (see the parentheses use there in that song title?…and as cited here within my parentheses, for the greater meta affect?). Everybody still with me? Alright.
So, in addition to its charming and undeniably upbeat catchiness, what are some of the aspects that make ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ so broadly beloved? Well you could start with its opening line, “We get it almost every night” – which I can honestly say I’ve mistaken for 50 years as the decidedly bolder statement “We get it on most every night” (in fact, I’m hereby disregarding my just-executed lyrics search and sticking with the heretofore-presumed more titillating tone-setter).
Then, could there be any other peculiarity that more than likely everybody abundantly enjoys, if even subconsciously, within the song? Why, the extremely liberal use of the word “everybody,” of course. So comprehensive and inclusive; you can’t help but feel warmly welcomed to, well, dance in King Harvest’s mellifluous moonlight. As a matter of fact, there are a total of 22 “everybodys” in this precisely 3-minute tune. “Is that a lot of everybodys”? you may reasonably be wondering. Well, it’s an “everybody” every 8.18 seconds, a pretty impressive showing, it seems, if not to every- then at least to this body. And moreover, they’re not all just standard drop-ins of the certified word: at varying points you get the more interpretive pronunciations and syllable extensions of “Every-bahawdy,” “Hev-rybody” and even “Yevry-body” thrown in towards the end.
Upon closer scrutinization, it has recently been determined that even songs with a fully functioning “Everybody” in their title fail to approach such an imposing level of production. Not sure? See a sampling on the very important chart below:
Song / Everybody count
“Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” (Neil Young) — 15
“Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby” (Beatles) — 15
“Truth Hits Everybody” (Police) — 11
“Everybody Plays the Fool” (Main Ingredient) — 9
“Everybody Hurts” (R.E.M.) — 9
“Everybody Wants You” (Billy Squier) — 8
“Everybody Wants To Rule the World” (Tears For Fears) — 6
“Everybody Loves Somebody” (Dean Martin) — 6
“C’mon Everybody” (Eddie Cochran) — 5
“Everybody I Love You” (CSN&Y) — 5
“Everybody is a Star” (Sly & The Family Stone) — 4
“Everybody’s Talkin’” (Harry Nilsson) — 2
(Did So Much Great Music’s crack research department nervously scribble down tally marks as they listened through to each of these tunes repeatedly in order to create this essential database? You bet they did)
Bruce Springsteen’s non-“everybody”-named ‘Hungry Heart’ does reach 14. That’s also pretty decent. But the only outlier that can presume to knock King Harvest’s volume off everybody’s prime “everybody” perch is the 1990 Eurodisco hit ‘Everybody Everybody’ by Black Box, which storms in with an astounding count of 51 “everybodys”! But, c’mon everybody, that one’s got an inexplicable double-everybody for a title, and crams in an almost obnoxious 16 “everybodys” per chorus. So, I believe an asterisk should be agreed upon by everybody – er, by one and all – as we come together to recognize ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ for its lifetime achievement as everybody’s “everybody” all-time champion.
So everybody, just close your eyes and try to picture this: the beaming members of King Harvest, flown in from Paris and reunited to accept such a glorious and prestigious award, all moving rhythmically under a luminescent glow.
I tell you, it’s such a fine and natural sight…everybody’s dancing in the moonlight.
(I guess some of you may also be wondering about this one, though probably not everybody. And by the way, the leggy performer in this fairly well-known video sparked a media backlash when it was revealed that she was a model shamefully lip-synching, and not the actual singer of the song who went uncredited even on the album’s liner notes. Yet another reason to disqualify it)