Ron Altbach is an accomplished pianist and songwriter from Olcott, New York. He is co-founder of the American-French rock band King Harvest singing backup vocals and playing the recognizable piano intro to their hit ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’. In 1965, while attending Cornell University in Ithaca New York, Ron and friends Doc Robinson, Ed Tuleja and Rod Novak formed groups primarily playing cover tunes at frat parties, bars and other venues. After finishing college, first Ron, then the others migrated to Paris where in 1970 they formed King Harvest.
Over the years, the band always included its four core co-founders but at one time included fellow Cornell alum Sherman Kelly, who wrote and previously recorded ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’. While in Paris, Altbach studied classical music with Nadia Boulanger, King Harvest won a talent contest, recorded and released a Europe-only debut LP and was invited to write and perform songs for the French film, Le Feu Sacré, which represented France at the Cannes Film Festival. Soon, a 45 rpm record of ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ was released in Paris and by 1972 generated interest in America. The original four members settled in Olcott New York and signed with the Perception label. In early 1973, ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ went on to reach #13 in the US and #5 in Canada, and the band embarked on a lengthy US tour. King Harvest broke up once again in 1976, but the members continued their music careers touring with the renowned Beach Boys.
Altbach became the Beach Boys’ touring keyboardist and co-producer on a number of songs on their 1978 album ‘M.I.U’. He co-wrote the songs Belles of Paris’, ‘She’s Got Rhythm’, ‘Winds of Change’ and ‘Lady Lynda’. He was also a member of Celebration, a group led by Beach Boys’ Mike Love, mainly composed of Beach Boys touring musicians. In 2007, King Harvest released their The Lost Tapes album and performed on a PBS show The 70s Experience Live. After sharing the stage with fellow Cornell alum Huey Lewis at Artpark in 2012, Ron hosted a King Harvest reunion in Olcott Beach and again in 2013. In 2015, they released an album ‘Old Friends’ and in 2016 a single; ‘Our Old Songs’. It is our pleasure to welcome Olcott’s Ron Altbach as a member of the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame, Class of 2022.