The Village Peopledisco band of the late 1970s. The gay-themed group was well known for their outrageous on-stage costumes (the members dressing up as a police officer, an American Indian chief, a construction worker, and a sailor) as for their catchy tunes and lyrics, which had gay themes which are often considered to be subtle enough to be missed by some heterosexuals.
Although the band sang in English, it has been created (in 1977) and managed by two French musicians, Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo, who also wrote their songs. It was therefore somewhat artificial, like Frank Farian's Boney M or Trevor Horn's Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
The band's name references the somewhat gay area of New York City named Greenwich Village. Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo got the inspiration for creating an assembly of American man archetypes while walking thru the Village one day and meeting gay men dressed in various fantasy ways.
Their hit "In The Navy" was, according to an urban myth, considered by the United States Navy for use in a recruiting advertising campaign until the organisation, which had a policy against allowing homosexuals at the time, actually realised the joke was on them.
Their other hits included "Macho Man" and "YMCA", a song about the YMCA. A dance involving forming these four letters with arms and legs is still popular at office functions and college parties more than twenty years later.
The group also appeared in their 1980 feature film Can't Stop the Music, directed by Nancy Walker, written by Allan Carr and Bronte Woodard, music and lyrics by Jacques Morali and starring Steve Guttenberg, Valerie Perrine, Bruce Jenner, and The Village People. The movie "won" the Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay prizes at the 1980 Golden Raspberry Awards in March 1981 and was nominated in almost all the other categories.
The real names of the Village People are:
- Victor Willis (the cop, original, from 1977 till 1980; he co-authored certain songs, notably "In the Navy")
- Ray Simpson (the cop, replacement)
- David "Scar" Hodo (the construction worker)
- Glenn Hughes (the leatherman)
- Alexander Briley (the G.I.)
- Randy Jones (the cowboy)
- Felipe Rose (the Indian)
See also: Happatai