Posted: March 7th, 2012 | Author: Robbie Handy |
If you’ve ever found yourself dragged onto a dance floor by a companion who is desperate to teach you the appropriate routines for hits such as “YMCA” and “In the Navy”, then you’ll definitely be familiar with the iconic 70s disco group that originally belted them out with gay abandon: The Village People. Furthermore, in more reflective moments, if you have ever puzzled over how such a culturally diverse group of characters managed to meet, then here are five fascinating facts which might just inspire you to portray one of these famous villagers at your next fancy dress party.
1. The Music Preceded The Band
Interestingly, the first Village People album “Village People”, was released before the group was even formed, and was a co-creation of French musical composer Jacques Morali and actor/vocalist Victor Willis. The debut album spawned the hit medley “San Francisco (You’ve Got Me) / In Hollywood (Everybody is a Star)” which became a dance floor sensation and encouraged Dick Clark to invite the [unbeknown to him non-existent] group to perform on American Bandstand.
2. There Were Two Very Strict Criteria For Band Members
In order to capitalise on the exposure offered by subsequent performances on American Bandstand and at live events where Willis was joined onstage by backing dancers, the entrepreneurial Morali and his business partner Henri Belolo created a concept group at break-neck speed by running an advert for potential group members in a music trade magazine which read “Macho Types Wanted: Must Dance and Have a Moustache”!
3. Where The YMCA Dance Originates From
The iconic YMCA dance originates from a famous episode of Dick Clark’s American Bandstand on January 6th 1979, when the Village People appeared several times as guests throughout the hour-long episode, most notably when the audience joined them enthusiastically in mirroring the dance moves which accompany their aforementioned smash-hit single.
4. A Deal With The U.S. Navy
In 1979, the US Navy were granted permission by Belolo to use “In the Navy” for a nationwide television and radio recruitment campaign, in return for which the Village People were allowed access to the San Diego Naval Base, the USS Reasoner, several Naval aircraft and the entire crew of the Reasoner in order to create the famous music video which accompanies the single.
5. Where Their Name Came From
The group’s name was based on the Greenwich Village area of New York, which was a hotbed of bohemian liberalism and a gay capital at the time when the Village People were created. Furthermore, the propensity of the male gay population of the area for dressing up as fantasy figures was capitalised on by Morali and Belolo, who based the costumes of each group member on American cultural icons. Thus, an unlikely yet memorably exotic ensemble featuring a cowboy, leather clad biker, Native American Indian, Policeman, construction worker and soldier was created with Randy Jones, Glenn Hughes, Felipe Rose, Victor Willis, David Hodo and Alex Briley fulfilling the respective roles.
If you fancy unleashing your inner Village Person then find five likeminded friends and choose which Village People members you each want to represent at your upcoming fancy dress event. Each costume is colourful, instantly recognisable and readily available online, so your own band of brothers can easily make a massive impact by entering any fancy dress party as one the most camp and creative musical acts of all time!
Related products: Village People biker costume