Village People are a pop/disco group formed in 1977, well known for their on-stage costumes depicting American cultural stereotypes, as well as their catchy tunes and suggestive lyrics. Originally created to target disco's gay audience by featuring popular gay fantasy personas, the band's popularity quickly brought them into mainstream.
Village People scored a number of disco and dance hits, including their trademark "Macho Man", "Go West", the 1977 debut single "San Francisco (You've Got Me)", "In Hollywood (Everybody is a Star)", "In The Navy", "Can't Stop the Music", and their biggest hit, "Y.M.C.A.". They have sold upwards of 100 million records world-wide.
The group was the creation of Jacques Morali, a French musical composer. The band's name refers to New York City's Greenwich Village, at the time known for its large gay population.
In 1979, the United States Navy decided to use "In the Navy" in a television and radio recruiting campaign. Belolo offered them the rights for free if the Navy would help them film the music video.
The Navy provided them access to the San Diego Navy base, where the USS Reasoner (FF-1063), several aircraft, and the crew of the ship would be used. The Navy canceled the campaign after a short time.
The group's fame peaked in 1979, when Village People made several appearances on The Merv Griffin Show and traveled with Bob Hope to entertain U.S. troops.
The group starred in their highly anticipated 1980 feature film Can't Stop the Music, however, the movie won the Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay prizes at the 1980 Golden Raspberry Awards. Despite that, the song "Can't Stop the Music" became a Club Play chart hit and moderate radio hit. The group was one of the featured guests on an episode of Love Boat.
In 1981, when MotorWeek first aired, Village People no longer wore on-stage costumes, so they can put on their Renaissance outfits, which is inspired by the New Romantic movement, and released the New Wave album Renaissance. It only attracted minor, mostly negative attention and produced no hits. Their last album containing new material, the 1985 dance/Hi-NRG release Sex Over the Phone, was not a huge commercial success, but it fared better in sales and club play than their Renaissance album.
In 1991, Village People founder Jacques Morali died from AIDS in Paris, France. In 1995, Eric Anzalone replaced Glenn Hughes as the biker/leatherman. The group continues to perform including at Jerry Lewis' MDA Telethon in 2007, and on the NBC game show The Singing Bee. In 2008, Village People received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.