1978 Village People – Macho Man
Jacques Morali, a musical composer and producer from France, worked with his business partner Henri Belolo to produce a series of dance hits in France in the mid-seventies. They moved to New York City in 1977 and began working with singer Victor Willis. Jacque recruited Horace Ott to lead a studio band they named Gypsy Lane and recorded an album of disco songs Jacques wrote with Phil Hurtt and Peter Whitehead.
The album was released as The Village People. When sales and airplay began to pick up, they ran an ad to recruit additional members for a touring group:
“Macho types wanted: must dance and have a moustache.”
A second album got released with a cover that had a picture of their new recruits. The second single was the title song, Macho Man.
The single peaked at #25 on the Hot 100 and #14 on the US Disco chart in 1977. Of course, it was the group’s live performances that attracted all the attention.
Their next two albums contained the hits Y.M.C.A. and In The Navy. Those two songs were huge disco hits, and work then began on a feature film entitled Discoland: Where the Music Never Ends that was a fictionalized version of the band’s beginnings.
Unfortunately, the film did not get released until August 1980, almost a month after the Disco Demolition in Chicago marked the end of the disco era in the US. They changed the film’s name to Can’t Stop The Music, but that change wasn’t enough to save the film. The film bombed and won the first ever Razzie Awards for Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay.
The Village People’s charting days appeared to be over, but forty years later the group reached #25 on the Adult Contemporary chart with their single If You Believe.
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