You know YMCA…
You know In The Navy…
You may even know Macho Man…
And, yes, they might all seem pretty gay to you…
But, dear reader, they’re NOT the gayest Village People songs of all time!
After discovering that the lead singer of the band, the very-heterosexual-don’t-you-know Victor Willis, was prepared to sue anyone that claimed that YMCA was a song about using the chain of gyms as a cruising spot, I began to wonder which songs he’d actually admit were, in fact, pretty gay.
So, I went on a fact-finding mission (by that I mean I listened to a bunch of their records) to bring you a definitive list.
🤔 But, first, what’s a Village People? 🤔
In short, the Village People were a strange fever dream from that magical time known as the 1970s.
Lots about their origin seems to be fabricated or… let’s say ‘massaged’, but the long and short of it is that they were a put-together band by super producers Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo, who had previously had success with The Ritchie Family….
The plan was to create a disco band with each member representing a different gay fantasy figure. The ‘Village’ in the band’s name is a nod to Greenwich Village in New York City, which, at that time, was a gay neighbourhood.
And, the band did damn well, considering they were essentially a bit of a novelty throw-away, even releasing their own movie (we won’t cover that today, but I implore you to SEEK IT OUT).
They’re still gigging to this day (albeit with a modified line-up, the only original member still involved being the aforementioned lead singer Victor Willis), and even released new music in 2020.
So, now that we’ve had that brief history lesson let’s get in to this list of uber-gay Village People songs…
San Francisco (You’ve Got Me)
The first track from their debut album, the band started as they meant to go on.
And, if you thought a song about the gayest city in the USA wasn’t enough of a tip off, how about this unsubtle lyric:
(Leather), leather, leather, leather baby
Sodom and Gommorrah
A disco song about the biblical towns of Sodom and Gomorrah?
COUNT. ME. IN.
Sex Over The Phone
My personal favourite from the band, this song was released when they were going through their kinda-sorta-but-not-really-New-Romantics phase in the 80s.
The song, released at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, is all about getting jiggy safely over the phone. Lots of grunting and suggestive moans abound.
And, the music video, in all its hastily thrown together glory, only elevates the song!
I’m A Cruiser
“When I see someone that I like
In a car or riding a bike
I’m a cruiser“
They didn’t even bother trying to hide the meaning of this song with a double entendre – just an out-and-out admission of being a cruiser on the hunt for some loving.
Continuing with the cruising theme, the refrain from this song (which is named after the famous gay holiday spot in upstate New York) encourages you not to go in to the bushes because someone will grab you there!
HOW DID THEY GET AWAY WITH THIS KIND OF THING?
I Am What I Am
Ok. So far I’ve been focusing on the overtly sexual, but there was more to The Village People than bumping and grinding. Not much more, but still…
The message behind this song is:
“People have the right to be just who they are
People have the right to share all of their love
People have the right to share just what they give
The right to their free will“
And I think that’s a wonderful mission statement for one of the most enduring pop-culture symbols of all time.
They are camp and ridiculous, and they’ve brought love and positivity to the world for more years than I’ve been alive.
Thank you Village People!