Pop Culture Music icon The Village People celebrated their 30th anniversary with the 2,369th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Village People include Alexander Briley, David Hodo, Ray Simpson, Felipe Rose, Jeff Olson, and Eric Anzalone. Leron Gubler, President and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, presided over the ceremony.
Village People forever changed the landscape of pop music and pop culture when the group's first two mega hit singles, San Francisco/Hollywood in 1977 and Macho Man in 1978, became the anthems for a generation of teens and young adults seeking the freedom to dance, sing and express themselves with a new kind of music. The group has since sold more than 100 million albums and singles internationally, and remains as popular today as it was then. From faithful fans who were there in the beginning, to new, younger audiences who have found their own meaning in the music and performance, Village People continues to perform to sell-out crowds around the world.
MUSIC HISTORY IN THE MAKING:
In 1977, producer/composer Jacques Morali, with partner Henri Belolo, couldn't help but notice Felipe Rose dancing in his Indian costume before an enthusiastic crowd in New York's Greenwich Village. Rose's performance, and the response he was getting, made a significant impression on Morali and Belolo. Later, they began to contemplate the entertainment impact and potential for success that a group of guys representing the many Village icons might have on a larger, mass audience.
Village People quickly became both a major recording and live concert success. Their biggest hit records include YMCA, Macho Man, In The Navy, Can't Stop the Music, Go West and San Francisco/Hollywood. YMCA is, to date, their best selling single, amassing sales of over 12 million units worldwide (three million in the U.S. alone). Their catalog of combined LP's and singles has topped 100 million in worldwide sales. Both Madonna and Michael Jackson have performed as opening acts for the group.
Celebrating 30 years as international disco music icons, Village People continues to perform to sold-out audiences around the world, entertaining ardent fans and followers from the early days to new, younger fans who are discovering the group and their music for themselves. This year alone, the group has performed in Brazil, Finland, Ireland, South Africa, France, Italy, Spain, Romania, Poland and Canada; and many states in the U.S., including California, Michigan, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Tennessee, Minnesota, Arizona, Nevada, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.
Today, the Village People legacy endures and continues to be reinvented through the six performers who don the iconic costumes that first captured and captivated the world's attention in 1977.
Ray Simpson, who replaced Victor Willis as the group's lead singer/Cop character in 1979, beginning with the group's cult hit film Can't Stop the Music. He is the brother of Valerie Simpson, of the legendary songwriting/recording team Ashford & Simpson.
Felipe Rose, who is the one and only Indian, and was the basis for the creation of the group. He is half-Native American and half-Puerto Rican. Felipe is active in Native American affairs.
Alexander Briley, the one and only G.I./Military Man.
David Hodo, the original Construction Man (he took a leave from the group for a few years in the mid-1980's).
Jeff Olson, who replaced Randy Jones as the Cowboy in 1980, just after Can't Stop the Music.
Eric Anzalone, who became the group's Biker/Leatherman in 1995, after the death from lung cancer of original member Glenn Hughes.