Village People Biography
Last updated: 01/08/2012 10:00:00 AM
(top L to R) Felipe, Freddie Jackson, Ray, Jeff, Patti La Belle, Kate Pierson (B-52's), Alex, Eric, Nick Ashford
(Bottom) David, Valerie Simpson
Producer/Composer Jacques Morali found Felipe dancing in his Indian costume in a crowd in NY's Greenwich Village. Felipe's special visual attraction brought the idea to mind to put together a group of Village icons from various American social groups.
Soon after, Morali saw Victor Willis in Broadway's The Wiz and Victor brought along Alex Briley to play a G.I. With partner Henri Belolo, Morali held auditions for 3 more performers and Village People was formed.
Selling more than 65 million recordings (1987 Dance Music Report), Village People are an instant phenomenom with hits San Francisco/In Hollywood,Macho Man, YMCA, In the Navy, Go West and more. The Disco Era is in fullbloom.
Madonna and Joan Rivers are among artists who have appeared as opening acts for Village People in Las Vegas, Madison Square Garden, Japan's Budokan, Sydney's Hordern Pavilion, and Hollywood's Greek Theatre. Even Michael Jackson co-stars with Village People in LA's Palladium.
The group wins many worldwide awards including the American Music Award-Favorite Musical Group 1979, AGVA's Georgie Award, West Germany's Gold Lion Award for music excellence, Brazil's 1981 Award for Best Act, etc.
Village People star in their own 1980 major feature movie Can't Stop the Music co-starring Steve Guttenberg, Bruce Jenner, Valerie Perrine, Paul Sand, June Havoc, Tammy Grimes and directed by Nancy Walker. It remains a popular cult film around the world.
Village People are on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine and are featured in Guiness Book of Hits, Time, Playboy, Playgirl, GQ, US, People, Paris Match, World Book Encyclopedia, Dick Clark's 25 Years of Rock 'n Roll & hundreds more. Television appearances include The Love Boat, Bob Hope Show, 20/20 (twice), American Bandstand, Solid Gold, Soul Train, Midnight Special and dozens more in more than 20 countries.
The group takes a short break from the rigors of touring in 1986, during which time some of the members explored individual careers.
The Second Decade:
Village People regroup under the banner of Sixuvus ("six of us") Ltd. Finally, their own bosses and with the help of a new management team, Village People has built an amazing success story of live performances worldwide, new young audiences, television and video appearances, and industry respect.
Of the originating and long-term members, Ray, David, Felipe, Jeff and Alex continued on. In 1995 Eric Anzalone replaced original member Glenn Hughes as the Biker/Leatherman. For a complete list of Village People members from inception to present, please scroll to the bottom. AND NO, The Greaseman was never a member! End of discussion.
In 1990 on CBS Records(Australia) they recorded the top-ten hit Living in the Wildlife and in 1995 sang with the German Soccer Team on the BMG Records(Germany) number one hit Far Away in America. Village People wrote and now perform in their show a new classic entitled Trash Disco, a tribute to the many artists and dance hits which are now amemorable part of the disco era. Besides Trash Disco their live show also features new material like Take My Breath Away by David Hodo.
Their hits have been heard on dozens of recent major motion pictures including Down Periscope (the guys actually perform with the cast of Down Periscope as the credits roll during the film), Waynes World II, Adams Family Values and In and Out. They have performed many times on the Tonight Show w/Jay Leno, as well as the Rosie O'Donnell Show, Oprah, Married with Children, Good Morning America, the Caroline Rhea Show, Dick Clark's 50th Anniversary of American Bandstand, ABC's Disco Ball - 30th Anniversary of Disco, and numerous appearances on VH-1 & MTV. Besides dueling it out with The Disco Divas (Thelma Houston, Martha Wash, Freda Payne, Janice Marie, Evelyn "Champagne" King) on the gameshow Family Feud, one of their wildest experiences was filming a unique documentary sharing music and culture with Australia's aborigines entitled Village People Go North Down Under.
They were the half-time entertainment for Australia's Rugby Grand Finals seen by more people than the Superbowl. Their music is played during the seven inning stretch at dozens of baseball games and they often entertain sports fans with live performances following soccer and hockey games as well. In 1996 they were honored to be a part of the world champion Yankees ticker-tape parade in New York City.
They brought in 2003 as the special guests of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. Village People performed for the Osbournes and their guests on New Years' Eve following a ceremony where Ozzy and Sharon renewed their wedding vows. Village People have ventured into "reality TV" as cameras captured all of the happenings for MTV's The Osbournes.
In March of 2001, original member Glenn Hughes succumbed to lung cancer after a long fight. It was a devastating loss for the group as they lost a good friend and brother. Glenn was buried in his leathers as he had requested. It's hard to imagine Glenn at rest...I'm sure he's at a party somewhere. Heck, he's even dressed for it! God bless, Glenn, wherever you are...you are missed.
As they enter their third decade, they continue to thrill audiences from 1 to 100 at concerts throughout the world.
What people are saying 1988 - present:
"They helped define a pop era, and they are back!"- Billboard
"The best concert we've had in years."- New York University
"Still as sexy as ever. Audiences warmed to their enthusiasm, strong versatile vocals and choreography."- The News, Australia
" Village People have mainstream acceptance! The crowd lapped it up, singing along!"- Disney World's New Year's Eve Show/Orlando Sentinel
"Exuberant- A wildly entertaining Performance!"- NY Daily News
"Fabulous! Village People took the crowd by storm, singing live and performing brilliantly!"- London Evening Standard
Members of Village People
Felipe Rose, Native American (original)
Alex Briley, Soldier (original)
David Hodo, Construction Worker (original)
Ray Simpson, Cop (1979)
Jeff Olson, Cowboy (1980)
Eric Anzalone, Biker (1995)
Previous Village People
Victor Willis, Cop (1977-1979) original
Randy Jones, Cowboy (1977-1980, 1987-1990) original
Glenn Hughes, Biker (1977-1995) original
Marc Lee, Construction Worker (1982-1985)
Ray Stephens, Cop (1985)
Py Douglas, Cop (1985)
Miles Jaye, Cop (1986)
Bill Whitefield, Construction Worker or Biker (appearances in 2002, 2003, 2004)