When Victor Willis, the original Village People lead singer and cop, returned to the group last year, fans anxiously waited for an announcement of new material from Willis who wrote lyrics to such iconic hits as “Y.M.C.A.” “Go West,” “Macho Man,” and “In the Navy.”
Many fans assumed Village People would likely release a new dance tune or EDM mix, after all, we’re talking about one of the biggest party bands on the face of the planet. Instead.
Instead, Willis quickly introduced the group to a batch of new holiday songs written by him, including “Go Santa Go,” for which fans are being treated to this holiday season. Released last week, Go Santa Go is now the third most added song to Top40 radio playlists, as reflected this week on the Billboard Mainstream Top40 Indicator Most Added chart. Additionally, Go Santa Go gained a strong debute at New Music Weekly securing Most Added on both AC/HOT AC and Top40/CHR charts.
“I am very excited that Village People are back on radio again with new material like Go Santa Go. But we are all super excited to be on a Billboard chart again after almost 40 years,” said Victor Willis
A Village People Christmas is the name of the group’s first ever Christmas album which contains the hot new holiday release, Go Santa Go.
“We were surprised when Victor informed us that the first of our new material would be holiday songs. But once he hummed the melodies, we all felt that many of the songs have the potential to become yearly holiday favorites,” said James Lee, Village People G.I.”
The album features six original holiday songs written by Victor Willis, including a ballad titled “If You Believe,” and “Snow Ball Fight.” The album is available on iTunes, Spotify, and other digital platforms, with CDs being available only through Amazon On Demand.
“There’s no better way to celebrate Village People’s 40th anniversary than with new material on the charts. Village People are coming back in a big way,” said Willis
Village People is one of the most iconic groups in the world, known for their distinctive characters and costumes and selling over 100 million records . Their hits include the iconic “Y.M.C.A.,” “Macho Man,” “Go West,” and “In the Navy.” The group is celebrating their 40th anniversary throughout 2019 touring the world.
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ABOUT THE VILLAGE PEOPLE:
Village People is one of the most iconic music groups in the world. Their music has become part of the international songbook. The group’s hits are featured in dozens of major motion pictures, on Broadway, in commercials and in “Village People Party” slot machines. Of course, Y.M.C.A (along with its dance) is played at almost every party, wedding, bar mitzvah, and sporting event in the universe. It began in 1977 when producer Jacques Morali and his business partner Henri Belolo (known as Can’t Stop Productions) were recording a new album for their hit group the Ritchie Family. They needed background singers. Horace Ott, the arranger/conductor who was working with them, suggested Victor Willis, a singer who Ott was working with on a solo album and who was performing in the Broadway musical The Wiz. After Willis completed background on the album, Morali approached him about another musical project he and Belolo were planning which turned out to be Village People. “I had a dream that you sang lead vocals on an album I produced, and it went very, very big,” Morali told Willis. “I have four tracks. I can’t pay you much right now but if you agree, I’ll make you a star.” Willis agreed and the rest is history. Those initial four tracks, San Francisco (You’ve Got Me), In Hollywood (Everyone’s a Star), Fire Island, and Village People, were recorded by Willis under the auspices of “Village People” with use of professional background singers, and released as the group’s debut album in 1977. The album quickly climbed to the top of the dance charts and became an international hit. Demand for “Village People” to appear in concert and on television shows like American Bandstand and Merv Griffin was great. The only problem … “Village People” was Victor Willis! So Morali, Belolo and Willis had to put together an actual group … and quick. Morali and Belolo had already met Felipe Rose who dressed as a Native American. They recruited him. Willis hand picked Alex Briley, who he’d previously worked with in a musical. The quickly assembled original lineup which appeared with Victor (dressed as a disco king) on American Bandstand consisted of seven members: Mark Mussler (Construction Worker), David Forrest (Cowboy), Lee Mouton (Leatherman), Peter Whitehead (nondescript), Felipe Rose (Indian), and Alex Briley (nondescript). After that appearance, an ad was placed in a trade paper for new members which read: Macho Types Wanted for World-Famous Disco Group — Must Dance and Have a Moustache. Randy Jones, Glenn Hughes and David Hodo answered the call, and the six member classic lineup was soon in place. Casablanca Records and Filmworks, the group’s label, having had success with the first release, got behind the second album Macho Man with full promotion and marketing. Village People became an international phenomenon and quickly followed with their third album, the 5x-platinum Cruisin (which featured the blockbuster hit Y.M.C.A.). They embarked on a worldwide tour in 1979 to coincide with the release of their fourth album, Go West. The group has received many honors and awards, including the American Music Award for Favorite Musical Group, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. After Willis exited in late 1979, several replacement singers took over as lead singer of the group, including Ray Stephens, Miles Jaye and Raymond Simpson (who served the longest). The group went on to star in the 1980 Razzy Award-winning movie Can’t Stop the Music. Over the years, various renditions of the group have consistently toured the world along with original members Felipe Rose and Alex Briley, including Raymond Simpson (cop), Jeff Olson (cowboy), Mark Lee (Construction Worker), Bill Whitefield (Construction Worker), Eric Anzalone (Biker), and James Newman (Cowboy). The group has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and continues to break records. In 2004 BMI recognized Y.M.C.A. as exceeding one million airplays. In 2017, Y.M.C.A. made UK’s Official Millionaires Chart – songs that have reached 1 million in combined sales/streams. For the group’s 40th anniversary, Victor Willis returned and is back at the helm. Backed by a live band (no pre-recorded tracks!), Village People continues to thrill concert-goers around the world — as they did back in the day. Village People is: Victor Willis (Cop/Admiral), Angel Morales (Native American), James Kwong (Construction Worker), Chad Freeman (Cowboy), Sonny Earl (G.I.), and James J.J. Lippold (Leatherman).