From the Vault...


Village People
"Go West"

© Casablanca Records

Year of Release: 1979

track listing
  • In The Navy
  • Go West
  • Citizens Of The World
  • I Wanna Shake
    Your Hand
  • Get Away Holiday
  • Manhattan Woman

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    Village People
    "Go West"

    Ok, put aside your jokes, insults, and homophobic statements, the Village People have arrived...

    The Village People never had a #1 hit, however their songs such as "Macho Man" and especially "YMCA" has been songs on everyone's hit list. (You define the word "hit.") Wedding DJs, Dance Parties, and the likes have included one or both songs as must-haves during the hours of the parties. Despite the band was labeled as gay, (and they were), the Village People's music just does bring a chuckle for that notion. However, when we all look back, we have to realize, that even though they appealed to the gay environment, they did make Disco music the way it is, and the way it was. Add other artists, such as the Bee Gees, Donna Summer, and all the one-hit wonders of Disco, where you know the songs, but never the artists. Disco Music was a huge phenonemon. And yet it got on everyone's nerves, and eventually became a genre of the past, where it was virtually "destroyed" by Disco-haters. Again, yet, Disco Music became part of the music entourage, and again, looking back on it, it sure is (or was) much better than the "crap" everyone, especially the younger generation listen to today.

    The Village People debut this week on WSVNRadio (yes, there will be more of them in the future), with their 1979 release, Go West. This was the album after "Macho Man." After "YMCA." The album's biggest hit, "In The Navy" was not as huge as the hits prior. It would be another hit for them, as it just may be placed towards the bottom of their well-known hit lists.

    As you listen to this album decades later (close to forty years; wow, has it been THAT long?), the dance beats throughout just has to bring to your attention, that yes, this music of the past can be compared as far better than the rap crap hip-hop we have grown accustomed to of today. Why? Well, let's start with the music. It's happy, it's danceable, it's much easier to listen to. And speaking of that, the lyrics are not as brash or blunt as it is today. What was great about the music of the 1970s, the lyrics lead to your imaginations, as to what the true meaning were. Not like today. The lyrics are blunt. Compare Rod Stewart's lyric, "Spread your wings and make me come inside," compared to today's Rappers, where they just sing (or try to), they just blunt out and tell it -- The F word.

    The lesser-known songs on Go West keeps the dance beats flowing: the title track, "Citizens Of The World," "I Wanna Shake Your Hand," and "Get Away Holiday." Having the 45 single "In The Navy" in my younger years, (and yes, I did have "Macho Man' and "YMCA" also), the flip sides were just as good as the hits. The flip side of "In The Navy" was "Manhattan Woman." And sometimes, I tended to play the flips more than the A-sided hits that everyone were more familiar with. So, when the Village People's original albums were released on CD, it was quite obvious that flip sides would be enjoyed, once again. In most cases, the flips were probably not included in Village People's Best Ofs/Greatest Hits compilations. But then again, the Village People's huge success was from 1977 to 1980, 6 albums. During the 1980s, they did release more albums, but their success was pretty much faded, as Disco music was dead. Only three albums were released in the 1980s, from 1981 to 1985. In looking at their hit singles, they did have them from each release. Yet after 1980, the Village People, like many other Disco-related artists, their best years were behind them. Those who are discovering them, most likely get their Best Ofs, as it features the short versions of their well-known hits, and remixes. Another point to mention about their original albums, was that all of their well-known hits were extended, almost six to seven minutes in length. Radio always played the short versions, and those who listen to the long versions are always impressed, in hearing more of the music, and/or more lyrics.

    The highlights on Go West is "In The Navy," and it's flip side, "Manhattan Woman." "In The Navy" clocks in close to six minutes, and the flip just a little over five. The other tracks defines Disco as it was back in its heyday.

    Whether you like(d) them or not, the Village People became even more famous long after Disco. They have been praised, and parodied, and critized. Songs such as "Macho Man" and "YMCA" are always being played on oldies stations, and putting the gay comments aside, you have to admit, their two biggest hits mentioned have got to be considered two of the biggest and well-known (and well-liked for some) songs in the history of music. They still perform today, even though their personnel compared to the original members in their heyday has changed. One of the original members, Glenn Hughes (leatherman) passed away of lung cancer in 2001. Despite the changes, the members still consists of a Native American, a Solider, a Construction Worker, a Cowboy, a Leatherman, and a Police Officer. Their performances still are sellouts, and most recently they've appeared in television commercials, whether it be themselves, or their hit songs. And, the commercials have always been humourous.

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