'In the Navy' songwriter, Village People co-founder dies


NEW YORK — Henri Belolo, who co-founded Village People and co-wrote their classic hits "YMCA," “Macho Man" and "In the Navy," has died. He was 82.

Scorpio Music, founded by Belolo, announced on Wednesday that Belolo died Saturday. No details about the death were provided.

Belolo was born in Casablanca, Morocco, on Nov. 27, 1936.

With Jacques Morali and lead singer Victor Willis, Belolo founded the six-member Village People. The group's self-titled debut album was released in 1977.

In 1978, the group released two albums, "Macho Man" and "Cruisin'" — which featured the international hit "Y.M.C.A.," co-written by Belolo. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard chart.

A year later, Village People released the album "Go West," which included "In the Navy," another song co-written by Belolo that peaked at No. 3 hit on the chart.

According to a 1979 article by The Associated Press, the Navy acquired the rights to the hit single, intending to reach young Americans by capitalizing upon the disco craze. In exchange, the Village People were allowed to film a music video for the track upon the now-decommissioned USS Reasoner, then stationed in San Diego.

The resulting video helped bolster the popularity of the single — but the Navy ultimately scrapped plans to use the footage as a recruiting tool due to “budgetary and coordinating requirements,” a Navy spokesman said at the time.

The AP reported the Pentagon’s decision to distance itself from the project was not related to “the Village People's reputation as a group with a substantially homosexual following.”

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