The Village People Verses The Y.M.C.A

January 13th Celebrates The Village People

Today on Days to Remember we celebrate how on January 13th 1976 the Y.M.C.A., filed a lawsuit against the Village People over their song, “Y.M.C.A.,” which was later dropped.

When I think of the group called The Village People, I think to myself, “Oh No, not again.”

This musical group was a very BIG in 1970’s but there up beat tunes to me sounded very corny but on January 13th 1976, one their quirky songs were up for speculation.

The Y.M.C.A. song reached number two on the US charts in early 1979 and reached number one in the UK around the same time, becoming the group’s biggest hit.

The song remains popular and is played at many sporting events in the U.S. and Europe, with crowds using the dance in which the arms are used to spell out the four letters of the song’s title as an opportunity to stretch. Moreover, the song also remains particularly popular due to its status as a disco classic and gay anthem, even among listeners who are otherwise uninvolved in disco or gay culture.

Today’s YouTube presentation brought to you by user name Village People is the original video of the song called, “Y.M.C.A.”

Do you know what the initials Y.M.C.A. stand for?

It means the, Young Men’s Christian Association which was founded on June 6th 1844 by George Williams.

Taken at face value, the song’s lyrics extol the virtues of the Young Men’s Christian Association. In the gay culture from which the Village People sprang, the song was implicitly understood as celebrating the YMCA’s reputation as a popular cruising and hookup spot, particularly for the younger men to whom it was addressed.

Willis, the group’s lead singer and lyricist, said through his publicist that he did not write “Y.M.C.A.” as a gay anthem but as a reflection of young urban black youth fun at the YMCA such as basketball and swimming.

In what may be the beginning of a major shake-up in the music industry, Victor Willis, the original lead singer of the Village People, has filed paperwork to regain control over his share of the copyright credit for 32 of the band’s songs, including the hit “Y.M.C.A.”

Scorpio Music and Can’t Stop Productions, the two companies that administer publishing rights to the group’s songs, have reacted by asking a Los Angeles judge for a judgment that Willis can’t exercise so-called “termination” rights because he created the work as an employee in a “writer for hire” arrangement.

The story, first reported by the New York Times, is the latest in a trend we’ve written about before. Representatives for a number of prominent musicians, including Barbara Streisand, Brian Wilson, and the Eagles, have been exploring their right to exercise the once-obscure termination provision of the U.S. Copyright Act.

Since the Copyright Act amendments went into effect in 1978, it means that 2013 is the first year where musicians such as Bruce Springsteen and Victor Willis can effectuate a termination. Since these notices have to go out in advance, it also means that these artists are now under the clock to send out their termination notice or forfeit the right for the foreseeable future.

In other words, there’s a strong incentive for termination notices to go out right now, especially on recordings made in 1978. By January 1st, authors of those works will have missed their window.

In the Willis case, the music publishers are already arguing that the band’s songs were “works made for hire,” but it’s important to note that the Copyright Act defines different types of these.

However after a long court battle the law suit was later dropped.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell
jdmitchelldesigns@gmail.com

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