Village People – a popular concept that became a group

Village People from New York City, were a concept before they were a group.
French record producer Jacques Morali assembled this group in 1977.
Morali wanted to create a group that would appeal gay audience.

His first recruit was Felipe Rose, a go-go dancer who was dressed in an American Indian costume.
The other members were Alexander Briley, Randy Jones, David Hodo, Glenn Hughes and lead singer Victor Willis.

Each member of the group was outfitted to cash in on the homosexual "macho" stereotyping. Rose was dressed as an American Indian, Jones as a cowboy, Willis as a policeman, Hodo dressed as hard-hat construction worker, Hughes as a biker and Briley as a soldier.

The first hit was in the UK with "San Francisco" in 1977, and their first major US hit was "Macho Man" in 1978, followed by two international hits, "Y.M.C.A." (UK number 1/US number 2) and "In The Navy" (UK number 2/US number 3).
Their success continued with the Top 20 singles, "Go West" (1979) and "Can't Stop The Music" (1980). The group's fortunes plummeted, in large part due to their participation in the ill-fated film also titled Can't Stop the Music.

After that Victor Willis quit the group and was replaced by Ray Simpson.
Attempts to resurface with new personnel (Miles Jaye and Jeff Olson replacing Simpson and Jones) new styles didn't give them any success either.
They had a small hit in the UK in 1985 with "Sex Over The Phone".

Jaye was later signed to Island Records as a solo artist, achieving success on the US R&B singles chart in the late 80s.
Simpson, Rose, Hodo, Hughes, Briley and Olson re-formed the group in the late 80s, and they had a hit in Australia in 1990 with the single "Living In The Wildlife".

Morali who started the group died of an AIDS-related illness in 1991.
In 1995, an ill Hughes dropped out of performing, but was present to help the group celebrate their 20th anniversary two years later.
He was then replaced by Eric Anzalone.

FELIPE ROSE (The Indian)

Felipe is born 1955 and a native New Yorker of Puerto Rican and American Indian heritage raised in Brooklyn.

He is a well-known personality in the entertainment industry. During the 1980's and he sang and danced with Tito Puente in concert. He also starred in the role of Bernardo in a regional theatre production of "West Side Story."
In 1996, Mr. Rose founded the Tomahawk Group which includes artistic development, an in-house, state of the art digital recording facility and a record and music publishing division.

Currently he is a New Jersey resident, a member of the Board of Directors of Sixuvus Ltd. (the Village People corporation).


Alexander Briley is the original G.I./Military Man of Village People.
Alexander Briley was born 1951 and raised in Harlem and then Mount Vernon, New York. Son of a minister, he has been singing in church all his life. He studied voice at the University of Hartford and is able to perform a wonderful diversity of styles.

Alex arranged most of the vocal for the group. Alex became a sailor for the song "In the Navy" and a soldier the rest of the time.

Currently he resides in Westchester, New York and is a member of the Board of Directors of Sixuvus Ltd. (the Village People corporation).

RANDY JONES (The First Cowboy)

Randy Jones born 1952 is best known as the original Cowboy from Village People. He was operating as the spokesman for the group during interviews at the time.

After the Village People he has had a long career in the entertainment business. As a member of Agnes DeMille Heritage Dance Theatre, a member of Grace Jones' show, and in touring companies of Meet Me In St. Louis, Oklahoma, and Carousel.
He's been on TV shows like Married With Children, American Bandstand, The Love Boat, and Oprah Winfrey and many more.

You can find a lot more on Randy's own great looking website.

DAVID HODO (Construction Worker)

David Hodo was born 1957 and raised in San Andreas, California.
After College he moved to New York City and got his Actors' Equity card on his second day in the city and made his living singing and dancing on Broadway.
He is a talented composer, having written original material for Village People which has been performed in their live show.

David is an animal freak with two cats that he rescued from the streets of his neighborhood. He claims that if he wasn't touring so much, he would have a menagerie.
He also loves chocolate, sunglasses, shoes, book stores and stray animals. (He's the one you see walking around the Bronx at night with bags of dry dog and cat food.)
David is now a member of the Board of Directors of Sixuvus Ltd. (the Village People corporation).


Born July 18th 1950. Died March 4rd 2001 at the age of  50.
Village People leatherman Glenn Hughes, was a member of the group until 1995 (when he stopped performing). His death caused of lung cancer.

Hughes, who was a bridge toll collector before donning his chains and skins and striking it big with the band requested that he'd be buried in full leather regalia.


Victor Willis was the Lead Singer and he left the band in 1979.

On April 12, 2006 Victor Willis, 54, was in court Monday in San Mateo County where a judge decided there's enough evidence for him to face trial on drug-related charges. Willis, has three cases pending against him. The first was a probation violation and possession of cocaine, the second a cocaine possession and being a felon in possession of a gun. The third is when he was stopped by police in March 2006, which lead to ossession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and providing false information to police for using a fake name.

Willis also has a prior drug conviction from about 15 years ago, which makes him ineligible for a drug treatment diversion program.


Ray Simpson is the lead singer and Cop of Village People was born and raised in the Bronx.
From the days of the Village People film CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC, his voice can be heard on all Village People hits.
Ray comes from a successful solo career and many years performing with his sister and brother-in-law, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson.
He started doing some backup singing for Village People in its first years; soon after he was recruited (on very short notice) to join Village People when Victor Willis left.

Ray, his wife Leslie and daughter Alayna now reside in New Jersey.

JEFF OLSON (Second Cowboy)

Jeff Olson, the Cowboy, was born in New York City.
As early as third grade he showed an interest in music and acting, participating in school plays and regularly singing with the school chorus.
After graduation, Jeff moved to Mitchell, South Dakota and he was the lead singer and percussionist of a band known as STEPCHILD.

After 3 years, STEPCHILD disbanded and Jeff moved to the San Francisco. While in California, he was also chosen to co-star in the film "L.A. Crackdown." and was then recruited by a fashion agent in San Francisco.
After a couple of years as a model he was suddenly the cowboy of the group known as Village People.

During the late 1980's, Mr. Olson owned and operated a sports bar in the L.A. area.
Currently he is a Connecticut resident and a member of the Board of Directors of Sixuvus Ltd.(the Village People corporation).

ERIC ANZALONE (Second Biker/Leatherman)

Eric is the newest member of Village People. He was born in Dayton, Ohio but grew up in Santa Barbara, California.
Eric performed in various stage productions around the world. Like the role of Berger in the European tour of HAIR. He starred as the purple-masked Donatello in the world tour of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

In the 1980's, Eric was the frontman for the Los Angeles based heavy-metal band PARADIGM and he has written and performed with a few other grunge/thrash bands over the years. He was also the guitarist in the grungy-alternative band SIR.

Beginning in November 1995, Eric took over the role of the Biker/Leatherman.
He is now a New Jersey resident and has a daughter, Samantha Reyne Anzalone, born September 1998, with his ex-wife Jennifer.

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