The outrageous gay anthem–which has also become a staple of class reunions and wedding receptions–joined the likes of Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer” and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” as part of the United States’ registry of important musical compositions that help shape the culture.
“[O]ver 40 years since it hit the streets and the dance floors, “Y.M.C.A.”…is an American cultural phenomenon — people from all walks of life do the “Y.M.C.A.” dance at weddings, Bar Mitzvahs or sporting events,” wrote the library in a statement. “It is as likely to be heard at a Midwestern prom as it is at New York City’s annual Gay Pride parade.”
“I had no idea when we wrote “Y.M.C.A.” that it would become one of the most iconic songs in the world, and fixture at almost every wedding, birthday party, bar mitzvah and sporting event,” said Victor Willis, the Village People’s lead singer, who penned the song’s lyrics, said in of the inclusion. “I am glad that the music of Village People has made the world smile for over 40 years with our music. On behalf of my partners Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo, we thank you and are honored to be in such elite company.”
The Village People began in 1977, born out of the disco craze of the time. The five members of the group dressed in iconic costumes taken from gay culture, including a leather daddy, a construction worker, a Native American, a sailor and a cowboy, thus earning an immediate queer following. More than 40 years later the group’s singles which also include “Macho Man,” “Can’t Stop the Music,” and “In the Navy” remain staples of gay culture.