Gay anthem YMCA honoured by Library of Congress

The Village People’s song, YMCA, became a gay anthem

The disco hit, YMCA, which became a gay anthem and international dance phenomenon, was deemed on Wednesday to be of historical importance by the de facto national library of the United States.

The US Library of Congress said Village People’s 1978 song, which has inspired partygoers globally to shape out letters on the dance floor, was one of 25 recordings to be added to the National Recording Registry.

Every year recordings deemed to be culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant are added to the registry, at the world’s largest library and research arm of the US Congress.

“I had no idea when we wrote YMCA 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,” Village People’s lead singer, Victor Willis, who wrote the lyrics, said in a statement.

The library said in a statement that the song, by a group of men “purposely campy and extravagantly costumed” as a cop, leather-clad biker, cowboy, mechanic, soldier, and construction worker, was an “American cultural phenomenon.”

“It is as likely to be heard at a Midwestern prom as it is at New York City’s annual Gay Pride parade,” the library said.

Other recordings added to the registry included music from the 1964 Broadway cast recording of Fiddler on the Roof, and Whitney Houston’s version of I Will Always Love You.

-Matthew Lavietes – Thomson Reuters Foundation

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