Monday, May 26, 2014

The YMCA song

The YMCA dance.
Have you ever heard the 'YMCA' song? The song that the moment it was played, someone would just stand up, sing along and do the YMCA dance. Its a popular song that almost always played in any events or karaoke sessions. Its a cheerful song and somewhat quite suitable to be included in a  psych up song list. The YMCA song was recorded by an American disco group called Village People. It was released in the album Cruisin' in 1978 and one of the singles song that had sold over 10 million physical copies worldwide.

Village People was originally created by Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo to target disco's gay audience by featuring popular gay fantasy personae. The group was also famous with the 'Macho Man' song.

Did you know that YMCA actually stands for 'Young Men's Christian Association'? That's right. The YMCA song actually refer to the real organisation. When the song came out, YMCA was going to sue Village People for the trademark infringement and err.. implied gay theme in that song. However, YMCA dropped their lawsuit when their memberships significantly increased after the song releases.

But how did the song came into being? According to Henri Belolo, when he was walking with Jacques Morali, they saw the YMCA sign to which Jacques commented that it a good place to find good friends. Supposedly, their conversation lead to the creation of the song. The group lead singer, Victor Willis, also claimed that Morali once asked him what does YMCA stands for, while they were in the studio. Victor then explained it to him which also supposedly lead to the creation of the song.

Whichever encounter that lead to the making of the song, the song ended up being incredibly famous. But because the Village People was a music group that sprang from gay culture, so the song was implicitly understood as celebrating the YMCA's reputation as a popular cruising and hookup spot for younger gay men. But the lead singer, Victor Willis, who apparently a straight guy mentioned that he did not write YMCA as a gay anthem. In fact, it was more about the fun for being at the YMCA.

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Wait, what is YMCA again? You see, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) is some sort of recreational and educational association, with the aims of putting Christian principles into practice by developing a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

A worldwide organisation, they are renowned for providing recreational facilities and educational programs for the young adults. They also provide low cost accommodations for the homeless and vulnerable young adults, especially those who were journeying to the cities. The song was actually promoting about the things that you can do at the YMCA and the benefits of joining them. Victor Willis said the song was meant to reflect about young urban black youth fun at the YMCA such as basketball and swimming. Although he also known for his fondness for double entendre.

In case you are wondering if the song is some sort of Christian propaganda or effort of converting people from other faiths, believe me, it is not. The YMCA usually open their facilities to the public regardless of their members' religious belief. It is not known that the YMCA preached to their members, but they do provide Bible Study class other than promoting a healthy lifestyle in accordance to the Christian principles.      

So yeah, if you are travelling to a new unfamiliar cities, and you come across a YMCA building, you might want to check it out. You might get a place to stay while you try to stand on your own two feet because:-

Young man, there's no need to feel down.
I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.
I said, young man, 'cause you're in a new town 
There's no need to be unhappy.

Young man, there's a place you can go.
I said, young man, when you're short on your dough.
You can stay there, and I'm sure you will find
Many ways to have a good time

It's fun to stay at the Y~M~C~A.
It's fun to stay at the Y~M~C~A.


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