In the Navy

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"In the Navy"
Single by Village People
from the album Go West
B-side "Manhattan Woman"
Released December 24, 1979
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1979
Genre Disco
Length 5:40
3:43 (7" version)
Label Casablanca Records
Writer(s) Jacques Morali, Henri Belolo, Victor Willis
Producer(s) Jacques Morali
Village People singles chronology
"Go West"
"In the Navy"
"Ready for the 80's"
For the 1941 Abbott & Costello film, see In the Navy (film).

"In the Navy" is a song recorded by American disco group Village People released in 1979. It was the last top 10 hit for the group in the United States.

Background and writing[edit]

After the enormous commercial success of their 1978 hit "Y.M.C.A." which unexpectedly became the unofficial hymn and powerful advertising tool for the YMCA, the group took on another national institution, the United States Navy. The Navy contacted group manager Henri Belolo to use the song in a recruiting advertising campaign for television and radio. Belolo gave the rights for free on the condition that the Navy help them shoot the music video. Less than a month later, Village People arrived at the San Diego Naval base where the Navy provided them with the frigate USS Reasoner, several aircraft, and the crew of the ship (with the stipulation that they couldn't dance). The Navy later canceled the campaign after protests erupted over using taxpayer money for a music video of a controversial group.[1][not in citation given]

In a landmark ruling in 2012, the United States District Court for the Southern District of California ruled that under the Copyright Act of 1976, Victor Willis (Village People's "Cop"/"Naval officer") can terminate his copyrights to songs written by him and granted to the publishers Can't Stop Productions and Scorpio Music because "a joint author who separately transfers his copyright interest may unilaterally terminate the grant."[2] In The Navy and other hits written by Willis (for Village People and other Can't Stop acts) will revert to him beginning in 2013. At a minimum, Willis will own (recapture) 33% of his songs; this percentage may increase to 50% if the songs are proved to be written solely by Willis and Jacques Morali, with no contribution from Belolo.[3]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1979) Peak
Austrian Singles Chart 5
Canadian RPM Top Singles 1
Dutch Singles Chart 1
Irish Singles Chart[4] 2
New Zealand Singles Chart 7
Norwegian Singles Chart 2
Swedish Singles Chart 3
Swiss Singles Chart 7
UK Singles Chart 2
US Billboard Hot 100 3
US Billboard Disco Singles 14
US Billboard Hot Soul Singles 30


  • The Spanish group Parchís covered this song in 1979, and became one of their most popular songs. The cover was titled En la armada, sung in Spanish, and covered again by other groups with the same lyrics of Parchís. It is possibly the first cover of the song, and definitely the first in Spanish.
  • Captain Jack rerecorded a cover of the song and it was parodied by Billy Connolly as "In the Brownies".
  • The song is performed during a sketch on The Muppet Show's fifth season,in which Viking Pigs raid an unnamed village whilst singing the song.
  • Japanese female pop duo Pink Lady had a top 10 hit in Japan in 1979 with a cover of "In the Navy" titled "Pink Typhoon" (see the Japanese Wikipedia article), which substituted the words "Pink lady" ("Pin-ku re-di") for "In the navy" in the song's chorus and "I want you, you want Mie/I want you, you want Kei" (referring to group members Mie Nemoto and Kei Masuda) for "They want you as a new recruit."
  • The song is played in The Simpsons episode "Simpson Tide" (where it's identified as an "ancient sea shanty"!) and it ends as a submarine submerges (taking the Village People, and Smithers, with it). It is also briefly sung by The Sea Captain in the episode "Mr. Plow".
  • In the game Grand Theft Auto III, there is a gay pedestrian who will occasionally say "In the navy!"
  • The finale of the 2000 Leslie Nielsen comedy 2001: A Space Travesty features a performance of "In the Navy" sung by impersonators of the Three Tenors.
  • At the end of the 1996 comedy film Down Periscope, the cast and the Village People perform an updated music video of the song aboard a WWII era submarine in the film's end credits.
  • The Israeli pop-rock band "Tislam" has a very famous line in on of their greatest hits, "Tnu Li Rockn'Roll" (Give me Rock 'n'Roll), that says "Hoshavt oti Ba'cheder etmol ad meuchar, lishmo'a Indeonezi shel Anshei Hakfar" (You sat me down in the room yesterday evening, to hear "Indinezi" by The Village People). This line was written after the songwriter, Yair Nitzani, was a DJ at a club where people kept asking him to put on the song "Indonezi" (meaning "Indonesian") because they misheard the real name of the song. This is an example of a mondegreen, the mishearing of a phrase such that it acquires a new meaning.
  • The Japanese singer Teppei Shibuya also covers the song on his cd "On-Demand", this version being a full translation of the original song, except for the chorus.
  • Old Navy had a radio spot containing the lyric "We want you in a new swimsuit."
  • Scottish metal band Alestorm released a cover of this song on limited 7" single.