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 Naval Base San Diego where the Navy provided them with access to film on the deck of the berthed frigate USS Reasoner, in the end the Navy did not use the video, choosing to remain with the traditional 'Anchors Aweigh'. 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 recover his share of the copyrights to songs co-written by him. The 1976 act extended the copyright term, but provided a mechanism for artists to benefit from the extension even if they had already signed their rights away to a publisher. His publishers had argued unsuccessfully that copyright recovery was only possible if all co-writers claimed it. Willis now owns 33% of his songs.
The Israeli pop-rock band "Tislam" has a very famous line in one 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.
Old Navy had a radio spot containing the lyric "We want you in a new swimsuit," sung to the tune of the song.