In the Navy

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"In the Navy"
In the navy.jpg
Single by Village People
from the album Go West
B-side"Manhattan Woman"
ReleasedMarch 1979
Length5:39 (album version)
3:45 (single edit)
Producer(s)Jacques Morali
Village People singles chronology
"In the Navy"
"Go West"
Music video
"In the Navy" on YouTube

"In the Navy" is a song by the American disco group Village People. It was released as the first single from their fourth studio album, Go West. It was a number one hit in Canada, Japan and the Netherlands, while reaching number two in Ireland, Norway and the UK. In 1994, a remix charted at number 36 in the UK. "In the Navy" was the last Top 10 hit for the group in the United States.

Background, writing and video[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,[1] 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, the Village group 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".[2]

According to Billboard Magazine, "In the Navy" is an "upbeat dance effort [which] showcases the group's familiar theme and sound with this comedic spoof on" the Navy.[3] Cash Box said it has "a vibrant beat, powerful horns, sweeping strings and another knock-out campy lyric."[4]

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, co-writer Victor Willis (Village People's "Cop"/"Naval officer") can recover his share of the copyrights to songs co-written by him.[5] Willis now owns 33% of his songs.[6]

A second music video was later produced for the 1996 naval comic film Down Periscope, shown during the credits and featured the cast including Kelsey Grammer, Lauren Holly and Rob Schneider.


Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[17] Platinum 150,000^
France (SNEP)[18] Gold 500,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Silver 250,000^
United States (RIAA)[20] Gold 1,000,000^
Wotldwide 2,000,000[21]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "How Does the YMCA Feel About the Village People Song 'Y.M.C.A.'?". 31 January 2017.
  2. ^ Ed Vulliamy (12 November 2006). "Ed Vulliamy on the Village People story". the Guardian.
  3. ^ "Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard Magazine. March 10, 1979. p. 88. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  4. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. March 10, 1978. p. 20. Retrieved 2022-01-01.
  5. ^ Eriq Gardner (8 May 2012). "Village People Songwriter Victor Willis Wins Case Over Termination of 'Y.M.C.A.' Rights". The Hollywood Reporter.
  6. ^ Edvard Pettersson (8 May 2012). "Village People Motorcycle Cop Wins 'YMCA' Copyright Case".
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 329. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  8. ^ "Item: 2712 - Library and Archives Canada". 17 July 2013. Retrieved 2016-10-15.
  9. ^ "In the Navy in Irish Chart". IRMA. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009. Only results when searching "In the Navy"
  10. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  11. ^ "Dance Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 28 May 1994. p. 26. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Kent Music Report No 288 – 31 December 1979 > National Top 100 Singles for 1979". Kent Music Report. Retrieved December 3, 2020 – via
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Top 100 Singles of 1979" (PDF). Record Mirror. London: Spotlight Publications. January 5, 1980. p. 30. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Top 100 Year End Charts: 1979". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  17. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Village People – In the Navy". Music Canada. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  18. ^ "French single certifications – Village People – In the Navy" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved December 28, 2021. Select VILLAGE PEOPLE and click OK. 
  19. ^ "British single certifications – Village People – In the Navy". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  20. ^ "American single certifications – Village People – In the Navy". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  21. ^ Murrells, Joseph. Million selling records from the 1900s to the 1980s : an illustrated directory. Arco Pub. p. 483. ISBN 0668064595. The global tally is estimated at over two million