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"
ReleasedJanuary 17, 1979; 39 years ago (1979-01-17)
Length5:39 (album version)
3:45 (single edit)
Producer(s)Jacques Morali
Village People singles chronology
"Go West"
"In the Navy"
"Ready for the 80's"
Music video
"In the Navy" on YouTube

"In the Navy" is a song by the American disco group Village People. 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 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".[1]

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.[2] Willis now owns 33% of his songs.[3]

Chart performance[edit]

Cover version[edit]

  • Alestorm created their "In the Navy" cover.
  • Pink Lady recorded a cover version in 1979 and retitled it "Pink Typhoon". In the song's chorus the lines "In the navy" have been replaced with "Pink Lady",

In popular culture[edit]

  • The song was sung in The Muppet Show's Roger Moore episode by a group of Viking pigs as they steal livestock from a village.
  • The song is played in The Simpsons episode "Simpson Tide," referred as an "ancient sea shanty." It is also briefly sung by The Sea Captain in the episode "Mr. Plow". Also, the final segment of "Treehouse of Horror XXII" is a parody of Avatar, called "In the Na'vi".
  • In the game Grand Theft Auto III, there is a gay pedestrian who will occasionally say "In the navy!", "You can sail the seven seas!" and "Young man!" on separate occasions.
  • 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.
  • During the credits of the 1996 comedy film Down Periscope, the Village People are joined by the film's cast, led by Tom Dodge (Kelsey Grammer), Emily Lake (Lauren Holly) and Marty Pascal (Rob Schneider) in an updated music video of the song aboard the protagonists' submarine, the USS Pampanito (named the Stingray in the film), a diesel Balao-class submarine from World War II.
  • The Israeli pop-rock band "Tislam" has a very famous line[citation needed] 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.


  1. ^ Ed Vulliamy. "Ed Vulliamy on the Village People story". the Guardian.
  2. ^ Eriq Gardner (8 May 2012). "Village People Songwriter Victor Willis Wins Case Over Termination of 'Y.M.C.A.' Rights". The Hollywood Reporter.
  3. ^ Edvard Pettersson (8 May 2012). "Village People Motorcycle Cop Wins 'YMCA' Copyright Case".
  4. ^ David Kent's "Australian Chart Book 1970-1992" Archived 2016-03-05 at
  5. ^ "Item: 2712 - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-15.
  6. ^ "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"
  7. ^ Archived 2014-10-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Top 100 Singles of 1979" (PDF). Record Mirror. London: Spotlight Publications. January 5, 1980. p. 30. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-04-12.

External links[edit]