Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Hey Y, where's MCA?"

This is  a line uttered by David Spade's character in the current film "Grown Ups" to the Steve Buscemi character after that character winds up in a full-body cast with his arms raised upward.  I won't spoil the film for those who haven't seen it. Besides, this blog entry  is not about the film, but about the YMCA, which just changed its name to "the Y."  I just quoted that movie line because I thought it was strange that this name change happened just after that movie was released with that line.   The YMCA was long nicknamed "the Y," now that's its actual name.  

When the news broke of the name change on my local news last night, the weatherman immediately mentioned the hit single "YMCA" by the Village People.   The song from 1979 is still a favorite today,  played by DJs at parties and weddings and performed at karaoke bars.   At my cousin's wedding in June of last year, the DJ  had several guests don hats and other accessories to represent the various members of the Village People as he proceeded to play "YMCA."   Below are some photos of "The YMCA Dance," as I called it.

The Village People were known for this song as well as other songs such as "In the Navy" and "Macho Man."  They were known for their costumes representing various occupations, making them a popular group costume for Halloween, seen in the photo below.  The school dance in the 1999 film "Never Been Kissed," the theme of which was "Famous Couples Through History," shows some students disguised as the members of this group. 
I have performed the song at karaoke night at a bar in my town, most recently on the night before the 4th of July.   All day today, I was asking on my Facebook, MySpace and Twitter pages if the name change meant I could no longer perform the song?   I was kidding, of course. The USSR no longer exists, but I still listen to that Beatles song, and they still play it on classic rock radio stations.  And now I'm beginning to wonder what other popular songs refer to a no-longer-existing or renamed group, country or whatever in their titles and/or lyrics.  This could make an interesting list.   Anyone got any ideas? Respond in the comments section if you have any.

Back to the "YMCA" song.  The song name won't change despite the organization changing its name. From the Washington Times today:

The Village People are wondering Y.

The iconic 1970s disco group plans to ignore the YMCA-USA, which announced at a press conference Monday that it will be shortening their name to just "the Y" as part of an effort to modernize their logo.

Some things can't be changed, and one of them is singing "it's fun to stay at the Y" without then throwing your arms in their air in the shapes of "M," "C" and "A."

The group will keep on singing "YMCA," which topped the charts in late 1978 and early 1979.

"We are deeply dismayed by today's announcement from the YMCA that they feel a name change and a rebranding are in order after 166 years," the Village People's publicist said in an official statement following the announcement.

Yes, you can keep on performing it at weddings and parties and at karaoke bars (I intend to)!

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