Jacques Morali PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 27 November 2008 10:05

Henri Belolo and Jacques MoraliJacques Morali

Born: July 4, 1947, France

Died: November 15, 1991

Age: 44

Cause of death: Aids

Notable because: Prolific writer-producer who made 65 albums between 74 and 82, including Village People YMCA and In the Navy. Was 5'3" tall.

Jacques Morali was a French music producer, who is best remembered for being the creator and driving force behind the disco group, Village People.

Morali started his career in music in a record shop in the Orly airport and eventually became a writer and right hand for Hervé Vilard, Michèle Torr and Christophe. Through meeting Elizabeth Taylor and Cher's hairdresser he became familiar with Philadelphia International Records and immediately fell in love with disco in the early 1970s. He moved to the United States and landed at Sigma Sound Studios, where most Philly classics were recorded. While there he co-produced and/or co-wrote hits like "Brazil" (1975), "The Best Disco In Town" (1976), "Life Is Music" (1977), "African Queens"(1977), "Quiet Village" (1977) and "American Generation" (1978) for The Ritchie Family, a female trio.

1975 was the beginning of Morali's partnership with Henri Belolo, owner of the Scorpio Record label in Paris. While in New York, Morali attended a costume ball at "Les Mouches," a gay disco in Greenwich Village. As he gazed around the room, he was impressed by all the macho male stereotypes portrayed by the party guests. He had the idea to put together a group of singers and dancers, each one playing a different gay fantasy figure. At the beginning Belolo was not involved in this project, but when he saw that Morali had succeeded in signing a licensing deal with Casablanca Records, Belolo decided to become a partner in this project. Village People scored a number of hits including "San Francisco" (1977), "YMCA" (1978), "Macho Man" (1978), "In the Navy" (1979), and "Go West" (1979). In 1980, Morali co-produced, with Belolo and Allan Carr, the Village People film, Can't Stop the Music. The film, a fictionalized account of the Village People's origin (in which Morali was represented by Steve Guttenberg as "Jack Morell"), was a critical and commercial failure.

Between 1974 and 1982 Morali produced over 65 albums. Sigma Sound Studios even reserved a recording studio just for him. Following the disco backlash his productivity dropped off until he returned in 1984 with hits for Break Machine and Eartha Kitt ("Where Is My Man").

He fired the entire Ritchie Family and replaced them with sexier-looking women.

Randy Jones (the Village Peoples' original Cowboy) said, in a late 80's interview, that Jacques Morali was a nasty, bitchy queen who surrounded himself with all the Men he could never have.

Morali contracted HIV during the mid-1980s. AIDS claimed his life in 1991 at the age of 44.

Last Updated on Monday, 09 March 2009 11:04

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