Glenn Hughes, a member of Seventies disco band the Village People, died March 4th at the age of fifty. Hughes, a former Brooklyn Battery Tunnel toll collector who assumed the biker persona in the band, had been ill for many years, and requested that he be buried in his trademark “Leatherman” regalia — complete with hat, chains and leather pants that he wore both on and offstage. Hughes stopped performing with the band in 1995 and was replaced by Eric Anzalone, but he remained active in the band’s business affairs, through the band’s company Sixuvus Ltd.
Hughes was recruited in 1976 by French composer/producer Jacques Morali, who came to the United States as the winner of a 20th Century Fox slogan contest but stayed after deciding to form the a band based on gay fantasy figures. In addition to Hughes, the band also featured Felipe Rose as an Indian chief, Randy Jones as a cowboy, Alexander Briley as a GI, David Hodo as a construction worker and Victor Willis as a night-stick wielding policeman. Since Morali recruited the members from New York’s Greenwich Village neighborhood, he dubbed them “The Village People.” The band’s first chart success was with 1978’s “Macho Man,” but made their name with “Y.M.C.A.,” which reached No. 2. The band continues to tour.