Village People singer has surgery on vocal cords

Mon Jul 7, 2008 9:07pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Victor Willis, the original lead singer of disco-era band Village People, underwent surgery at a San Diego hospital on Monday to remove nodules from his vocal cords, his spokeswoman said.

The surgery has forced Willis, who wrote hits such as "Y.M.C.A" and "Macho Man," to cancel a U.S. tour, but his spokeswoman said he is expected to recover fully and a new tour could begin as soon as October of this year.

"Victor's surgery was a success, and the benign nodules were successfully removed this morning," spokeswoman Linda Smith said in a statement.

The Village People, a group of men dressed as characters who included a construction worker, American Indian and military man, helped define disco music in the late 1970s.

They formed in 1977 with Willis dressed as a policeman and scored numerous hits including "In the Navy." The group has sold more than 80 million albums and singles.

Willis wrote many early Village People songs and as the lead singer was a key figure, but he left the group in 1980 and returned only for a short time, between 1982 and 1984.

Along with his work for Village People, Willis also wrote songs for such recording artists as Patrick Juvet and The Ritchie Family.

(Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; editing by Steve Gorman)

<p>Disco group the Village People, with Victor Willis singing in front, perform during a taping of "American Bandstand's 50th...A Celebration" in Pasadena, California, April 20, 2002. REUTERS/Jim Ruymen</p>