Henri Belolo

Henri Belolo of The Village People & Founder of Scorpio Music Dies at 82

Dance music pioneer Henri Belolo passed away on Saturday, August 3, 2019. Over the course of his 60-year career, Henri Belolo reached the pinnacle of success in music, as a producer, a writer, and a businessman. Born on November 27th, 1936 in Casablanca, Morocco, Henri Belolo started his journey by representing Barclay Records and Atlantic before moving to Paris at the end of the '60s. Joining Polydor, he produced albums for legendary French artists such as Serge Reggiani, Georges Moustaki and Jeanne Moreau. In 1970, Henri Belolo declined the presidency of Polydor, creating instead Carabine Music, one of the very first successful independent labels in France.

His deep love for music had its roots at the intersection of American culture and the rhythmic poetry of Gnawa percussions. Henri Belolo was therefore bound to recognize the rising tide of dance music, which was soon to emerge from Philadelphia circa 1972, at the Sigma Sound Studios. At that point, with friend and co-writer Jacques Morali, he was at the inception of Disco music and dominated the Billboard charts several times between 1975 and 1980.

Belolo first landed on the Billboard charts with "Brazil" by the Ritchie Family released in 1975. The track, which was #5 on the Billboard charts and #1 in the first-ever Billboard Disco chart, proceeded to over seven million singles and 13 million albums.

Belolo also charted as co-founder of the Village People. The group caught the attention of Neil Bogart at the label, Casablanca Records. Belolo continued to co-write and produce Village People hits such as “Macho Man,” “In The Navy,” “Go West” and “YMCA,” all of which charted on the Billboard Top 100. “YMCA” spent over a year on the chart.

During the '80s, Henri Belolo and Jacques Morali were behind many other global hits for artists including Patrick Juvet and Eartha Kitt. The duo is also responsible for introducing break dancing to Europe with Break Machine’s Street Dance,which sold millions of albums. In the '90s, Henri Belolo contributed to the growth of house music and the club culture in France and across Europe with numerous successful acts such as 2unlimited, Eiffel 65, Gala and Haddaway.

Under Belolo’s guidance, Scorpio found success many times throughout the 2000s, culminating in 2017 with the global success of Mi Gente” by Willly William, J. Balvin and Beyonce, #1 in 55 countries, 67x platinum in the USA and with over 2 Billion views on YouTube.

Henri Belolo was made a Knight of the French Legion of Honor in 2016. He is followed by his sons Jonathan and Anthony, who took over the presidency of Scorpio Music in 2010.

“Henri will live on in our hearts and minds forever," said Scorpio Music.