Thu, Jul 15, 2010 - Page 7 News List

YMCA rebranding itself as ‘The Y,’ no change to song

THE GUARDIAN AND AP , NEW YORK AND CHICAGO

It was perhaps the most joyfully proclaimed acronym in the history of popular music. Four letters, four actions, one exuberant hit record that came to be seen as a symbol of gay culture in the 1970s, on a par with mustaches and wide lapels.

But on Monday, the YMCA was laid to rest in the US, marking the end of its 166-year history. Or to be more accurate, MCA was laid to rest, leaving the Y standing tall and proud as the sole surviving letter of the Youth Men’s Christian Association, the original Bible study group founded in London in 1844.

The board of the organization’s US branch announced that it would henceforth call itself by its common street name, “The Y,” unveiling a new logo as part of a major “brand revitalization.”

The logo comes in five different color combinations and depicts the letter Y in a design that lends itself to a number of possible interpretations.

The creators presumably wanted to suggest an energetic youngster, as befits the group’s founding principles of helping young people to become healthy in spirit, mind and body.

Neil Nicoll, president of the YMCA of the USA, said the change was necessary to communicate “our story, bringing more people to the place where they can realize the benefits we bring.”

The Village People on Monday said it wouldn’t change its hit song Y.M.C.A. just because the organization has changed its name.

Victor Willis, the lead singer of the original group, released a statement saying the change wouldn’t affect the song or the dance that goes along with it, in which participants use their arms to make the shape of each letter.

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