Frank Farian, creator of Boney M. and Milli Vanilli, dies

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Frank Farian, creator of Boney M. and Milli Vanilli, dies

Frank Farian, the German singer, songwriter and producer who created Boney M. and was later responsible for the Milli Vanilli scandal, has died at the age of 82 in Miami, his agent has confirmed.

Frank Farian’s is the male voice that sounds in Boney M.’s songs, since it has always been known that Bobby Farrell – the visible face of the group – was a model. He preferred to remain in the shadows and evidently did not appear on the album covers either. Backing vocalists Liz Mitchell and Marcia Barrett sang live as well as on recordings, while Maizie Williams only appeared on live shows. Farrell passed away in 2010.

Farian founded Boney M. in 1975. At the time, Boney M. was Farian’s stage name and there was no band to back him up. The first single released under the name Boney M., a fun version of ‘Baby Do You Wanna Bump’, achieved minor success in the Netherlands and Belgium, leading Farian to form the band that would become popular globally.

Before playing in every possible advertisement, ‘Daddy Cool’ was Boney M.’s first international hit in 1976 and kicked off a successful career that has sold 100 million records and is generous in iconic hits that continue to sound like today. ‘Rasputin’ has been another megaviral on TikTok, ‘Ma Baker’ is evidently referenced in Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’, ‘Sunny’ has also been used in advertisements and ‘Rivers of Babylon’ is among the most successful singles of the history of the United Kingdom. Farian created all of these classics and more.

Boney M. disbanded in 1986. In 1988, Farian founded Milli Vanilli. The duo, formed in Munich by Germans Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, achieved enormous popularity in the late 80s and early 90s, first in Europe with their debut ‘All or Nothing’ (1988) and, later, in North America. North with the reissue of that album, ‘Girl, You Know It’s True’ (1989), which was a great success in the United States. In 1990, Milli Vanilli won the Grammy for Breakthrough Artist.

Rob and Fabrice, who were actually singers, wanted to put their own voices on Milli Vanilli’s songs and they let Farian know. He never allowed it and it was he who revealed in an interview that neither of them sang in the recordings. The backlash was immediate and devastating. The Grammys, for the first and only time in history, withdrew their award, their albums were discontinued and the group was ostracized. Rob died in 1998 from an overdose.

After the Milli Vanilli fiasco, Frank Farian continued with his career and, in the 90s, created the eurodance group La Bouche, known for the legendary single ‘Be My Lover’, and No Mercy, the latter, popular for its mix of dance and latin music.

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Simon Müller

Simon Müller is the driving force behind UMusic, embodying a lifelong passion for all things melodious. Born and raised in New York, his love for music took form at an early age and fueled his journey from an avid music enthusiast to the founder of a leading music-centered website. Simon's diverse musical tastes and intrinsic understanding of acoustic elements offer a unique perspective to the UMusic community. Sporting a dedicated commitment to aural enrichment and hearing health, his vision extends beyond just delivering news - he aspires to create a network of informed, appreciative music lovers. Spend a moment in Mueller's company, and you'd find his passion infectious – music isn’t simply his job, it’s his heartbeat.