Home » Frank Farian, Milli Vanilli/Boney M Producer Dies at 82

Frank Farian, Milli Vanilli/Boney M Producer Dies at 82

by UNN Feed

Frank Farian, the Wizard of Oz-like Svengali behind the rise and fall of disgraced late 1980s musical duo Milli Vanilli has died at age 82. BBC News reported that Farian’s family released a statement on Tuesday (Jan. 23) that the elusive German producer/songwriter had passed away at his home in Miami of undisclosed causes; at press time Billboard had not independently confirmed Farian’s death.

The studio maestro born in Kirn, Germany on July 18, 1941 began his career in the mid-1960s as a vocalist for the rock band Frankie Boys Schatten. After struggling to break through, Farian hit upon the formula that would twice take him to the highest heights of global success via his first musical sleight of hand vehicle, pop group Boney M.

A talented vocalist and arranger with a golden ear for hooks, Farian assembled the 1970s disco funk group featuring three female vocalist — Marcia Barrett, Liz Mitchell and Maizie Williams — and fronted by Aruban go-go dancer Bobby Farrell after breaking through in a number of European markets in 1975 with the bouncy “Do You Wanna Bump.” The song was credited to “Boney M,” despite Farian singing all the high and low vocal parts. In a genius marketing move, Farian decided to put a face to his creation in time to release Boney M’s 1976 debut album, Take the Heat Off Me.

Unbeknownst to the group’s fans, Farian sang all the male lead vocals for the group that would go on to sell more than 100 million records thanks to such quirky, but undeniable dance floor jams as “Rasputin,” “Daddy Cool,” the Bobby Hebb cover “Sunny” and the swaying, reggae-lite “Rivers of Babylon.” The group released two more albums in quick succession and achieved global success, with seemingly little concern for the open secret that Farrell — who died in 2010 at 61 — was not its actual lead singer, but rather a gifted performer who fronted the band with the assist of more polished backing…

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