21 Jul: The Outing of Milli Vanilli
German pop duo Milli Vanilli sold 33 million singles, including three US number ones, but harboured a shameful secret: their vocals were sung by someone else. At a promotional gig in Connecticut on 21st July, 1989, their backing track crashed – and speculation began to mount.
“I knew right then and there, it was the beginning of the end for Milli Vanilli,” ‘singer’ Rob Pilatus admitted to the Los Angeles Times in November 1990. “When my voice got stuck in the computer and it just kept repeating and repeating, I panicked. I just ran off the stage.″
In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion reveal how impresario Frank Farian created the band from his Boney M template; ask whether the young men fronting the project took a disproportionate amount of the flack from the public; and consider if ‘Girl You Know It’s True’ might just be the most popular pop song ever to have a spoken word intro…
• ‘30 Years Ago, Milli Vanilli Returned Their Best New Artist Grammy; Should They Get the Award Back Now?’ (Variety, 2020): https://variety.com/2020/music/news/milli-vanilli-grammy-scandal-fab-morvan-1234865697/
• Frank Farian turns 75 (DW, 2016): https://www.dw.com/en/boney-m-producer-frank-farian-turns-75/a-19406061
• The moment the record skipped (VH1 Behind The Music):
‘Why am I hearing a rerun?’ We’re planning exciting new things for the autumn, and we’re banking that most of you haven’t heard it yet. So stick with us.