Frank Farian, creator of Boney M and brain behind the Milli Vanilli ‘hoax’, dies

Music news

Frank Fariansinger, songwriter and one of the most successful producers of the 70s and 80s, has died at the age of 82, as reported by the BBC. The British public broadcaster cites a statement from the Allenfort Media agency by the family of the deceased who assures that he died at his home in Miami (Florida, USA) for reasons still unknown although everything points to natural circumstances due to his age. he.

The news immediately spread like wildfire through the main specialized music media, highlighting the figure of Farian with his lights and shadows. On the one hand as the creator of Boney M and on the other as the brain behind the ‘hoax’ by Milli Vanilli.

Franz Reuther, real name of Frank Farian, was born in Kirn an der Nahe (Germany) on July 18, 1941 and began working professionally in the music industry in the mid-60s creating bands such as Frankie Boys Schatten. But it wouldn’t be until he was 70 when success called at his port. And he did it with a successful band that hid a big secret.

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Boney M was born, formed by the young Bobby Farrell, Marcia Barrett, Liz Mitchell and Maizie Williams. It was no secret that Farrell did not sing on the records, the deep male voice was Farian’s. However, it was in 1978 when the song swept the international pop charts… Rivers of Babylon would consolidate Boney M’s worldwide fame. It was included on his third album, Nightflight to Venus (1978) and was released as a double single. Side A next to Brown girl in the ring, version of a traditional Caribbean children’s song.

The 80s and Milli Vanilli

His success, which disappeared as quickly as it came after disagreements with his traveling companions, had a golden page reserved for him. Or at least that’s what he weighed. With the Boney M chapter closed and with a good handful of songs composed in his FAR studio, he needed another formation behind which he could ‘hide’ and publish his material. Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, two dancers, were chosen to create Milli Vanilli in the late 80s and early 90s.

His appearance on the music scene was dazzling. Girl I’m gonna miss you, Blame it on the rain or Baby Don’t forget my number placed them as the great revelation and the dominating group of the sales charts during 1989. Their work earned them a Grammy for revelation group that later was withdrawn when it was revealed that the group’s artists did not sing but rather They played back the voices of Farian himself and John Davis.

In his best years he also worked as a producer for Stevie Wonder and Meat Loaf, but after the Milli Vanilli case, his professional side shifted to a low profile that he maintained until the end of his career. Far from him were the more than 800 million records that he sold throughout his career. Rest in peace…


Written by

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is a dedicated writer and key contributor to the WECB website, Emerson College's student-run radio station. Passionate about music, radio communication, and journalism, Christopher pursues his craft with a blend of meticulous research and creative flair. His writings on the site cover an array of subjects, from music reviews and artist interviews to event updates and industry news. As an active member of the Emerson College community, Christopher is not only a writer but also an advocate for student involvement, using his work to foster increased engagement and enthusiasm within the school's radio and broadcasting culture. Through his consistent and high-quality outputs, Christopher Johnson helps shape the voice and identity of WECB, truly embodying its motto of being an inclusive, diverse, and enthusiastic music community.