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Frank Farian, creator of Boney M. and producer of Milli Vanilli, has died

German producer Frank Farian, the man behind the successes of disco group Boney M.

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Frank Farian, creator of Boney M. and producer of Milli Vanilli, has died

German producer Frank Farian, the man behind the successes of disco group Boney M. and duo Milli Vanilli, died at age 82 in his Miami apartment, his family announced Tuesday. Born in the small town of Kirn (western Germany) on July 18, 1941, he is considered the most successful German producer internationally, with more than 800 million sound recordings sold.

Frank Farian, whose real name is Franz Reuther, started out as a cook before founding in 1961 a rock group Frankie und die Schatten (Frankie and the Shadows, editor's note), which launched his musical career. Notoriety came later, with the success of Boney M., a 1970s disco group that he had created from scratch, of which he wrote some of the hits and recorded the male vocals himself in the studio, leaving the four members of Boney M put on a show on stage in their sparkling costumes. The songs Daddy Cool, Ma Baker, Sunny and Rasputin have become cult titles.

Frank Farian scored another musical coup with the duo Milli Vanilli, which burst onto the pop landscape in 1988 with the hit Girl You Know It's True.

But this success took a scandalous turn when the producer, at the end of 1990, admitted to the press that the voices of the singers, two mixed race people with good looks, were not those that we heard on the album and that all their concerts were performed in playback. The deception earned the two stars, the Frenchman Fab Morvan and the German Rob Pilatus, a descent into hell. The duo will notably be obliged to return their Grammy, the supreme musical award in the United States.

Entitled Milli Vanilli, a documentary broadcast on the Paramount platform, recently deciphered the story of this group, the perfect scapegoat for a music industry primarily guilty of this deception. Producer Frank Farian, who refused to speak in the documentary, criticized their Bavarian accents for Pilatus and French for Morvan, as told by the producer's assistant and ex-lover, Ingrid Segieth, who testifies in the film.

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