17 February 2007

The Greatest story ever lip-synched

The Milli Vanilli story, a tale of how two men were taken from obscurity to fame and then to opprobrium is to be made into a Universal Pictures film according to yesterday’s Guardian . The screenplay is being written by Jeff Nathanson, whose credits include Catch Me If You Can is quoted as saying "I've always been fascinated by fakes and frauds, and in this case you had guys who pulled off the ultimate con, selling 30 million singles and then becoming the biggest laughing stocks of pop,"

Milli Vanilli was assembled by German producer Frank Farian (he was also responsible for Boney M) to provide a formulaic mix of, rap and soul to fleece, er I mean appeal to, a teen audience. He brought in Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus to lip-synch over the voices of vocalists Brad Howell and Charles Shaw. It was a successful formula that produced three US number one singles and a debut album that sold six million copies.

When Morvan and Pilatus started pressurising Farian to let them sing real vocals, he blew the whistle on them by revealing that they had never sung on any of their records. The band was stripped of its Grammy - the first act ever to suffer such ignominy. An album of their real singing as Rob & Fab sold just 2,000 copies. Pilatus died of a drug overdose in 1998.

I was brought up on a diet of new wave and heavy metal so why on earth am I posting an item about Milli-bloody-vanilli? To be honest I feel a little sorry for them (honest!). While it is inevitable that the truth would have come out at some stage who was the real villain? Pilatus and Morvan or Farian?

I can state, however, that this will be my first and last post on the subject of Milli Vanilli!


Anonymous said...

Didn't Milli Vanilli also attempt to re-introduce the codpiece as a must-have fashion accessory?

beakerkin said...


Milli Vanilli is not a good site early in the morning. However, you could have done far worse and wrote about Vanilla Ice.

I was on a date with a stunning Polish woman who arrived in the country less than two months. She visited me on the job and noticed one of my peers is called Vanilla Ice. Without pausing she said " Vanilla Ice Sucks". It seems even in countries that do not speak English this fact is out.

jams o donnell said...

I think they did Roger but Cameo really brought them to teh public gaze!

VBeakerkin, Vanilla Ice? My god I do have standards you know!

Bryan said...

I have to confess that their fan mail was handled by a company in San Diego, and that company hired me to write the software that managed the membership of their fan club.

If you wrote you received a package that included a glossy photograph of those frauds.

I would certainly hope that the database was destroyed to prevent future embarrassment to the deluded souls whose names were recorded.

jams o donnell said...

On the other hand if it isn't there is much scope to embarras, Bryan!

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I was a newly minted teen when they first hit the scene. I didn't care for the way they postured and preened. It may sound callous and a little mean but I was glad when they were exposed as liars and fiends. Their success and profits were obscene for two faker supremes.

I kind of liked the guy that OD'ed though. He had stunning green eyes which really stood out in contrast to his skin. They were nice to look at, nothing more. That's probably why I watched their videos while on mute function.

jams o donnell said...

The mute button? now that WAS a great way to watch them.. and New Kids on the Block? and Tiffany? and Debbie Gibson?

On the other hand you have to hand it to Debbie Gibson.. she did perform with teh Circle Jerks!

In my view the real villain is the procuder Farian. He would have made the big bucks, certainly if he held the publishing rights