Milli Vanilli was a duo, Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus, formed in Germany in the mid-1980s. They are notorious for being the only group to have their Grammy Award stripped from them after it was revealed that they had not been involved in the creation of their breakthrough album, Girl You Know It's True and did not sing in concert. Their photos were pictured on the album cover and they lip-synced in concert. They have since been used as an example of utter shallowness in music, though they were hardly unique at the time. Other bands, including C&C Music Factory and Black Box, were also fronted by lip-syncers.
Despite the scandal, the Milli Vanilli sound created by Frank Farian was ground-breaking in pop-music, as it combined (American) Rap rhythms with Eurodance melodies. In fact, some of melodic influence in today's hip-hop may be attributed to Milli Vanilli's influence.
Frank Farian used Pilatus and Morvan to front Charles Shaw, Johnny Davis and Brad Howell; he felt that these musicians were talented but unmarketable. Their first album was All or Nothing (see 1988 in music), which was both a European hit and an American hit. Despite critical pans, Milli Vanilli's fame continued to grow worldwide even after Charles Shaw told a reporter the truth; he later retracted his statement after Farian paid him off. Milli Vanilli won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist on February 22, 1990 for their second album, Girl You Know It's True (1990 in music). Pilatus was ridiculed in the press for comparing himself to Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan; he also developed a cocaine problem. With Morvan and Pilatus pressuring him to let them sing on the next album, Farian revealed the truth to reporters on November 15, 1990 after the record of Girl You Know It's True skipped during a live performance on MTV. The Grammy was rescinded four days later. Arista dropped the act from its rosters and a court ruling in the US allowed anyone who had bought the album to get a refund.
Farian tried to reform the band as the Real Milli Vanilli, but the resulting LP Moment of Truth was an utter failure. Pilatus tried to commit suicide soon after, then rejoined with Morvan as Rob & Fab. After a few more tries, Pilatus began a series of criminal acts, arrested for assault and vandalism, among other crimes, in Los Angeles.
In 1997, Milli Vanilli had a chance to tell their side of the story of their musical fiasco in the premiere episode of VH1's Behind The Music. Then, in 1998, Pilatus was found dead of an alcohol and drug overdose in Frankfurt, Germany.
Today, Fabrice Morvan forges a solo career, performing light alternative music that is far from his glory days with Milli Vanilli; he plays in local clubs throughout the U.S.
|1988||All or Nothing||BMG||#6 UK|
|1989||All or Nothing [Remix Album]||Hansa|
|1989||Girl You Know It's True||Arista||#1 US|
|1990||Quick Moves: The Remix Album||Arista||#32 US|
|1991||Moment of Truth||Hansa/BMG|
- 1988 "Girl You Know It's True" #3 UK, #2 US
- 1988 "Baby Don't Forget My Number" #16 UK, #1 US
- 1989 "All or Nothing" #4 US
- 1989 "Blame It on the Rain" #1 US
- 1989 "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" #2 UK, #1 US