Frank Farian, the Man Behind Milli Vanilli, Is Dead at 82

Frank Farian, the Man Behind Milli Vanilli, Is Dead at 82

Frank Farian, the German record producer who was best known as the mastermind of Milli Vanilli, the duo that scaled the charts in 1989 but fell from grace when it was revealed that they didn’t do any of the singing on their records, died on Tuesday at his home in Miami. He was 82.

His death was announced by Philip Kallrath of Allendorf Media, a spokesman for Mr. Farian’s family.

Milli Vanilli’s first American album, “Girl You Know It’s True,” was released in 1989. It sold several million copies worldwide and won the duo, Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan, a Grammy Award as best new artist.

But the next year, Mr. Farian revealed that the songs on the album were actually sung by studio vocalists, and that in performance Mr. Pilatus and Mr. Morvan — energetic dancers who put on a crowd-pleasing show — were lip-syncing.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences subsequently rescinded the duo’s Grammy. The real vocalists were later identified as Brad Howell, Johnny Davis and Charles Shaw.

Both Mr. Farian and executives of Arista, the record company that released Milli Vanilli’s album in the United States, said the label had not been told that Mr. Pilatus and Mr. Morvan did not sing on it. The two performers disputed that. (A different version of the album had been released elsewhere under the name “All or Nothing” in 1988.)

Although Mr. Farian was best known in the United States for the Milli Vanilli scandal, he had established himself as a hitmaker in Europe before then, notably with the disco vocal group Boney M, a worldwide phenomenon in the 1970s and ’80s, for which he was the producer and primary songwriter.

A complete obituary will appear soon.

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