German musician Frank Farian, known for creating the popular eurodisco groups Boney M and Milli Vanilli, as well as other successful musical acts, has passed away at the age of 82, according to his agency.
Franz Reuther was born in Kirn, a town in western Germany. He began his career as a solo musician and had a successful single in 1976 with a schlager version of the country song “Rocky.” During this time, he also came up with the concept for Boney M, a disco group consisting of four West Indian vocalists and dancers, which he oversaw.
The group achieved international success with popular tracks including Daddy Cool (1976), Ma Baker (1977), Rasputin (1978), and Rivers of Babylon (1978). Farian provided the deep-voiced male vocals in the studio, while Bobby Farrell was the male frontman for live performances.
Farian went on to create the pop duo Milli Vanilli, who faced a large controversy when it was revealed that Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus had only lip-synced their popular songs. Similar to Boney M, Farian had already recorded the duo’s first songs before they even worked together in a studio.
Morvan expressed his sympathies to the family of the deceased in a statement issued by his management to the Guardian. He emphasized that even though the artist is gone, his music will continue to bring happiness and joy to the world.
Farian, also known as “Mr German Hit”, stated that he declined Michael Jackson’s offer to produce songs for his 1991 album, Dangerous, in order to focus on Boney M. However, he did end up collaborating with other artists such as Stevie Wonder, Meat Loaf, and Terence Trent D’Arby.
He continued to create musical groups throughout the 1990s, achieving success again with the euro dance duo La Bouche’s song “Be My Lover” in 1995.
After pursuing culinary training, he chose a path in the music industry and compared his approach to creating popular songs to cooking. In an interview with Der Spiegel, he noted the importance of having the right components, such as a talented performer and a catchy melody with a memorable chorus, in order to be successful.
Farian has sold over 800 million records globally and is known as the most accomplished pop producer in Germany. However, his accomplishments have received more recognition internationally rather than in his country of origin.
During the peak of Boney M’s popularity in 1978, the USSR’s politburo granted the band led by Farian a unique opportunity to hold a concert in Moscow. The musicians and their producer were transported via military planes. They put on a total of 10 shows in the Soviet Union, with the condition that they refrain from performing their newest hit, Rasputin.
Authored by Farian, George Reyam, and Fred Jay, the song provides a condensed history lesson on the enigmatic healer and counselor to the royal family, Nicholas II, the final monarch. It also touches on rumors of his alleged affair with the Russian queen and his reputation as “Russia’s greatest love machine.”
“Our work was truly blessed and so enjoyed by people around the world who had the privilege to hear it down the years,” said Liz Mitchell, the Jamaican-born British singer who was part of the original Boney M lineup.
“We came together and joined forces, guided by a star that surpassed our wildest expectations. I commend the effort and dedication we put into our work. May Frank rest in peace.”
Farian, who received a heart valve transplant in 2022, died peacefully at his home in Miami, his agency Allendorf Media announced on Tuesday.