Milli Vanilli was experiencing unheard of meteoric fame. Their debut hit “Girl You Know It’s True” was on the for 26 weeks, peaking at No. 2, in April 1989, so joining the inaugural Club MTV Tour alongside Paula Abdul and Tone Loc seemed to be the next logical step to catapult them into fame with live shows.

雷电竞娱乐Performing in front of a at the theme park Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut, in 1989, the duo of Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus started with their trademark energy and dance moves. But then their famous chorus came — and suddenly the lyrics repeated endlessly through the venue: “Girl you know it’s, girl you know it’s, girl you know it’s…”

in November 1990. “When my voice got stuck in the computer and it just kept repeating and repeating, I panicked. I just ran off the stage.″


He started recruiting singers in 1988 — sang backup and Charles Shaw rapped on the track. “When he played the record for me, I already knew the song,” Shaw told Billboard. “I had been dancing to the Numarx version on the weekends in American clubs in Hamburg. Farian played it and I said, ‘This song ain’t new.’”

Shaw says Farian admitted it wasn’t new. But he still went with it and just started mixing voices. “You can’t really hear the vocals or exactly who’s singing, because there are so many voices on the chorus,” he said. Eventually, Brad Howell and John Davis were brought in for vocals.

There was no denying that Farian knew what he was doing. His version of the song quickly became popular in Europe. Now he just needed faces to go along with the music group.

Brad Howell (R) & John Davis (2L), who lip-synced for the fakes, w. Gina Mohammed (3L), Ray Horton (L) and their producer Frank Farian (2R) posing at control board in recording studio

雷电竞娱乐The musicians behind Milli Vanilli: Brad Howell (R) and John Davis (2L), who sang the vocals, Gina Mohammed (3L), Ray Horton (L) and their producer Frank Farian (2R) posing at the control board in a recording studio in 1990.

Morvan and Pilatus were present in the recording studio but didn't sing one note

雷电竞娱乐At the time New York-born, German-bred Pilatus and Guadeloupe native Morvan were living in a housing project in Munich — poor to the point they stole food to survive — when Farian came along and offered each of the dancers $4,000 to become the faces of the duo Milli Vanilli, named after the nickname of Farian’s girlfriend.

Farian wasn’t new to the game. He had done the same thing with his 1970s disco-funk group Boney M., with a singer who was actually just a dancer, lip-syncing to Farian’s own vocals. (He was able to hang onto that secret for 25 years, according to Shaw.)

雷电竞娱乐“Farian came back after the song hit the charts in England and said he had to have two faces for the project,” Shaw continued. “I was already paid $12,000 for doing [“Girl”] and he said, ‘Keep your mouth shut and you can do the whole album.’ I’m thinking, ‘That’s studio work for me.’”

雷电竞娱乐Had Farian realized how popular the group would become, he may have realized the dancers’ accents — with Pilatus’ mother tongue of German and Morvan’s of French — would be an issue.

Linda and Jodie were also brought back in for more vocals. “There was no real plan… we were just recording stuff real fast, to get enough together for a four-song EP for the American market. Then Frank said Arista was involved and he was talking to Clive Davis,” Linda said.

Sure enough, soon there was a record deal, so they figured there was a group. But when they got to the studio, it was just Linda, Jodie and another singer, Joan Faulker. “[Pilatus and Morvan] would come in and go down to the basement where the pool was and hang out for a couple hours,” Jodie said. “They’d make appearances, then go down to the basement, but they never sang a note or went into the studio.”

Linda said they were kept a distance from the guys so that they wouldn’t get too close.

The real singer was secretly brought in at night

雷电竞娱乐Somehow they were able to keep up the facade. They were able to keep a music label rep from traveling to Germany by saying they wanted to retain creative direction.

“It wasn’t out of the question,” the Arista A&R manager at the time, Richard Sweret, told Billboard. “Other producers would do their work and send it in. They just didn’t want anyone in the studio with them because it’s a creative professional distance a producer wants to have. I respected that and there was no reason to think that it was anything other than that.”

But there was a lot of fishy business going on. Howell would be taken to the studio late at night, even after other staff was gone, so that no one would know he was the true voice. “It was a secret,” the engineer on the album, Tobias Freund, said. “We worked in the evening and closed the windows.”

雷电竞娱乐Jens Gad, who played guitar and co-wrote several songs, didn’t even cross paths with the faces of the music he was working on: “We never met Rob and Fab, there was no need for them to be in the studio. It was show business: Frank created the scenario where he put this and this and this together, and that was the show. It was completely normal.”

Milli Vanilli

Milli Vanilli, 1990

Pilatus and Morvan were catapulted into stardom

Soon the for “Girl You Know It’s True” was a global hit and Milli Vanilli also had — “Blame It On the Rain,” “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You” and “Baby Don’t Forget My Number,” which all hit No. 1 and “All or Nothing” which peaked at No. 4. In short, they were everywhere.

And with that, the suspicions started to come. “Every time we gave an interview, the reporters would hear my French accent or Rob’s German accent and they’d say, ’No way. How could these guys have sung the songs?’” Morvan told the Los Angeles Times.

They even had dialect specialists brought in — paid by Arista Records — to try to help the situation. But fast fame didn’t make it easy.

雷电竞娱乐″We didn’t want to do any more interviews,″ Pilatus added. ″The more we talked, the worse things got.″

“You don’t know where to turn to because there’s nobody around you, you’re left alone. We were famous and now we’re infamous just like that.”

雷电竞娱乐While he eventually found his way back to EDM music, Pilatus never rebounded. “Rob Pilatus didn't do well with humiliation,” Morvan continued. “Being punched every day in the public eye leaves marks. They only way he could deal with it, for him, was the addiction.”

雷电竞娱乐Pilatus was at 33 in Frankfurt on April 2, 1998, of a .

雷电竞娱乐“When I heard the news of Rob’s death, everything went blank at that moment. Silence,” Morvan said. “It was like losing a part of myself. In order to honor him, and for myself, I said a vow that I would do my thing. And I would make sure the name Milli Vanilli itself means when you fall, you stand back up, and you move on.”