The biggest scandal in music videos history…Milli Vanilli.
I have screwed up or dare I say “we”, we have screwed up. I think we lost our north. It is time we face reality and apologize for an inexcusable miss…we dared to write about music videos and spend productive hours watching clips and we forgot to talk about Milli Vanilli! The biggest scandal in music videos history…a scheme basically created by the existence and predominance of music videos, the industry´s worse low point (although there are other terrible ones out there like exploitation and revenue appropriation and well, taking artists and turning them into products). However, this is not about the industry, or record labels or any of that, I am going to remedy our lack of diligence now. I am really sorry and will be more attentive since you all know “we take all this very seriously”.
I think there is no other way to approach this post than with a One on One between “Milli Vanilli” and “The Real Milli Vanilli”. So without further ado lets start with the fake ones.
Milli Vanilli – Girl You Know It’s True
First of all NO, it wasn´t! It wasn´t true you liars!!! I believed in you!!! I liked your dance moves and I thought you sang with heart and I even had a crush on the green eyed one! (oh, sorry, but I had never had any other space in which to express my anger so that had to be let out, really needed to vent). Before I continue with the post it is important to remember one member of the infamous duo, Rob Pilatus, ended up turning to drugs and crime and ultimately died. I don’t want to speak ill of the dead and I am certain they both had a tough time so wherever you are, no disrespect intended.
We must start but looking at their producer Frank Farian, who turns out was in the habit of cheating the audience in the sense that he had “singers” that were not really singing, for further reference check out another ones of his projects Boney M. Yes, the ones that brought us “Daddy Cool”, “Ma Baker” and “Rasputin”…the disco band had 4 members of which only 2 sang and the other 2 were there to “attract” and audience. Milli Vanilli was a German project formed by Fabrice Morgan and Rob Pilatus, two young model/dancers. He decided that they were more marketable than the original singers (I will talk about them in the next video). Let´s take a look at them at the time:
Morgan and Pilatus were told to lip-synch. That was the beginning and the end. They were huge in the 1988, 1989 and early 1990 until they were exposed and then they confessed the fraud in TIME magazine. During the time they were famous they even won a Grammy Award (later taken back) and 3 American Music Awards, and had hit singles like “Baby, Don’t Forget My Number”, “I´m Gonna Miss You” and “All or Nothing”.
“Girl You Know It’s True” was written by Bill Pettaway, Sean Spencer, Kevin Lyles, Rodney Holloman, and Ky Adeyemo. YES, 5 writers!:
I’m in love, girl – Bill Pettaway (wild guess)
I’m in so love, girl – Sean Spencer (another wild guess)
I’m just in love, girl, and this is true – Kevin Lyles (I´m just having fun here)
Girl, you know it’s true –Rodney Holloman (yes, the biggest liar of them all?)
Ooh, ooh, ooh, I love you – Ky Adeyemo (that´s 5) – Pretend this starts again in the following line.
Yes, you know it’s true
Ooh, ooh, ooh I love you
Girl, you know it’s true
My love is for you
Girl, you know it’s true
My love is for you
Besides AWFUL Lyrics (which I admit I loved at the time, but cut me a break i was 12) and I felt like this when the truth came out:
Everything about the song (and the video!) was a lie. Oh! Except the hair: There is truth in that hair! Both of their hair styles! I am speechless and don’t know what to say about the “rap” in the song…we better not give that any power and let is drift away into nothingness. Also, and this is really the last thing I want to say about the video is, let´s all take a second to look at the shoulder pads. Let them sink in, and may we learn from history so that it never be repeated again.
Real Milli Vanilli – Baby Don’t Forget My Number (Festival Acapulco Live 1991)
The real Milli Vanilli were the guys who actually sang, but as we can see in this video, they lack charisma, they are not very attractive and they are not great dancers. That does not mean I am defending or justifying the producer, but I do see where he got the idea from: “desperate times call for desperate measures”. The vocals were vocals by Charles Shaw, John Davis, Brad Howell, and twin sisters Jodie and Linda Rocco. The second album was released with the name “The Real Milli Vanilli” and well, let me put it this way: at least they tried.
I will never forget this dark episode of music videos again. If we could say today that there was a lesson learned from it then I could say something positive about it, but no, there is not one good thing to be said. Lives were changed forever and sadly even a tragedy. I cannot and do not even intend to judge the people involved, some were naive, other´s needed the money, others were after fame and fortune, who knows, but it left us with nothing, just a bitter flavor and some COOL MEMES on the internet.