record producer · frankfarian.com
Echo Award for Lifetime Achievement Award
The Hit Man: The Best of 25, Christmas Album, Best of the Best, Nightflight to Venus, The Greatest Hits
Boney M., Milli Vanilli
Frank Farian (born Franz Reuther 18 July 1941, Kirn, Germany) is a German record producer and Songwriter, best known as the founder and voice behind the 1970s disco-pop group Boney M. and as the mastermind and voice behind the lip-synching group Milli Vanilli. His tendency to create bands with a visual image distinct from the recorded musical performances has led to controversy throughout his career, especially in the case of Milli Vanilli. During his career, Frank Farian has sold more than 850 million records worldwide (according to the German magazine Der Spiegel). Farian is also the owner of the record label MCI and several subsidiaries.
- Boney M
- Milli Vanilli
- Far Corporation
- Later activity
- Personal life
- Frank Farian produced albums
Farian started as a trained cook before moving into the music industry. In the early days of his career, he was keen to attain success as a solo artist, but he made little impact on the popular music scene until his song "Baby Do You Wanna Bump" (a remake of Prince Buster's song "Al Capone" from 1967), released under the pseudonym Boney M., became successful. He also had a minor hit in 1973 with "Was kann schöner sein", a German version of "When You've Gotta Go" originally by Solomon King, co-written by Lynsey de Paul and Ron Roker.
Shying away from the spotlight, he hired performers to front for public performances. The lead vocals for songs on Boney M. albums in the 1970s were sung by Farian, Marcia Barrett and Liz Mitchell, who quickly became synonymous with the group. Boney M.'s frontman, Bobby Farrell, was only allowed to record vocals in the 1980s (although all four members of the group did sing live for all their concert tours). Bobby Farrell was fired from the group for unreliability in 1981.
In 1990, he admitted orchestrating the events which led to the Milli Vanilli scandal, a musical equivalent of ghostwriting. As a producer, he had assembled a group from session musicians, fronting it with visually attractive dancers Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan. The story broke when Farian confirmed to the press that someone else had sung on the records. After these details emerged, Milli Vanilli had their 1990 Grammy Award for Best New Artist withdrawn, and at least 27 different lawsuits were filed in the United States under various U.S. consumer fraud protection laws. Following the Milli Vanilli controversy, Farian went on to develop similar Eurodance groups La Bouche and Le Click.
Farian also started the supergroup Far Corporation (named after the first syllable of his last name), which featured Steve Lukather, David Paich, Bobby Kimball, Simon Phillips, and Robin McAuley, many of Toto fame. Far Corporation is notable for being the first act to chart with a cover version of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven", becoming a top 10 hit in the UK, reaching number 8 in October 1985.
In 1986, Farian produced and mixed the Meat Loaf album Blind Before I Stop. He also sang backing vocals on the first single from the album "Rock 'n' Roll Mercenaries", which was credited to Meat Loaf featuring John Parr.
On 15 August 2006, the musical Daddy Cool opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London's West End. The line-up included Michelle Collins, Michael Harvey, Javine Hylton, and singer/songwriter Darvina Plante. The £3 million show was produced by Farian and Robert Mackintosh. The story, written by Stephen Plaice with Amani Naphtali, is predominantly based on the songs of Boney M., but also features songs by Milli Vanilli and No Mercy. A second show opened on 23 April 2007 in Berlin, Germany and the show also toured in the Netherlands from August 2011 to February 2012, Spain (Palma de Mallorca) in July 2012, Switzerland from, November 2015 to January 2016 Anniversary tour in Germany 2016.
Also in 2006, Farian was credited as co-writing a new song, entitled "Doin' Fine", with British producers Nathan Thomas and Carl M. Cox. (Other writers involved in this song were, Chris Rudall, Baz Qureshi, Peter Wilson, Chris Richards and George Reyam.) Described as paying tribute to the 'sound' of Boney M., the song was essentially a brand new composition, which featured the string arrangement from Boney M.'s 1976 number one hit, "Daddy Cool". The song was recorded by Australian pop singer, Peter Wilson. It was initially released in the UK on 16 April 2007 in its extended format, entitled "Daddy's Cool 12" Mix", charting at number one on the EuroDanceHits EuroNRG Top 40 in May 2007. The original version of "Doin' Fine" featured on Peter Wilson's debut album, Follow Me, which was released in the UK on 8 October 2007. The song was also recorded in 2008 by Amanda Lear.
Farian resides in Miami, Florida.