Milli Vanilli

Milli Vanilli were a popular pop duo from 1988 to 1990. With hit songs like "Girl You Know It's True" and "Blame It on the Rain", they dominated the charts and award ceremonies until people found out they hadn't sung on their albums or in concerts.

Just The Facts

  1. Milli Vanilli was the hottest rap/pop/dance duo with huge dreadlocks ever.
  2. Every single from their 6x Platinum album made it into the Billboard's Top Four. Not forty, FOUR.
  3. They won several awards, including a Grammy for Best New Artist.
  4. While they won all these awards for singing, their producer never actually let them sing anything.

The Hits

Milli Vanilli had 5 Top Four hits in America - "Girl You Know It's True" went to #2, "Baby Don't Forget My Number" hit #1, as did "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" and "Blame It on the Rain". Their last single, "All or Nothing", made it to #4. All these singles were certified gold with the exception of "Girl You Know It's True" and "Blame It on the Rain", which were platinum hits.

The songs were performed in concert by Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan, who, along with a varying stable of black women, lipsynched to recordings sung by Charles Shaw, Brad Howell, John Davis, and twin sisters Linda and Jodie Rocco. They also made appearances on the short-lived television shows Sister Kate and The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3. The success of their American debut album, entitled Girl You Know It's True after the lead single, was enough to permit the release of a remix album, imaginatively titled The Remix Album, which also went gold.

The Awards

Milli Vanilli was nominated for four 1990 American Music Awards - Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo or Group, Favorite Pop/Rock New Artist, Favorite Pop/Rock Single (for "Girl You Know It's True"), and Favorite Soul/R&B New Artist, and won the latter three. These awards were accepted by Rob & Fab.

They also won the Juno Award - the Canadian Grammy equivalent - for International Album of the Year. Their biggest award, however, was the 1990 Best New Artist award at the Grammys. Rob & Fab performed "Girl You Know It's True" immediately before accepting the award with a frightened, guilty look in their eyes.

The Fall

Unfortunately, people were beginning to get suspicious. Rob & Fab, having been raised in Germany and France respectively, spoke little English - and when they did, their accents were quite thick. At award shows, especially where they also performed, people began to wonder how people who spoke like that could rap and sing in perfect American English.

At one concert, the recording they were lipsynching to skipped while they were onstage. Soon after, Charles Shaw wrote to the press and revealed that he had done the rapping on the lead single - but he was paid off by the group's producer, Frank Farian, to retract his statements. Things finally fell apart when Rob & Fab asked to sing on the follow-up album, The Moment of Truth. Farian rejected them and held a press conference, revealing the ruse and firing his frontmen. Moment was eventually released in Europe, Asia, and Central America under the band name "The Real Milli Vanilli", with many guest stars added to make up for the absence of Rob & Fab. It failed to match the success of the original album, and was the group's final release.

Girl You Know It's True was deleted from the record label's catalog after the scandal, making it the best-selling album ever taken out of print. The Grammy award was also revoked - the only Grammy ever taken back. The other nominees that year were Indigo Girls, Tone Loc, Soul II Soul, and Neneh Cherry, but none of them received the award, nor was it changed to honor the real singers. Instead, it was relisted as "No Award Given".

Rob & Fab went on to release their own unsuccessful album on a small record label in 1993. Rob died of a drug overdose in 1998, and Fab is currently working on new music projects in Europe.