The Franco-German R&B duo Milli Vanilli were at the dawn of the 1990s. Their 1989 North American debut album, Girl, you know it’s true, and hit single of the same name, had propelled them to international fame. However, this success was short-lived and everything would fall apart on this day in 1990.
On November 15, 1990, we learn that the duo, made up of Fabrice Morvan and Rob Pilatus, did not sing a note of their music. As their career gained momentum, rumors began to swirl when lip-synching became evident during their live performances. No one would have guessed that they didn’t even sing on their album.
A confession came from Pilatus after the couple’s producer, Frank Farian, went public with the deception.
“I feel like I’m being squeezed by a mosquito,” Pilatus told the Los Angeles Times. “The last two years of our lives have been a total nightmare. We had to lie to everyone. We are real singers but that maniac Frank Farian would never allow us to express ourselves.
Farian reportedly fired the performers when they demanded they actually sing on their follow-up album. At a press conference, Farian reportedly said, “I said, ‘No. I am not going. Sure, they have a voice, but that’s not really what I want to use on my records.
The producer explained that “Girl You Know It’s True” had already been recorded when the duo hit the scene.
“It suddenly clicked in my mind, and it was pretty obvious: I had the music, there were people who wanted to perform outside,” Farian said. “And I said, ‘Hey, let’s put this together and make a great record out of it. “”
Although the plan resulted in a successful record – one that sold 7 million copies and won the duo a Grammy for Best New Artist – Milli Vanilli was stripped of the award as well as her credibility as a than artists.
“We’ve been scared for two years for this day to come,” Pilatus said. “We sometimes cried about it, that the secret could come out. But deep down we wanted it to happen. I am happy now to be able to tell our fans about it. We won’t let them down. I swear we will soon have an album with our own voices that will prove our talent.
An upcoming biopic, named after the duo’s debut, will chronicle their rise to international stardom and eventual fall from grace.
“Girl, you know it’s true is gripping on so many levels,” the film’s director, Simon Verhoeven, said in a statement. “It not only recounts the spectacular rise of two underdogs to the zenith of showbiz in one summer, but also provides fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into this illusory world of fame and its sometimes tragic and unscrupulous machinations. Personally, I think that Rob and Fab didn’t deserve to be the only scapegoats for this scandal.
No release date has been announced for Girl, you know it’s true. The music video for the song is below.
Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images