Monday, January 09, 2017

Songoftheday 1/9/17 - Night after night it starts the same, talking with my baby on lovers lane...

"All Or Nothing" - Milli Vanilli
from the album Girl You Know It's True (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #4 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's song of the day comes from the German-based pop/R&B act Milli Vanilli, who under the production helm of Frank Farian had scored four huge pop hits in the U.S. with "Girl You Know It's True", and three #1's in "Baby Don't Forget My Number", "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You", and "Blame It On The Rain". But the facade of having two foreign model-types, Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan, brought on to lipsynch the songs in the videos and in concert, with studio musicians doing the actual work, was starting to tumble, though in hindsight it wasn't as quickly as it should've been (or would've if the internet was involved). It was in July of 1989 that their concert mix-up happened when their playback machine skipped and they left the stage. But after that, the act still was continuing to have hits, including their fifth single, "All Or Nothing". Written by Farian along with Brad Howell (one of the true singers on the record) and P.G. Wilder, and with a cribbed hook from Blood, Sweat, and Tears' "Spinning Wheel" from David Clayton-Thomas, their fanbase still sent the record up the chart, even though the increasing doubt about the duo procluded a true music video for MTV...

"All Or Nothing" became Milli Vanilli's fifth and final top-40 pop hit in February of 1990. The song also climbed to #54 on Billboard's R&B chart.

The ruse continued, even with the act winning the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in March of 1990. But before the end of the year, with Rob and Fab demanding they sing on the next album, Farian spilled the beans, and their Grammy was swiped away. The biggest pop act of that time was summarily shuttled, and even with the studio musicians getting billed as "The Real Milli Vanilli", the first single "Keep On Running" was only a moderate hit in the continental European states, hitting the top 10 in Austria (#2), Germany (#4), and the Netherlands (#7), where Rob & Fab were initially on the original promotion of. Meanwhile, the guys put out their own album in 1993, with a single, "We Can Get It On", but that went nowhere. Their reputation never recovered, and it's sad, since Farian's rep never really took a hit, and I'd place bets that other acts of his weren't as they seemed as well. However, the great pop songs he did come up with also met with the same fate, so even Frank would've done better to be straight from the beginning. Saddest of all, Pilatus overdosed in 1998, after reuniting with Farian for a scuttled Milli Vanilli "comeback" album. Morvan continues to forge ahead with a meager but at least earnest solo singing career.

Up tomorrow: Freestyle singer has a simple request.

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