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23 Jan, 2024 18:47

‘Rasputin’ songwriter dies at age 83

German music producer Frank Farian, founder of the disco group Boney M, has passed away at his home in Miami
‘Rasputin’ songwriter dies at age 83

Music producer Frank Farian, the mastermind behind 1970s disco band Boney M and disgraced German pop group Milli Vanilli, has died at age 83.

Farian, a native of southwestern Germany who grew up in the wake of World War II, passed away at his home in Miami, according to a statement issued by his family on Tuesday. He had undergone life-saving surgery two years ago in a procedure that involved inserting a pig heart valve.

”May Frank rest in peace,” Liz Mitchell, Boney M’s original lead singer, wrote in a Facebook post. “Our work was blessed and helped the people who had the privilege to hear it.” She added, “We shared and united under a star [and] rose above and beyond what we dared to expect. I say well done to the work that we did.”

Born in 1941 under the name Frank Reuter in Kirn, Germany, Farian was trained as a cook before launching his career as a singer. He later shifted his focus to being a producer and founded Boney M in 1974. With Farian serving as the group’s primary songwriter, Boney M had such hit songs as ‘Rasputin’, ‘Daddy Cool’, ‘Rivers of Babylon’, and ‘Mary’s Boy Child’.

Many of Farian’s lyrics were humorous. For instance, he wrote of Rasputin:

“There lived a certain man in Russia long ago,

He was big and strong, in his eyes a flaming glow

Most people look at him with terror and with fear

But to Moscow chicks he was such a lovely dear”

Farian went on to produce songs that reportedly racked up more than 800 million record sales, earning him the nickname, “Mr. German Hit.” He worked with such music legends as Meat Loaf and Stevie Wonder, and he founded the infamous hip-hop duo Milli Vanilli, made up of Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus.

The latter group had to give back its Grammy Award for “best new artist” after Farian admitted in 1990 that Morvan and Pilatus had not sung on their records and were merely lip-synching on stage.

 

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