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Milli Vanilli Documentary on Paramount

n the annals of pop music lore, few tales are as beguiling and perplexing as that of Milli Vanilli, the duo that soared to stardom in the late '80s, only to crash into disgrace with meteoric speed.

Milli Vanilli Documentary on Paramount

By Bill King

n the annals of pop music lore, few tales are as beguiling and perplexing as that of Milli Vanilli, the duo that soared to stardom in the late '80s, only to crash into disgrace with meteoric speed. Three decades have come and gone since the emergence of Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan, collectively known as Milli Vanilli, and their debut album in the United States, Girl You Know It's True, which achieved a staggering six-time platinum status. The album spawned three chart-topping singles, garnered American Music Awards, and even clinched the prestigious Best New Artist Grammy. However, a shocking revelation underpinned their meteoric ascent: Rob and Fab hadn't lent their voices to a single note on the record.


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This is where we find ourselves at a crossroads—a bittersweet juncture in the evolution of pop music. The rules of the game have morphed over time. What would have once led to a life sentence in the purgatory of pop has now become an acceptable practice. It's no longer solely about the music; it's about the cult of celebrity. In today's landscape, Milli Vanilli might have thrived as influential trendsetters and money-spinners in 2023. And this brings us to the heart of the matter – the documentary, which we enthusiastically recommend.

The Milli Vanilli saga unfolded over 18 tumultuous months, culminating tragically with Rob Pilatus' fatal drug overdose in 1998. Director Luke Korem, a child of the '90s, was intrigued by this captivating story, leading to the creation of his documentary premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival. The belief drove Korem to delve deeper into the human aspect of the Milli Vanilli narrative, as he felt that this tale had been distilled into a mere headline in popular culture. Korem's documentary presents a pop culture event that many people can view from different angles, showcasing a mosaic of perspectives from various individuals involved. These include Todd Headlee, the clueless underling who worked under their manager Sandy Gallin, and Ingrid Segeith, the business partner and lover of Frank Farian, the German producer responsible for Milli Vanilli's music.

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The documentary unfolds through conflicting interviews with Arista executives, the actual singers from the album, and all the players entangled in the Milli Vanilli web. Each person involved brings forth their motivations and justifications for their roles. Even Fab Morvan, one-half of Milli Vanilli, acknowledges his complicity in perpetuating the deception. Let’s not forget the original lead singer, the late John Davis.

The unravelling of the Milli Vanilli story began in 1997, marked by a revealing episode of VH1's Behind the Music. Fab Morvan wasn't as resilient as he is today to revisit the past. Now, he views the documentary with a sense of detachment, freed from the shackles of pain and guilt. The documentary dismantles misconceptions and paints a more nuanced picture of the saga.

The Milli Vanilli narrative has long fascinated filmmakers, with plans for a multi-episode biopic on the horizon. The documentary also scrutinizes allegations, including the claim that Recording Academy's Mike Greene accepted a bribe to allow the group to lip-sync during the Grammy telecast, a cardinal sin in the organization's playbook.

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The tale of Milli Vanilli serves as a stark reminder of the intricacies of the music industry, where image and marketability often eclipse authenticity. The documentary reframes the scandal, shedding light on its human dimension and its profound impact on those ensnared in its web. For Fab Morvan, the documentary marks a path to self-acceptance and an opportunity to set the record straight.

Ultimately, the story of Milli Vanilli, replete with its plot twists and dramatic turns, transforms from tragedy to redemption, offering a unique peek behind the scenes of the pop music industry. Korem's documentary seeks to demystify the machinery behind the creation of pop music icons and challenges prevailing notions of authenticity.

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Despite the outrage surrounding their inauthenticity, Milli Vanilli's undeniable charisma and stage presence were integral to the success of their songs. While they may not have sung on their records, they were captivating performers who forged a profound connection with their audience. Fab Morvan contends that their hard work and dedication to live performances should not be relegated to oblivion.

In this documentary, Morvan embarks on a journey of reflection and redemption, a poignant narrative that underscores the perils of fame and addiction, as exemplified by Rob Pilatus. Morvan finds solace in music, using it as a medium to express his emotions and experiences, shaping his own Redemption Song.

The documentary shines a light on the multifaceted story of Milli Vanilli, bringing forth the individuals entangled in the scandal and offering a fresh perspective on a chapter in music history that continues to captivate and mystify. What seemed like a cartoon with no boundaries comes back to haunt. Frank Farian’s tracks still resonate. Morvan proves to be a fine singer with a gift for phrasing and tone. The complete pop package and dead on for the times.

Now, back to my Dinah Washington collection. 

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Killer Mike
Shane Smith

Killer Mike

Rb Hip Hop

Killer Mike Addresses Grammys Arrest on New Track ‘HUMBLE ME’: Stream It Now

"I'm back baby. I'm back and I'm winning."

Just hours after triumphantly returning to the scene of his Grammys night arrest to accept the BET Album of the Year award for MICHAEL, Killer Mike dropped a powerful new single and video, “HUMBLE ME,” in which he reflects on the incident and its aftermath.

In the striking black-and-white music video, the Run the Jewels MC is seen stripped of his jewelry and placed in handcuffs, symbolizing the events of his Grammy night arrest.

This article was originally published by Billboard U.S.

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