If you were a music lover in the late '80s, then chances are the story behind Milli Vanilli is one that’s pretty familiar to you.
Formed in Germany by producer Frank Farlan in 1988, Milli Vanilli consisted of Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus, two models who had only dabbled in singing careers. The two released their international debut album, Girl You Know It’s True, in 1989, and the album quickly skyrocketed to international success, hitting the #1 spot on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and going platinum a whopping SIX times.
The album was a genuine sensation thanks to it's title track and songs like “Baby Don’t Forget My Number,” and “Blame It On The Rain,” and Milli Vanilli soon found themselves touring the globe. This all culminated in a Grammy win for Best New Artist. However, things started to get weird when they found themselves being featured on TV.
MTV executive Beth McCarthy-Miller commented that people were starting to become suspicious of the duo when they revealed their thick accents and limited English skills during interviews, but the worst was actually yet to come.
During a performance broadcast by MTV at the Lake Compounce theme park in Bristol, Connecticut, it was revealed that they were lip-syncing to their songs when the recording of the album’s title track jammed, and the “Girl you know it’s…” line kept repeating over and over.
The duo attempted to keep dancing for a few more moments, but then both ran offstage. However, according to people in attendance at the show, the audience seemed to neither notice nor care about the lip-syncing.
However, Milli Vanilli weren’t doing themselves any favors perception-wise. In an interview for Time magazine in 1990, Pilatus referred to himself as “the new Elvis” and asserted that the duo were more musically talented than artists like Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, and Mick Jagger.
But once the story started to spread, things were about to take a turn for the worse.