The Rise and Fall of Milli Vanilli

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All_or_nothingDuring the late eighties, the sexy duo called Milli Vanilli shook their booty as they sang their hit songs “Girl, You Know It’s True” and “Blame It On The Rain” to sold-out crowds, but behind the spotlights and the music a dark secret lurked.

Milli Vanilli was comprised of Fabrice Morvan, a Parisian and Rob Pilatus, a German-born former model who had met at a club when Fabrice headed from Paris to Munich, Germany at age 18 to meet people and party. “We were like brothers,” he says, “We starved together.” The two formed a band, and in 1988, producer Frank Farion offered them a record deal–but with a caveat–they had to lip-synch to other musician’s voices. Thinking that this was their ticket to stardom, and tired of starving, they accepted.

tention, garnering a Grammy in 1990 for Best New Artist. Everywhere they went the spandex-clad duo, both of mixed races, gyrated on stage surrounded by appreciative ladies who watched goggle-eyed as the men went through their paces each show.

Later that year, at a Connecticut concert, as the duo “sang,” the recording stuck and the same phrase was repeated over and over. The gig was up. It became apparent to everyone there–including the media–that these men were not the real singers for the group. Quickly, the controversy took up steam, and the public rejected them as good looking front men who lip-synched to other talented voices. Rob and Fabrice were stripped of their Grammy that same year.

“We were afraid for two years that this day would come,” Rob told the Los Angeles Times in 1990 after the news was revealed that he and Fabrice hadn’t sung one note on their 1989 album Girl You Know It’s True. “We’ve cried about it…that the secret might come out.”

After the public humiliation of being found out, the pop star’s lives took a turn for the worse. Fabrice started using cocaine. Rob drank and did drugs. They became the butt of late-night TV show jokes. In 1991, Rob Pilatus had a much publicized suicide attempt when he tried to jump from a hotel balcony. Trying for a comeback, Morvan and Pilatus tried to energize their failed career by singing on an album in 1993, under the names Rob and Fab. The album tanked.

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