Milli Vanilli ‘Girl You Know It’s True’

Posted 31 Mar 2014 in Bernie Sparrow

 

Today’s Cool Album of the Day is Milli Vanilli, Girl You Know It’s True

After much controversy, several lawsuits, fraud allegations, and that now famous bitch slap/cat fight with opening act Shields and Yarnell at what turned out to be their final performance, Rob Pilatus and Fabrice “Fab” Morvan decided to break up their legendary musical mime troupe Key Mime Pie in the summer of 1985. The troupe, fresh off their critic’s favorite, publicly ignored album, Time out of Mime that featured their highest charting single to date, “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Mime”, was growing weary of the constant touring, press junkets, and gregarious groupies that were part of the day-to-day life of the biggest mime act in the world.

Perhaps it was the trappings of fame that caused the troupe about whom Marcel Marceau once said “…………”, but refused to elaborate (It was also rumored that the iconic French mime was afraid to step out of his imaginary box for fear of competing with these new Monarchs of Mime), or maybe it was the stress on their vocal chords that caused them to quit at the top of their game. The truth however is much more pedestrian and simply put, they fought the law and the law won. After their 3rd consecutive touring year performing for various colleges for the hearing impaired throughout the country, a suit was filed in federal court alleging that they were lip-synching and had been performing with no soundtrack at all for all of these years. This and the lawsuit that followed very quickly with a subpoena asking them to stop using the word “Troupe” in their stage name since the word troupe implies more than two people, were the real reasons Key Mime Pie was forced to quit altogether and Rob and Fab were required to set off for other, hopefully greener, pastures.

Realizing that fame can be a fleeting thing and comes around as often as a Halley’s comet sighting, Rob and Fab quickly regrouped with the help of their life coach Boy George, and their newly hired manager who was just coming off his prior job guiding the fortunes of the The Knack, a band that under his tutelage crashed and burned into mediocrity faster than the Hindenberg, and whose career was about as disappointing as a non-happy ending massage.  In retrospect, this team seems to be the perfect group of industry insiders to guide the fortunes of the former Key Mime Pie members, and resurrect them up from the ashes as Milli Vanilli.

In the days prior to the internet the news cycle was nowhere near as instantaneous as it is today and of course on-line leaks of material an artist were nonexistent.  The only way a track could be leaked is for someone to steal a real-to-real tape directly from the studio, and that is exactly what happened six months prior to the release of the duo’s massive comeback album Girl, You Know It’s True, recorded under their new name Milli Vanilli.

Leaks began to hit the street, and word was spreading about this great new duo that combined the precision-like harmonies of The Everly Brothers with the beautiful, soaring harmonic sounds of Simon and Garfunkel with Rob Pilatus playing Paul Simon to Fabrice Morvan’s Art Garfunkel, only with better hair. The first leaked track from the album “Baby, Don’t Lose My Number” is a lyrically obtuse song, and although rock historians differ over the meaning of the lyrics, the general consensus is that the song is about a man asking a girl not to lose his number.

Feeling that only talent could stop this dynamic duo now as the producers, trying to avoid future song leaks, rushed the album on to an unsuspecting public.  The album was released first in the U.K. in 1988, and was subsequently sent packing with a one way bus ticket to The United States, only to be released in 1999 with a slight rearrangement of the of the songs, proving once again that with the possible exception of Cliff Richard and Aker Bilk, those wonderful blokes from across the pond are less forgiving and have a much more discerning musical palate than we do here America.

Once the album was released, the music fans were treated to a dazzling array of Euro-Synth dance beats uniquely complementing the commanding vocal rainbow of ranges that were so picture perfect that it was hard to believe such a beautiful sound could come from these two less than dynamic performers, not to mention the fact that their German accents seemed to have strangely and conveniently disappeared.  Largely buoyed by the title track as well as the dance pop hit “Blame it on the Rain”, along with the Dylanesque “All or Nothing”, the album vaulted to number two on the Hot One Hundred Billboard Music chart with the record  hitting a sales level of six times platinum.

One of the more underrated aspects of this tour-de-force of an album is the storytelling genius and the eclectic way that the songs musically and lyrically flow through each track to tell a compelling story that would make Townes Van Zandt envious. As an example, on track number 9 we find out with “I’m Gonna Miss You” in 3:57of agony and heart ache, that the girl from track number two did indeed lose his number.

Lastly, much like the image maker Frank Farian released a sham of a musical act to an unsuspecting public in 1999 and called them Milli Vanilli, you fair reader have been subject to a satirical, tongue firmly planted in cheek, work of semi-fiction, and if you look at the first letter of each paragraph, you will see that they indeed do spell out:

April Fool

— Bernie Sparrow San Francisco, California USAPlease visit and LIKE our facebook page

(Here’s the 2013 April Fools Piece!)

Track listing

  1. “Girl You Know It’s True” (Ky Adeyemo, Rodney Halloway, Kevin Liles, Bill Pettaway Jr., Sean Spencer) – 4:13
  2. “Baby Don’t Forget My Number” (Farian, B. Nail aka Brad Howell) – 3:59
  3. “More Than You’ll Ever Know” (Ernesto Phillips) – 4:32
  4. “Blame It on the Rain” (Diane Warren) – 4:19
  5. “Take It as It Comes” (Climie, Fisher, Dennis Morgan) – 3:41
  6. “It’s Your Thing” (O’Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley) – 3:51
  7. “Dreams to Remember” (Farian, Mary Applegate, Dietmar Kawohl) – 3:54
  8. “All or Nothing” (Farian, Nail, P.G. Wilder) – 3:17
  9. “I’m Gonna Miss You” (Farian, Kawohl, Peter Bischoff Fallenstein) (aka “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You”) – 3:57
  10. “Girl You Know It’s True” (N.Y. Subway Extended Mix) – 6:27

Personnel

  • Rob Pilatus, Fab Morvan (aka “The Brothers Of Soul”): Vocals
  • Jodie & Linda Rocco, Joan Faulkner, Felicia Taylor, The Jackson Singers, John Davis, Charles Shaw, Herbert Gebhard, Bimey Oberreit, Peter Rishavy, Brad Howell: Additional Vocals
  • P.G. Wilder, Pit Loew, Volker Barber: Keyboards
  • Peter Weihe, Jens Gad, Bruce Ingram: Guitars
  • Mel Collins: Saxophone
  • Curt Cress: Drums, Percussion
  • Dino Solera, Felice Civitareale, Franz Weyerer: Horns; arranged by Dino Solera

Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. Emily (03 Apr 2012, 11:20)
    Reply

    Cute



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