Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Milli Vanilli Class Action Lawsuit Over Lip Sync Scandal Settled 28 Years Ago Today [EUR Video Throwback]

Milli Vanilli
Milli Vanilli accept their Best New Artist Grammy in 1989

On this day in 1992, a Chicago judge settled on a cash rebate to resolve the class action lawsuit filed against Milli Vanilli’s record label.

The duo – Robert Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan – won the 1989 best new artist Grammy after hits like “Girl, You Know It’s True,” and “Blame it on the Rain” were instant smashes, selling 30 million singles and 14 million albums.

Milli Vanilli – Girl You Know It’s True

Milli Vanilli – Blame it On the Rain

But in late 1990, their Grammy was snatched away after it was revealed that Rob and Fab sang nary a note on the Milli Vanilli album, “Girl You Know It’s True,” and that their German producer Frank Farian had actually hired two other male and two female background singers to handle the album’s vocals.

Milli Vanilli Lip Sync Fail with their actual singing voices

Milli Vanilli Grammy revoked (1990 press conference)

On March 24, 1992, Judge Thomas O’Brien ordered Arista Records and parent Bertelsmann Music Group to offer $1 refunds on Milli Vanilli singles, $2 on cassettes and vinyl albums and $3 on compact discs to fans who can prove through a bar-code ID tag that they purchased the item before Nov. 27, 1990. Fans who bought tickets to Milli Vanilli concerts before that date would also be entitled to a refund of 5% (not to exceed $2.50).

Meanwhile, the real, uncredited singers of Milli Vanilli – leads Charles Shaw and later John Davis, and twin female backup singers Linda and Jodie Rocco – were ordered by Farian to keep their mouth shut about the fakery. The four spoke to OWN’s “Where Are They Now” in 2014 to discuss the pressure they faced from Farian to stay quiet, and the emotional toll they endured after receiving zero recognition for the group’s success.

Why the “Real” Voices Behind Milli Vanilli Kept Quiet | Where Are They Now | Oprah Winfrey Network

Jodie Rocco said that Shaw, a US Army veteran, was paid $6,000 to perform the rap on “Girl You Know It’s True.” But Farian fired Shaw shortly after the song’s release because Shaw threatened to tell the public that it’s really him on the record. Shaw followed through with the threat and spoke to New York Newsday writer John Leland in December 1989, revealing he was one of three singers on Milli Vanilli’s debut album, and that frontmen Rob and Fab were perpetrators.

Eventually, Farian, himself, admitted to the fraud in November 1990, which led to the confiscation of the group’s Grammy awards and the class action lawsuit. Shaw has been trying to capitalize on the controversy ever since, releasing an updated version of “Girl You Know It’s True.”  In 2000, he recorded a track called “Does Your Mother Know” which included the famous beat from “Girl You Know It’s True,” and other Milli Vanilli references.

Charles Shaw – Does Your Mother Know

In August 1998, however, Shaw was arrested in Cologne, Germany as part of an embezzlement investigation. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he was accused of pocketing money that was meant to be invested in a 1996 Real Milli Vanilli tour of Hungary.

Based on more recent videos of the real Milli Vanilli singers, it appears as if they are not trying to let this song Rest In Peace.

Milli Vanilli … Charles Shaw, Linda Rocco, and Jodie Rocco – 11/2019

Charles Shaw – Girl You Know it’s True – LCB Club Band 1/23/2019

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