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Boney M
No musical act of the '70s has experienced more ups and downs in its popularity, or attracted a more varied audience across the decades, than Boney M. One of the most successful pop groups ever to come out of Germany, they still remain a fixture on radio and continue to sell albums worldwide. With a brand new greatest hits compilation riding high on the Indian charts, thereís no better time to look back at the groups evolution from wundergroup to dance culture icons.

Who Are They Again?
The mastermind behind the group is German record producer Frank Farian. Farian recorded and released his own single Baby, Do You Wanna Bump in 1975 under the pseudonym of Boney M ~ a name he came up with after watching a popular TV show. The song to Farianís surprise became a hit in Holland and Belgium, and when people wanted to see Boney M perform live, the record producer suddenly found himself with the need to create such a group. A team of dancers and vocalists were auditioned to front Farian, and he finally settled upon four West Indian performers ~ Marcia Barrett, Liz Mitchell, Maizie Williams and Bobby Farrell. The response to the groupís first album Take The Heat Of Me was not very good. A single Daddy Cool was released in the summer of 1976, and that too failed to make the Top 20.

Trying to build up a fan base, Farian took his musical act on the road, and the group began to earn a reputation for themselves while performing in clubs and discos across Europe. A German TV producer caught the act performing one night, and booked them for the popular live show Musikladen, which was watched by thousands of people at the time. A week after their appearance on the show, Daddy Cool topped the German charts, scoring Boney M their first #1 single.

After a few hit singles, the group really took off in 1978 after their song Rivers Of Babylon coasted to the top of the UK charts and even managed to sneak into the American Top 30. Thanks to the popularity of the B-Side Brown Girl In The Ring, it became the second biggest selling single in the UK ever. Rasputin gave them another Top Ten hit before their Christmas single Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord bagged them another #1 and became the fifth-biggest selling single in UK at the time. In a short period of two and a half years, Boney M became one of the biggest pop acts of all time, selling over 55 million records worldwide.

Trendsetters Of Disco Music
Boney M was widely noted for the colourful and trend-setting costumes its members wore. The three female members were most comfortable wearing Brazil carnival style revealing outfits, dripping with beads, sequins and elaborately bizarre headgear, while Farrell would try to outdo this with different jazzy spandex outfits, bare chest and enormous afro. Their flamboyant Europop stage shows also set an early trend in disco music, as they combined different shiny and kinky outfits with incongruously energetic dancing, with the group doing high kicks and jumping splits in a high-energy style on stage. Their costumes, sets and stages also became more and more elaborate with each successive album and tour. At the height of their popularity, Boney M became the first Western group allowed to perform in Communist Russia during the Cold War.

You can read the rest of our feature on Boney M in the January 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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