Frank Farian: Boney M mastermind dies aged 82

Frank Farian enjoyed a full life of hitmaking before he died aged 82.

Boney M Frank Farian dies
© ullstein bild / GETTYIMAGES
Boney M Frank Farian dies

Boney M has to be one of the most iconic bands of the 1970s. Hits like Rasputin and Daddy Cool are still being enjoyed today, and give off a certain don’t-take-yourself-too-seriously attitude that makes them all the more appealing. However, some very sad news broke earlier today, 23 January. Not long after the actor David Gail died,Boney M founder Frank Farian has passed away.

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The announcement was made by his representatives. Farian is best known for founding Boney M, but he was also behind the pop duo Milli Vanilli and numerous other chart-topping acts. Let’s take a look back at his illustrious career and his unstable health.

Farian’s career

Farian was born in Kirn in western Germany and started his career as a solo musician. As he was enjoying the success of his first hit, which was a cover, he came up with the idea for Boney M, a disco group of four West Indians singers. He incorporated their singing with dancing and masterminded what ended up becoming a majorly successful group.

The band bashed out hits like Daddy Cool, Rasputin and Rivers of Babylon, topping charts across the globe. Farian didn’t perform with the group, but he did add some lower vocals to songs in the studio recordings. He went on to produce the pop duo Milli Vanilli, who later faced a lot of criticism over a lip-syncing scandal.

However, with around 800m records sold in his lifetime, it’s fair to say that Farian became one of the most successful producers of his time. This came as a surprise to Farian, who once told the German Press Agency, ‘I had always thought I wouldn't make it. It didn't look like it at first’.

Farian’s health

However, he didn’t always enjoy good health. In 2022, Farian revealed in an interview with Bild that he had had a pig heart valve inserted into his chest. Medical staff decided this was a way to help his body cope with his own valve, which had shrunk due to old age. After the surgery, he was prescribed a drug similar to Viagra. He got pretty candid about this, explaining ‘this is a similar active ingredient to Viagra and has a nice side effect. But to be honest, I'm not thinking about sex at all at the moment. Today I enjoy a good meal and am just happy that I'm still alive’.

This sort of a procedure usually sees the replacement valve last for up to 15 years, and no cause of death has been publicly announced.

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Sources used:

Daily Mail: Boney M founder Frank Farian dead at 82: Hitmaker behind Rasputin and Daddy Cool died peacefully at his Miami apartment two years after having a pig heart valve inserted

The Guardian: Frank Farian, creator of Boney M and Milli Vanilli, dies aged 82

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