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Frank Farian

Frank Farian

Франк Фариан (Frank Farian) — немецкий музыкант, певец, композитор, поэт, музыкальный продюсер.

Frank Farian's father made briefcases, out of real leather. His mother played piano and sang in the church choir. Farian grew up near Saarbruecken on the German-French border, near the U.S. military bases that would change his life.

The Original Frank Farian never bought Beatles records. "I wasn't a Beatles fan," he said. He was a soul man--give him Sam Cooke, Little Richard, Otis Redding. Farian imitated the sounds of black American music and began singing in the local clubs that targeted the homesick U.S. soldiers. He got good enough to do decent covers of the latest soul hits. The soldiers liked his singing; the clubs brought him back.

Farian launched his career in the pop industry as the singer in his own group, "Frankie Farian and the Shadows", releasing covers of black artists such as the Drifters and Otis Redding. But Frankie Farian and the Shadows never made it big.

"No one wanted my music," he recalls. "It was better from America. A white singer singing black music wouldn't work. The record companies sent me back to German music." Then, as now, German pop was a lilting barrage of bright sounds designed to elicit the rhythmic clapping that brings gleeful smiles to German audiences. It's oom-pah music gone high tech. Even the love songs sound martial. Farian was miserable.

By 1971 he had begun working as a producer, eventually hitting it big with the group Boney M, which had a string of hits between 1976 and 1985 in England, France and West Germany with songs such as "Brown Girl in the Ring."

In the early '70s, he shifted from performing into producing and soon pushed his way back into black music, forming Boney M, a disco-Europop group that proved to be massively successful in Europe and a modest dance-club hit in the States. Numbers like "Sunny", "Gotta Go Home" and "Brown Girl in the Ring" repeated Farian's formula of pingy synthesizer rhythms, mind-numbing beats and simple, catchy melodies, often adapted from children's songs.

Boney M record albums pictured four black performers, mostly former U.S. service members who stayed on in Germany to make a living in music. But Boney M was also Frank Farian, finally getting to record the black music that got him into the business. On the albums, he was mentioned only as a back-up singer, and sometimes he wasn't mentioned as a singer at all.

"Boney M was the most perfect mix of black and white music, but in America, music still had to be black or white," Farian says. "The real crossover didn't come until the late '70s, early '80s."

Farian was selling millions of records and became one of the world's most valued producers. Other claims to fame Farian cites include recording Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You" at his studio in 1984, and work with Meat Loaf and the group Toto.

Then, in 1988, came Milli Vanilli, but that's another story...

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