Boney M. was one of the most famous German disco
groups in the late 70's, rivaling against capacities like Abba
, Goombay Dance Band, Luv and Eruption (which was also under the hood of Frank Farian
Boney M., on the height of their career
(about 1977-1980), consisted of four people, Marcia Barrett
, Liz Mitchell
, Maizie Williams
and Bobby Farrell
. Initially they were founded in 1976, when Frank Farian
, their actual creator, was approached to perform the first Boney M. single "Baby do you wanna bump
" live on TV, but Liz then got the lead vocal on most songs, and they had four very successful album
Take the heat off me (released in 1976)
Love for sale (released in 1977)
Night flight to Venus (released in 1978)
Oceans of fantasy (released in 1979)
"Night flight to Venus" was undoubtedly their most successful album, containing both "Rasputin" and "Rivers of Babylon", the latter being their biggest hit back then, which set the standard for the genre "German Schlager" until today. Many of their singles became "double A-sides" receiving radio airplay for both sides, so the sides later ended up being called "A1" and "A2".
After "Oceans of Fantasy" their popularity began to fade, and Bobby Farrell left the group to be replaced by the African Mike in early 1982, but they continued to put out the occasional hit until the mid-80's, most noticably "Kalimba de luna", a Tony Esposito cover, and "Happy song", a rip-of of Fun Fun's song "Happy station", which were both released in 1984. After that, some best-of samplers and remixes came out, but no new material.
Although it is said often that Boney M. didn't sing themselves, this isn't quite true. Liz Mitchell really sang, as did Maizie Williams, who also sang lead on some tracks. However, the other two members are only sparsely heard in choruses, and most male (and even some female-sounding) parts were done by Frank Farian. But in their live-appearances, they all sang. However, if you see one of their shows today (which they still do), it has all changed. All members but Liz Mitchell have been replaced by younger ones. The two other girls now sound like Gospel singers, and the new "Bobby" only dances around on stage and lip synchs to Frank Farian's male vocals. They mainly do the PWL remixes they did with Stock, Aitken and Waterman in 1988 (except for (I see a) Boat on the river, which they do in the original version), and they don't really play live anymore (with a real drummer etc.).
Their most played hits today, according to MusicMatch, are:
Rivers of Babylon
Brown girl in the ring
These all are to be found on their first three albums.