On April 3, 1998 Rob Pilatus was found dead from an accidental overdose in a Frankfurt hotel. He was 33.
Rob was one half of the pop group Milli Vanilli which shot to fame with the release of their debut album Girl You Know Its True in 1989
The German pop duo seemed almost too good to be true. Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus were good looking and by pop standards pretty talented.
Their album with its catchy synthesizer songs was a massive hit and topped the charts for weeks.
In February 1990, Morvan and Pilatus were even given the Grammy for Best New Artist.
Then in November their German record producer Frank Farian essentially threw them under a bus. He held a news conference to tell the world that the boys didn’t sing a note on the album.
Farian had hired the unemployed models to lip sync in videos for songs already recorded by three studio musicians.
Days later the National Academy of Recording Artists and Sciences revoked the Grammy award given to Morvan and Pilatus. The first and only time any artist has been stripped of a Grammy.
Pilatus and Morvan hit back with their own news conference where they explained that they wanted to sing but Frank Farian wouldn’t let them.
Sadly, for Rob Pilatus the lip sync scandal was the beginning of a spiral down into substance abuse. Fab Morvan put out his first solo album in 2003 and is still making music.
For more stories from the 90s, check out my podcast “History of the 90s” available on ApplePodcasts, Spotify, Google Play and anywhere else you stream audio. You can also listen at http://www.curiouscast.ca