Clad in tights, tucked open shirt and a Beatles-styled wig, I was singing "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" into the microphone to a 500-or-so crowd, with 8-10 screaming girls reaching for me on the stage in 1970. I was on a cloud, except that the mike was off, it was a high school charity function, my act was one of many on the program, and the 8~10 screamers were part of the show. It was fun, but everyone knew I was lip-synching to a record.
Not so with Milli Vanilli. The early rumors of lip-synching the vocals on their album are said to be true by the famous duo who won Favorite New Pop-Rock Artist, Favorite New Soul-Rhythm and Blues Artists and Favorite Pop-Rock Single for "Girl You Know It's True" at the seventeenth annual American Music Awards on January 22, 1990.
I'm sure it was easy for a promoter to persuade two young dancers to work out for the video when the singers (for whatever reason) did not fit the bill – too old, not pretty enough, wrong color – the endless search for the total package where some are chosen and some are not.
Members of the Music Awards have asked that the awards be returned, and I agree that they should be. It is sad that dancers are exploited and projected as vocalists on an album that has sold over seven million in sales, but it is also sad that the dancers accepted that role in the scam.
Hopefully, such deceit will not go unpunished so that future scams are discouraged. Personally, I would be interested in seeing the real singers as they are, poor movers and shakers, too old, or whatever. Let the vocalists do what they do best, but please don't deceive and cheat the listening public.
NSAI Louisville Songwriters Workshop info, call (502) 452- 1996.