Fab Morvan Claims Unpaid Image Rights in the Wake of Milli Vanilli Documentary

Fab Morvan claims his rights to image, a side of the scandal that has never been fully addressed and the alleged involvement of music executive Clive Davis and the enduring impact on Morvan.

Fab Morvan Claims Unpaid Image Rights in the Wake of Milli Vanilli Documentary

The story of Milli Vanilli remains one of the most notorious in music industry history, and a new documentary is shedding light on the scandal that rocked the charts.

Thirty-five years have passed since Milli Vanilli — singers Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus were targeted by fans, media and the music industry alike for a ruse that was much bigger than them. “Selling the image of these two particular Black bodies with the vocal stylings of the Black vocalists whose voices were not theirs speaks to the legacy of the way that Black performers have been marketed in America and also globally,” said Kembrew McLeod, professor of communication studies at the University of Iowa.

What's undeniable, apart from that clouded legacy, is the music that Milli Vanilli produced. Sony Music Entertainment's Legacy Recordings is releasing a "Best Of" compilation in conjunction with a new documentary film coming to Paramount+. Milli Vanilli had a host of global hits, including three No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100.

This 35th anniversary collection contains 17 tracks including their first major single "Girl, You Know It's True" which raced up the pop charts to No. 2, along with the next three singles — "Baby Don't Forget My Number," the ballad "Girl, I'm Gonna Miss You," and the Diane Warren-penned "Blame It on the Rain" — that all hit No. 1.

In the wake of this exposé however, Fab Morvan, the surviving member of Milli Vanilli, is stepping forward to claim his rights to image, shedding light on a side of the story that hasn't received sufficient attention.

The documentary, now available on Paramount+, delves deep into the challenges faced by the filmmakers in bringing the truth to light. Director Luke Korem and producer Bradley Jackson recount the hurdles they encountered, from reluctant executives to challenges securing music rights. The revelations about what unfolded behind the scenes at Arista Records during the Milli Vanilli years add a layer of complexity to an already intricate tale.

A key aspect brought to the forefront is the claim that Clive Davis, the influential figure at Arista Records, may have had knowledge of the lip-synching scandal for months before the Grammy win.

The reluctance of some interviewees to admit Davis's involvement highlights the power dynamics at play within the music industry.

The film not only tackles the complexities of the Milli Vanilli saga but also touches on the aftermath that continues to affect Fab Morvan. Despite embracing accountability for the deception, Morvan insists on addressing the financial implications of the scandal, asserting his right to image that has never been compensated adequately.

One of the challenges faced during the documentary's production was the reluctance of individuals, including producer Frank Farian, to open up about the past. Farian, who owns the rights to the hit songs that propelled Milli Vanilli to international stardom, added an additional layer of complexity to the filmmaking process.

"In the end, we embraced the lie," admits Morvan, reflecting on the enduring consequences of the scandal. The documentary offers a unique perspective on the downfall of Milli Vanilli, humanizing the individuals involved and presenting a narrative that goes beyond the headlines.

Despite the passage of 30 years, the film reveals that honesty remains elusive, as conflicting accounts persist among those interviewed. Fab Morvan's insistence on claiming his rights to image adds a contemporary dimension to the narrative, emphasizing that the repercussions of the Milli Vanilli scandal extend far beyond its initial revelation.

As the documentary unveils a new take on an old tale, Morvan commends the filmmakers for their honest and genuine approach. The exploration of the human side of the story brings a fresh perspective to a scandal that has long been relegated to the realm of punchlines. Milli Vanilli's story, as detailed in this documentary, proves to be a compelling and essential addition to the annals of music industry history.

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