People said from the very beginning that Milli Vanilli couldn’t sing. But in 1989 people started saying that Milli Vanilli didn’t sing.
Late in that year, Charles Shaw – a Munich singer who had done back-up work on the album Girl You Know It’s True – told German radio and television reporters that he had sung the lead vocals on the record’s title track.
The claims were later repeated by the singer in an interview with New York Newsday.
Shaw also named other “uncredited” singers John Davis and Brad Howell, and said that Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan had been hired to sell records with their looks.
After a public admission by creator and manager Frank Farian (who also created Boney M) that the duo did not sing on their records, Milli Vanilli were ordered to return their Grammy award for Best New Artist on 19 November 1990.
Ten days later Rob Pilatus attempted suicide at the Mondrian Hotel, Sunset Strip, Los Angeles by taking an overdose of pills and then slashing his wrists.
At least 26 different lawsuits were filed under various US consumer fraud protection laws against Pilatus, Morvan and Arista Records, and in March 1992 a US court ordered Milli Vanilli to refund the purchase price of CDs to fans who bought them under false pretences.
The judge approved rebates of up to $3 to anyone who could prove they bought a Milli Vanilli record before the lip-synching scandal began.
Rob Pilatus was found dead from a drink/drugs overdose on 3 April 1998 by manager Frank Farian.