Although they never had much success in America, the Euro-Disco group Boney M was a European phenomenon during the '70s. After German record producer Frank Farian (* 18.7.1941 as Franz Reuther) recorded the single 'Baby Do You Wanna Bump?' in 1974/75 (which was successful in Holland and Belgium), he created Boney M to support the song, bringing in four West Indian vocalists who had been working as session singers in Germany -- Marcia Barrett, Liz Mitchell, Maizie Williams and Bobby Farrell.
Now let's take a look how this whole Boney M story started:
December 1974: Frank Farian 6 Weeks in Europa-Sound Studio in Offenbach Bieber. Recording: "Baby Do You Wanna Bump" under pseudonym "Boney M" (Boney: Hero of an Australian TV-Series). At first only Discotheque-Success, weekly sales about 500 Records.
End of 1975: Dutch TV and Discos wanted Live-Appearances of Boney M. Farian and the Artist-Agent Katja Wolf find 4 colored girls and 1 man. Aboriginal Boney M: Maizie Williams, Sheila Bonnick, a girl named Nathalie and the african Mike. This aboriginal line-up did only Dance- and Pressappearances. Later Claudja Barry joined the group, but she was replaced by Liz Mitchell. Line-Up now: Marcia Barrett, Liz Mitchell, Maizie Williams and Bobby Farrell.
When "Baby Do You Wanna Bump" was released in 1975, it seemed nobody thought the tracks of this Formation's success would run into the 90's. Without a doubt it was the voice of Liz Mitchell that carried most of the songs. Liz was born on Jamaica and came to Germany in the end of the 60's. Here she played in 1969 in the Berlin Version of "Hair". In the beginning of the 70's she joined the Les Humphies Singers from the start (1970-73), and with Malcolm Magaron, another member of that group, she did Malcolm Locks. From her friend Marcia Barrett, who lived in Hamburg, came the suggestion to join together a Group that was founded by Frank Farian - Boney M. The producer Frank Farian later said that all members of the group would be replacable without hurting the Group - but not Liz.
Boney M's first appearance in Germany was a performance of the song "Daddy Cool" in the then important and famous TV-Show "Musikladen" in 1976. After that TV-Show appearance the sales of the single were about 100.000 singles each week! From then on the album (Take The Heat Off Me) did well, too. In July 1976 with "Daddy Cool" came the first Number 1 for Boney M in Germany and a Top-10-Hit in December 1976 in the UK. The same year in Germany the follow-up to Daddy Cool was a remake of Bobby Hebb's "Sunny", which hit Number One in December 1976, in the UK it hit Number one in March 1977.
The Original Group Lineup was Marcia Barret (* 14.10.1945, St. Catherines, Jamaica), Liz Mitchell (* 12.7.1952, Clarendon, Jamaica), Maizie Williams (* 25.3.1951, Monserrat, West Indies) and Bobby Farrell (*6.10.1949, Aruba, West Indies). In 1982 Bobby Farrell was replaced by Reggie Tsiboe (* 1950). But Bobby rejoined the group in 1984 on Eye Dance.
In May 1977, "Ma Baker" just missed the U.K. number one spot, and "Belfast" hit the Top Ten in October. In 1978, Boney M was at the height of its popularity with "Rivers of Babylon"/"Brown Girl in the Ring", which became the second-biggest selling single in U.K. chart history. "Rivers of Babylon" also was Boney M's only U.S. Top 40 hit. Boney M's album "Nightflight To Venus" also topped the U.K. charts. In September 1978, "Rasputin" became another U.K. Top Ten hit, followed by the seasonal chart-topper "Mary's Boy Child"/"Oh My Lord", which became the fifth-biggest selling single in U.K. history. In March 1979, "Painter Man" hit the U.K. Top Ten, followed in April by "Hooray! Hooray! It's a Holi-Holiday". In September, the album "Oceans Of Fantasy" hit number one.
Making a balance-sheet after 10 Years, Frank Farian counted 18 Platin- and 15 Gold-LPs, more than 200 Gold- and Platin-Singles and about 150 Million sold Units all over the world. Whose voices could be heared besides that of Liz will be remaining Farian's little secret. By the end of the 80's Farian put out a new edition of Boney M onto the Market. Besides Liz there now stood and sang only decorative: Reggie Tsiboe, Patty Onyewenjo and Sharon Stevens. But not this new combination attrackted the audience, it was the old combination! In the end of 1992 they had a Top-10-Hit in UK with a Mega-Mix of their old Numbers.