On This Day In Music History: Chicago Judge Approves "Milli Vanilli" Lip-Sync Refund!


On March 24, 1992, Cook County judge Thomas O'Brien, approved a settlement that would allow potentially millions of consumers to receive up to $3 in refunds from Arista Records.  Those who could prove they had purchased a copy of the duo Milli Vanilli's music or attended one of the group's concerts would be eligible for refunds.

Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan had risen to the top of the charts in 1989 with their smash hit singles "Blame It On The Rain" and "Girl, You Know It's True", even winning a Grammy for Best New Artist, but when a backing tape malfunctioned at one of their concerts, it became quickly evident that the duo had not actually sung on their own recordings. 


This, combined with an MTV executive observing the duo's poor command of the English language, led to further speculation, which was later confirmed in a November 1990 story by L.A. Times' Chuck Phillips.

"I feel like a mosquito being squeezed," Pilatus told Phillips in a phone interview. "The last two years of our lives have been a total nightmare. We've had to lie to everybody. We are true singers but that maniac Frank Farian would never allow us to express ourselves." (SOURCE)

The article resulted in an immediate backlash and NARAS president Michael Greene moving swiftly to strip the duo of their Grammy award four days after the article appeared.  Arista Records also worked behind the scenes to ensure that all Milli Vanilli product was removed from store shelves.

A number of class action lawsuits followed, with the March 24, 1992 decision finally bringing to an end the lengthy court battle and bringing some restitution to consumers willing to admit that they'd bought the duo's music.


``There were a number of 14- and 15-year-olds who got their first taste of deception because of this,`` said Thomas Tyrrell, one of the attorneys who brought the suit. ``The world is not going to stop because of this settlement, but hopefully we have stopped this from occurring again.`` (SOURCE)


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