Legendary disco producer Frank Farian – founder and mastermind behind the hit 1970s band Boney M – has died at the age of 82, according to his family.
The German producer formed the group in 1976, and was their primary writer as they recorded a string of disco hits including Daddy Cool, Rasputin, and a popular remake of the Christmas song, Mary’s Boy Child.
He later founded the pop duo Milli Vanilli, and worked with music legends including Meat Loaf and Stevie Wonder.
Farian passed away at his home in Miami, according to a statement released by his agency on behalf of his family on Tuesday.
Liz Mitchell, one of the original singers of Boney M, paid tribute to Farian in a post on Facebook.
“May Frank rest in peace. Our work was blessed and helped the people who had the privilege to hear it,” she wrote.
“We shared and united under a star and rose above and beyond what we dared to expect. I say well done to the work that we did. Rest in peace, Frank Farian.”
Born Franz Reuther in 1941 in Kirn, Germany, Farian started out his music career as a singer before turning his focus to producing.
Farian originally formed Boney M as a pseudonym for his own work in 1974, releasing the dance track Baby Do You Want To Bump under the name.
After the song saw success in Belgium and the Netherlands, Farian worked to bring together a troupe, made up of Mitchell, Maizie Williams, Bobby Farrell, and Marcia Barrett, who would become Boney M.
The lead song of their first album was Daddy Cool, which reached number one in Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Spain, France, and Austria, and peaked at number six in the UK charts.
They scored a UK number one with a cover of Rivers Of Babylon, a double A-side with Brown Girl In The Ring, while Ma Baker and Rasputin peaked at number two. Mary’s Boy Child was Christmas number one in 1978.
More success followed in the late 1980s with the German hip-hop band Milli Vanilli, made up of Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus, who had hits including Girl You Know It’s True.
However, Farian and the group became embroiled in a lip-syncing scandal in 1990 when he confessed the duo had not sung on their records – an admission which later saw their Grammy Award for best new artist revoked.
It is estimated that Farian sold over 850 million records and earned 800 gold and platinum certifications across his career.