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    Boney M

    Boney M

    That is a name I had not heard in decades.

    When I studied in the Soviet Union many of the East European students loved the group Boney M and were surprised that none of the Americans in our group had heard of it.  To them, Boney M was supposed to be one of the leading bands in the U.S.

    The Soviet Bloc students played Boney M in much the way we might play various classic rock anthems — they knew all the words and swayed together as the music played.

    When I returned to the U.S. I even went out and bought a Boney M album, more as a momento than anything else.  It would be impossible to explain to friends the absurdity of the East European perception without actually playing the music.

    I can’t recall the last time that I thought of Boney M before today, when I saw a Tweet by the Lebanese website Naharnet that “Boney M’s Bobby Farrell Dies” with a link to this article:

    Bobby Farrell, singer and dancer with 1970’s disco group Boney M, died early Thursday in a hotel room in Saint Petersburg, where he had been performing, city officials said. He was 61.

    The Saint Petersburg investigative committee of prosecutors said the Aruba-born Dutch singer was found dead in his bed by a staffer at the city’s Ambassador hotel.

    “There was no sign of violent death,” a committee source said. “The investigation continues.”

    Farrell died in St. Petersburg, Russia.  I guess the former Soviets still were his best fans.

    Here is a video of Boney M’s Rasputin, shot on scene in Moscow, which I have to admit I kinda like.  Maybe because it brings back memories.

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    I loved Boney M. One of my favorite disco songs is Ma Baker by Boney M. Bobby Farrell certain was a colorful character onstage.

    He never sang on the recorded albums and most of the live appearances. Group founder Frank Farian wrote and sang the male vocals. Bobby Farrell was hired for the stage performances because he had the look and the dance moves.

    Boney M were, like a lot of bands, earworms at their peak, in the UK. First song of their's that always comes to mind is Rivers of Babylon.

    When I first moved Stateside, I was surprised by a few bands who were big in the UK, yet virtually unknown here, (Simply Red and Deacon Blue are two, off the top of my head).

    My wife, a Latvian who grew up in the old Soviet Union, was a big fan. A bit of a song was playing in the background of the 2001 film "Intimacy," and my wife said, "Hey, it's Boney M."

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