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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 had only heard of Boney M from two sources: Someone who had written on my HS desk about her affection for Boney M, and a news article about Rasputin that noted the song for the video above.

    However, Boney M has been heard by untold millions without their knowledge because of the international superstardom of Lady Gaga. Her breakthrough hit "Poker Face" uses a sample of Boney M's "Ma Baker" — that's where the "Ma ma ma ma" comes from.

    More at, a site that details what songs have been sampled into which subsequent recordings. It's a very educational site because it illustrates how UNtalented the new breed of pop stars are — they're just borrowing talent from past generations.

    I once worked with a guy from South Africa, He was amazed that no one had ever heard of Boney M. I had always though that Boney M was a reggae group…I knew the name but never listened to them.

    Surprisingly enough, British rock group Def Leppard — who sold seven million copies of their breakthrough LP Pyromania and ruled U.S. rock radio with songs like "Photograph," "Rock of Ages," and (my fave) "Foolin'" — was never big in the UK until the release of Hysteria four years later. In the '90s, Bush, the rock band headed by Brit Gavin Rossdale, were stars in the U.S. but drew half-empty houses in the U.K. Rossdale is more famous nowadays for being the husband and muse of No Doubt's Gwen Stefani.

    I never heard of him till I lived in Europe, but he's really pretty good, sounds American but from the UK and only successful outside the States

    "Daddy Cool" is a good one, along the lines of Ohio Players/early Kool n the Gang

    Boney M was very big in Australia. My favourite song is the Psalm "By the Rivers of Babylon". I love it more than the mournful renditions of the Psalm that I have heard during Mass.

    A former parish priest of mine was another Boney M fan, and yes he actually did get away with playing "By the Rivers of Babylon" once during a Mass… with the whole congregation loving it…. This former parish priest is no heretic. We had been discussing our love for the song, and yes he was kinda in the habit of singing it at different times.

    Ma Baker and Rasputin were very big hits.

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