In May 1981, the band Boney M. went to Jamaica, where she participated in a record 45-minute television shows for the ZDF tv channel and filmed a promotional video for the upcoming album “Boonoonoonoos”.
In addition, musicians gave two charity concert in favor of children. Take this blessed opportunity to be on a tropical island, among Palm trees and exotic nature, Frank pitched for their artists.
Part photos taken Didi Zillom, was subsequently used for the covers of records, posters and magazine illustrations.
During walks on Jamaica, musicians everywhere pursued their hit two years ago “By the Rivers of Babylon”, at the time headed the local chart and contained there six weeks.
Without knowing it, the artists were to Jamaican heroes, and during a photo session in the small town of Ocho Rios in honor of the Group was a Carnival, where the ensemble of Banjos sang “The River of Babylon!
Child care Boney M. touched Rita Marley-widow of legendary musician Bob Marley, and she not only took participate in the concert of Boney M., but also allowed the musicians to use completely free of the famous Studio of Bob Marley “Tuff Gong in Kingston, on which was recorded the song ” Silly Confusion “, included in a future album.
Children of Paradise-The Greatest Hits of Boney M June 1981
Creative simple, everything is growing due to the delayed release of the album, Frank tried to compensate for another collection of the best songs that is claimed as a continuation of “The Magic of Boney m.-20 Golden Hits”.
It really contained, mostly new works.
It includes the latest out of album singles “Children Of Paradise”, “Gadda-Da-Vida,” “Felicidad”, “Strange,” as well as “Dancing In The Streets”.
The album cover was decorated with a photo made by Didi Zillom in Jamaica.
Malaika / Consuela Biaz June 1981
In June, the first single for the upcoming album was released.
Judging by the southern sound of the title track, the new album promised to be the same – tropical, full of ethnic motifs!
In Swahili, “Malaika” means “Angel”.
In the text, the angel metaphorically referred to the girl in whom the hero is in love.
In 1945, a little-known Tanzan poet Adam Salim devoted these lines to his beloved Halima, whose parents forbade her to meet with Adam and were given away for a rich groom.
The first song was performed by Fadhili Williams, the soloist of Kenyan band The Jambo Boys in 1963.
Until now, Malaika is one of the most popular songs in Tanzania, Kenya and throughout East Africa and, perhaps, the most popular song in the world in Swahili!
Angel, I love you angel!
Angel, I love you angel!
But what to do, my friend,
I lost. Ransom for the bride
I do not pay.
I would take you as a wife, an angel,
But I do not pay ransom…
Wishing to raise the degree of exotics,
Frank brought into the song the refrain “Wimove, Wimove” from quite another African melody “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, which in the original was not.
On the reverse side of the single was the romantic ballad “Consuela Biaz”, allegorically telling about the revolution in the Latin America country.
Before us there is a beautiful, but tragic story:
Boney M. – Consuela Biaz (WDR WWF-Club 12.06.1981)
In the mountains above Freno,
A shining mountain stream
A young man was lying, slain by the collapse of his dream.
He looked up into heaven,
Watching the dawn,
When a woman leaned in front of him
She washed his wounds and kissed his trembling fingers ….
Single was waiting for failure.
Even at home, where the group usually received heat, it was the first time in 5 years that it did not reach TOP 10, taking only 13th place – the lowest since the creation of Boney M.
Afraid of failure, Frank did not dare to release this record in the UK.
It was already the second single, which did not go to conquer the Foggy Albion, which was only the beginning of the fall …
Boonoonoonoos September 1981
In September, the long-awaited album finally saw the light!
The cover was decorated with a colorful photo made at sunset.
In addition, in each envelope was a large colored poster and a picture with the island of Jamaica, on which it was written: “The sun, the sea and Jamaica are Boonoonoonoos!”
But because of Liz Mitchell’s displeasure, the album was immediately recalled from the sale. Family woman, mother and convinced the Christian did not like the overly candid photo of the poster on which the artists stood in translucent wet clothes in the Ocho Rios waterfall.
As a result, the photos were replaced by where the group sailed by canoe, and the release of the album was delayed for another two months.
The final release took place only on November 1, 1981, with a delay of more than a year…
It was a very expensive album – the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (for the song “Ride to Agadir”) and the famous jazz saxophoneTom Scott were invited to work on it.
The songs were recorded at the best British studios (including the legendary Abbey Road, where the Beatles were recorded), as well as in several studios in Germany, the USA (Hollywood’s Hitsville Recording Studios) and even Bob Marley’s studio in Jamaica!
But, to everyone’s surprise, the album, which was invested so much time, strength and money was … a complete failure!
75th place in the UK chart (up to 3 albums in a row took 1st place) and 16th place in the FRG.
According to critics, there were several reasons for the failure. First of all, it was a prolonged creative pause caused by Liz’s pregnancy.
During this time, many new groups appeared that caught the attention of the public.
Because of the constant conflicts that ravaged the collective, the management of the label, which was expecting the collapse from day to day
Boney M., did not venture to invest a lot of money in the promotion of the record, the output of which was already postponed two times.
The third and most important reason is the end of the disco era.
In America in 1980, the word “disco” became almost abusive and where only it could be tried to replace the more neutral “dance”.
Disenchanted with the dance music, the major labels now invested in punk rock, a new wave and pop music, while dance music that did not meet their expectations was again pushed out of the big show business to the clubs and the National Disco Action chart. The ocean no longer needed a disco – not only German, but also its own. Following America from the disco, Britain refused.
Of course, powerful dance action movies of the “Rasputin” or “Daddy Cool” level would have been noticed there, but just at that time Frank decided to make himself known as a serious professional and reduced the number of disco tracks to a minimum.
The same ones that were (for example, “Breakaway”) were dim enough.
In the end, the album turned out to be very interesting, certainly professional, but … not commercial.
And for pop bands, which were Boney M., high sales volumes are simply necessary!
Throwing with styles (by the way, inherent in many artists who were looking for the “sound of the 80’s” at the turn of the decade) deprived Boonoonoonoos of the necessary integrity and conceptuality.
For true fans of Boney M., he certainly became a gift, but he had nothing to attract casual listeners to …
Unfortunately, the failure of Boonoonoonoos did not teach Frank anything, and until its disintegration the group will be haunted by a sad tendency – the more serious and profound the creativity of Boney M., the worse it will be sold.
But not everything was so gloomy! For example, in Spain, in which the band was shortly before that with a promo tour, the album still took the 1 st place, which once again shows us the importance of good marketing!
Boney M – Silly Confusion
The album opened the track “Boonoonoonoos”, which, despite its Jamaican name, was kept in the best traditions of the 70s, combining the best from the instrumental disco and the synth music that was gaining popularity with a small fraction of the southern exotics.
“Silly Confusion”, “We Kill The World”, “Breakaway” is no longer a classic disco, but also not a tropical disco reggae, which Boney M. was so famous for. It is a European synth-pop, a new style for Boney M.
With consistently high-quality arrangements, the melodies of these works are much calmer than those of former disco fighters like “Bahama Mama” and “Ma Baker”.
Of the experimental works, the most interesting is the composition “Ride To Agadir” – a cover for the same song by British singer Mike Batt “The Ride To Algadir” in 1977.
As well as the original, it begins with a heartfelt a cappella, which grows into a powerful anthem of the Moroccans, fighting against the French colonists!
The composition “Train To Skyvile” (cover for the song of 1967 by the Jamaican band The Ethiopians) is notable for the fact that for the first time the voices of all four participants were heard, and Bobby Farrell read rap: “when it’s Friday night, and you’re feeling alright … “- a tribute to the fashion gaining popularity overseas hip-hop.
A small party received and Maisie Williams, however, only in a TV show. In the studio recording, she, as always, was replaced by Liz.
Significant place in the album Boonoonoonoos was occupied by lyrical pop ballads: “Jimmy”, “Consuela Biaz”, “Goodbye My Friend” and “Sad Movies”.
In the opinion of some critics, in this work Boney M. became a little “Abba”, especially clearly this resemblance appears in the song “Consuela Biaz” so reminiscent of the ballad of the Swedes “Fernando”.
There was a place and exotic: in the songs “Malaika” and “Homeland Africa” there are many interesting effects and instruments. It seems that the album Boonoonoonoos was made with the expectation that a variety of genres could attract new fans, but the calculation was wrong: an eclectic collection of works that were not connected by a single concept, did not find a response from the audience expecting a completely different music.
We Kill the World (Do not Kill the World) / Boonoonoonoos November 1, 1981
In November, the second single was released.
He was somewhat more successful: 1st place in Spain and South Africa, 3rd in Switzerland, 12th in Germany and 39th in Great Britain.
The song was devoted to topical problems of ecology and the coming nuclear war.
It is worth noting that such a serious topic in the pop group was by no means a posturing or imitation of successful rock projects that fought for peace.
In the early 80’s, relations between the West and the USSR, which had deteriorated sharply after the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan, were heated to the brim.
In the air, the idea of an impending conflict was literally hovering, which, according to all forecasts, was to become nuclear, and therefore destroy all life on the planet!
In order to more deeply touch the hearts of listeners, the song sounded childish voices. The guys who ask adults not to “kill” the world were called Brian Paul and Brian Slatten (they can be seen in the recording), they were Americans (for the performance of the vocal parts it was necessary to have perfect English) and studied at the American school in Frankfurt, where they sang in the church choir.
The effect of the “angelic chorus” was obtained with the help of a small “trick” – the voices of boys who repeatedly performed the same fragment were imposed on themselves, which created a full feeling of singing a whole chorus.
In the televised performance, the children’s choir (American children from the same school) sang to the soundtrack.
Although the record involved several guys, the cover of the record was only: “Special thanks to Bryan Paul and other children for the performance of We Kill The World”.
Contrary to usual, the female vocal part was performed not by Liz, but by Marcia. In addition, you can hear the voice of Bobby Farrell (in those places when he speaks, but does not sing).
The single was released in several versions with different lengths. However, the original record of 7:51 min remains unreleased.
With the release of an unsuccessful album, the troubles of the band did not end.
Rather, just begun.
In November 1981, Bobby Farrell was fired from the group.
There were several reasons for this.
As already mentioned, Bobby was constantly harassed by journalists, which led to the fact that the only soloist male Boney M. completely ceased to appear at the press conferences of the group, even the most responsible.
In his interviews, Farrell complained about the “intolerable working atmosphere” reigning in Boney M.
According to unverified data, at that moment Bobby had problems with alcohol.
Boney M. – unreleased Bobby Farrell songs
Bobby Farrell Sings !
With the departure of Boney M., Farrell tried to start a solo career and the following year released the single “Polizei / Fool in love”.
For his future album, he recorded several songs with Morgan Perrino from Eruption, but due to small sales of the single from the idea of releasing the album had to be abandoned.
Nevertheless, with his new program, Bobby made a number of tours around Europe. The greatest success was in the performance in socialist Poland, where the televisions show “Crazy Bobby”
After five years of work in a permanent team, Bobby was difficult to get into the rhythm of solo performances, where all the attention of the public had to be kept to him alone.
Of course, he was the face of Boney M., and it always turned out well to light a hall, but without the other participants he was not welcome.
However, and Boney M. was not very sweet, because without his soloist the band could no longer give concerts!
November 23, 1981
A month before Christmas, just three weeks after the release of the disastrous “Boonoonoonoos”, another group album was released, which was called the “Christmas Album” (in the British version of “Mary’s Boy Child – The Christmas Album”).
Initially, Frank planned to release the Christmas album as a solo disc by Liz Mitchell, however with the departure of Bobby the band temporarily could not perform on stage, and so that the ratings did not fall below the skirting board,
Frank decided to support Boney M. the next studio album.
The collection included the song “Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord”, published earlier. The composition “Little Drummer Boy” (a cover for the Christmas carol Katherine Davis, first performed in 1951 by Trapp Family Singers) was released as a separate single, which hit the TOP 20 of Germany.
Boney M. – Little Drummer Boy (WDR WWF-Club 18.12.1981)
«Little Drummer Boy»
Ironically, in the clip “Little Drummer” danced Bobby Farrell, who had already left Boney M.
In the TV show he was replaced by a boy with a drum.
The second single “Zion’s Daughter” (Handel’s reworked organ hymn of the 18th century Handel “Tochter Zion”) will be released by Christmas next 1982 with a new soloist.
As expected, the Christmas album was much more successful than its predecessor, and in 1983 he received platinum.
This was the band’s last album, released by the British label Atlantic Records, which shortly after the failure with “Boonoonoonoos” broke the contract with Boney M ..
In most biographies of Boney M. it is written that on the islands of the Caribbean “boonoonoonoos” means “happiness.”
In fact, in the language of ja, which is an integral part of Jamaican rasta culture, “boonoonoonoos” means “excellent.”
The theme of Christmas was actively exploited by Boney M. and in the 80s, the “Christmas album” was repeatedly reissued under the titles:
«Die 20 schönsten Weihnachtslieder der Welt»,
“The 20 Greatest Christmas Songs”
“The Most Beautiful Christmas Songs of the World”
“A Wonderful Christmas Time” and