Milli Vanilli: Baby Don't Forget My Number

WRITERS: Frank Farian, Roger Dalton, Brad Howell ["B. Nail" listed on label], Franz Reuter (Bernd Berwanger listed in yet another reference)
PRODUCER: Frank Farian
TIME: 4:01
Arista AS1-9832 (12-inch version also available, Arista AD1-9833)

WRITERS: Farian, Milli Vanilli, Ruloffs, Nail
PRODUCER: Frank Farian
TIME: 3:22

Debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on April 29, 1989 and peaked at #1 on July 1, 1989.

Here is the complete chart run on the Hot 100: 62, 49, 42, 30, 22, 15, 12, 6, 4, 1, 2, 5, 10, 17, 27, 32, 38, 48, 61, 72, 87

British single (Cooltempo COOL 178) debuted on the UK pop charts on December 17, 1988 and peaked at #16 on January 28, 1989.

German single entered the charts on December 22, 1988 and peaked at #9, spending 9 weeks in the top 20.

Review from April 29, 1989 Billboard magazine under "Pop Picks", sharing page space with John Cougar Mellencamp's "Pop Singer", Donna Summer's "This Time I Know It's For Real", Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down", the Bangles' "Be With You", and Elvis Costello's "Veronica", among others:

Second pop/rap offering from the duo is unashamedly "Girl You Know It's True" part two.

The complete entry in Fred Bronson's The Billboard Book Of Number One Hits (1997, Billboard Books):

Rob Pilatus grew up in Munich. He was the son of a German strip-tease dancer and a black American soldier, but was given up for adoption and raised by a German couple. He worked as a DJ and a model, and gained notoriety as a breakdancer. He was good enough to be invited to an international breakdancing competition in New York in 1984.

Fabrice Morvan was born on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe in the West Indies. His parents emigrated to Miami, and when his mother moved to Paris, Fab attended school there and excelled in athletics. He was training for a national trampoline competition when he injured his neck. Hearing that ballet was good exercise, Fab went to Los Angeles to attend classes. He loved to visit dance clubs at night, and on one particular occasion, met another black European who was visiting Los Angeles - Pilatus. Rob and Fab struck up a friendship and ended up back in Munich, where they earned money by appearing in videos and working in a local post office.

On January 1, 1988, Pilatus and Morvan accepted an invitation from German record producer Frank Farian to visit his studio in Frankfurt and hear a demo he had recorded of a song called "Girl You Know It's True." Farian was well-known in Europe for producing Boney M, a West Indies quartet that scored nine top 10 singles in England. (In America, Boney M only managed four chart singles; the most successful was "Rivers Of Babylon," which peaked at number 30 in August, 1978.)

"We got a call to come to his studio and we said, 'All right, that's it,'" Rob told Chuck Philips of the Los Angeles Times. "We were just dumb little kids, so we said, 'Let's go.' When we got to the studio, 'Girl You Know It's True' was just a demo and he asked us our opinion of it and if we could sing it and we said, 'Yeah, we could sing it.' And he said, 'Oh beautiful, I believe it, but next week we have shows to do, so don't worry, I'll make you into a millionaire.'"

"Girl You Know It's True" was included on the first Milli Vanilli album released in Europe. Issued on a small label, the LP was picked up by Arista for distribution in the United States. By the time "Girl You Know It's True" was released as a single in America, it had already been number three on the U.K. chart.

The song was actually a cover version. It was written by Bill Pettaway, a gas-station attendant from Annapolis, Maryland, along with Sean Spencer, Kevin Lyles, Rodney Holloman, and Ky Adeyemo. They recorded "Girl You Know It's True" as Numarx, and released it on Studio Records. It was distributed in Germany, and became popular there in dance clubs.

"Girl You Know It's True" established the Milli Vanilli name in America. The single went to number two on the Hot 100, peaking the week of April 1, 1989. Four weeks later, "Baby Don't Forget My Number" debuted at number 62; in its 10th week on the chart, it surpassed the first single by going to number one.

Milli Vanilli were not on the charts very long before the rumors started. In the fall of 1989, an American singer from Dallas named Charles Shaw told the media that he had sung the lead vocals on "Girl You Know It's True." He repeated the charges in an interview with New York's Newsday, and said that Rob and Fab were hired only for their looks.

Eight days later, Shaw retracted his statement. He issued a new one: "My manager, Mr. Andreas Glaner, was of the opinion that it would be a good public-relations gag for my new record if I declared that I sang the lead." Rob reacted to Jeff Giles of Rolling Stone: "Everybody ask me if I sing on this record. Even my mother ask me. I am very proud person, and this is embarrassing. Fabrice and I - I think we are big talents. We can sing as good as any other pop star in the top 10. But I have to go through this again and again, till I get cancer in my stomach and die."

Still the rumors would not go away.

Picture sleeve front (weak!) | Picture sleeve back (weaker!) | Label front | Label back

Sheet music: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Here's a rather large picture of the full US CD with two promo CD singles.