Milli Vanilli: The First Album

The first Milli Vanilli album was released in Europe in November, 1988, titled All Or Nothing. For the US release, titled Girl You Know It's True, several of the tracks were replaced or remixed.

In typical Milli Vanilli fashion, it seems that the project had meddling input from virtually everyone except Rob and Fab themselves, and was subject to tinkering even after its release. The track order on the US CD is out of sequence with the listing printed on its cover art. A few of the writers' credits are inconsistent with what is listed in external sources. The song "I'm Gonna Miss You" was retitled as "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" when it was released as a single. Some of the CD's track times are way off, showing the presence of different mixes at the record company, and a few times printed on the CD even differ from what's printed on the LP labels. The song "Girl You Know It's True" shows up in five different edits throughout their first three CDs. And the topper: for the original European release of the album, the names Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan aren't listed anywhere at all! Their pictures appear on the front and back of the album, but they aren't credited with doing a single thing.

The decision to replace some of the tracks for the US release was made by Arista Records president Clive Davis. He removed all three songs written by Toby Gad and Jens Gad (that's just mean!), plus a few others including a pointless remake of Boney M's "Ma Baker" (a late '70s Frank Farian production). For the US release, he added tracks by E. Phillips (I don't know who E. Phillips is), Simon Climie and Rob Fisher of the duo Climie Fisher (they recorded two terrific albums for Captiol in the late '80s), hit factory Diane Warren, and a remake of the Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing".

All of the information shown below is taken from the CDs themselves, except where indicated in brackets.

Note that there are at least three confirmed versions of the US "Girl" CD, and it may be hard to tell which you have just by looking at them. 4 of the 10 tracks are different: "Baby Don't Forget My Number" (appearing originally in a 6:28 version, then edited down to 4:16), "More Than You'll Ever Know" (originally 4:00, later 4:32), "Take It As It Comes" (originally 3:41, later 4:15), and "I'm Gonna Miss you (originally 3:57, finally 4:24). The original pressing has "11591-1" in the inner metallic ring; another has "11591-4", and I'm going to assume that there are "-2" and "-3" somewhere out there. The "-1" version is 44:08, the "-4" is 43:29, and one other that I have that's a record club pressing is 43:01. (Thanks to Rod Escue for this info.)

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


Milli Vanilli - All Or Nothing

[original European release, 1988]
Carrere 96628, 1988 [My copy is from France]

  1. Can't You Feel My Love
    Written by T. Gad/J. Gad
    Published by FAR
    printed 3:34, actual 3:31   105.1 BPM
    [dropped from US release of Girl You Know It's True, included on US release of The Remix Album, turned up as B-side of US single "Megamix"]

  2. Boy In The Tree
    Written by T. Gad/J. Gad
    Published by FAR
    printed 3:28, actual 3:11   102.0 BPM
    [dropped from US release of Girl You Know It's True, included on US release of The Remix Album]

  3. Money
    Written by F. Farian/M. Newman/K. Saka
    Published by FAR
    printed 6:35, actual 4:09   124.4 BPM
    [dropped from US release of Girl You Know It's True, included on US release of The Remix Album]

  4. Dance With A Devil
    Written by F. Farian/P.G. Wilder/M. Newman/J. Collins
    Published by FAR
    printed 3:09, actual 3:12   103.0 BPM
    [dropped from US release of Girl You Know It's True, turned up as B-side of US single "Blame It On The Rain"]

  5. I'm Gonna Miss You
    Written by F. Farian/D. Kawohl/P. Bishoph
    Published by FAR
    printed 4:10, actual 3:59   75.7 BPM
    [retitled as "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" for single]

  6. All Or Nothing
    Written by F. Farian/P.G. Wilder/B. Nail
    Published by FAR
    printed 3:02, actual 3:23   100.7 BPM

  7. Baby Don't Forget My Number
    Written by F. Farian/B. Nail
    Published by FAR
    printed 3:54, actual 4:09   100.5 BPM

  8. Dreams To Remember
    Written by F. Farian/D. Kawohl/M. Applegate
    Published by FAR
    printed 4:12, actual 3:56   105.4 BPM

  9. Is It Love
    Written by T. Gad/J. Gad
    Published by FAR
    printed 3:21, actual 3:22   80.7 BPM
    [dropped from US release of Girl You Know It's True]

  10. Ma Baker
    Written by F. Farian/F. Jay/Reyam
    Published by FAR
    printed 4:22, actual 4:27   97.0 BPM
    [dropped from US release of Girl You Know It's True]

  11. Girl You Know It's True (Maxi Version - Super Club Mix)
    Written by B. Pettaway, Jr./S. Spencer/K. Lyles/R. Hollaman/K. Adeyemo
    Published by Mikulski
    printed 7:35, actual 8:48   97.8 BPM

  12. Too Much Monkey Business (Maxi Version - Bonus Track)
    Written by F. Farian/B. Nail
    Published by FAR
    printed 1:48, actual 1:48   109.8 BPM
    [dropped from US release of Girl You Know It's True, included on US release of The Remix Album, turned up as B-side of US single "Baby Don't Forget My Number"]

Keyboards: P.G. Wilder, Toby Gad, Pit Loew, Volker Barber
Guitars: Peter Weihe, Jens Gad
Drums: Curt Cress
Sax: Mel Collins
Horns: D. Solera, F. Civitareale, F. Weyerer
Vocals: Brothers of Soul, Rob and Fab
Backing Vocals: Jodie and Linda Rocco, Felicia Taylor, The Jackson Singers, Charles Shaw, Herbert Gebhard, Bimey Oberreit, Peter Rishavy
All arrangements by: P.G. Wilder, Pit Loew, Toby Gad, Jens Gad
Horn arrangements by: Dino Solera
Engineered by: Tobias Freund, Bernd Berwanger, Norbert Janicke, Jens Seekamp
Production coordination by: Ingrid Segieth
Photos by: Esser and Strauss
Styling by: Mago-Design
Cover: Hans Wegner

Recorded and mixed at Far Studios

Produced by Frank Farian for Far Music-Production 10/88

Cover art: Front | Notes 1 | Notes 2 | Notes 3 | Back | CD


A review of All Or Nothing from the All Music Guide, written by Stephen Thomas Erlewine:

AMG Expert Review:  Trivia time. Milli Vanilli's first album was never released in its original incarnation in America. That album was called All or Nothing, and the bulk of it was used as the basis for the smash-hit American album Girl You Know It's True. Its title was also used for the 1990 effort The Remix Album, which went gold in the U.S. -- proof positive that Milli Vanilli was really a phenomenon. So, there was a bit of confusion, since both All or Nothing and Girl You Know It's True looked like variations on the same album, which was kind of true and kind of not. Either way, Girl was a stronger album, better sequenced and boasting a better set of songs. All or Nothing does have four of the big hits -- "Baby Don't Forget My Number," "Girl You Know It's True," "I'm Gonna Miss You," and, of course, the title track (all Top Five U.S. singles, by the way) -- but it's missing the fine Diane Warren ballad "Blame It on the Rain," which was the key ingredient that sent this set of trashy Eurodisco into the American stratosphere. The album cuts here tend to emphasize that Eurotrash side of the group -- the schlock Americana gangster fantasy "Ma Baker," the mechanical dance reworking of Deep Purple's "Hush" that strips out almost all the hooks, the plain weird imagery of the featherweight "Boy in the Tree" -- which may have given away the game if included on the American effort. All of this makes All or Nothing a more interesting and funnier set than its U.S. counterpart, but it's not as much fun, since it indulges in the worse tendencies of Europop. Unlike the U.S. audience, which really values a knockout hook, Europop fans don't always mind when style overrides structure, so there are many cuts where the beat takes prominence over the melody, and there are other parts that really drag underneath the robotic beats. But these are the very reasons why All or Nothing is worth listening to in light of the lip-synching scandal that happened. In this context, the hits sound like classic Euro-dance cuts, where it just doesn't matter who is singing or not -- all that matters is the sound. So, no, it's not as good an album as the reshuffled and restructured Girl You Know It's True, but this is where you can hear the roots of the scandal that later toppled frontmen Rob and Fab. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


Milli Vanilli - Girl You Know It's True

[US release, 1989]
Arista ARCD-8592, 1989

  1. Girl You Know It's True
    Written by B. Pettaway, Jr., S. Spencer, K. Lyles, R. Hollaman, K. Adeyemo
    Published by MCA Music Publishing, A Division of MCA Music Inc. (ASCAP), Adekayode Music (BMI)
    printed 4:12, actual 4:13   97.8 BPM

  2. Baby Don't Forget My Number
    Written by F. Farian, B. Nail
    Published by FMP Songs Ed. Intro
    printed 6:26, actual 4:16   100.6 BPM
    Note: On some pressings, the actual play time is 6:28.

  3. More Than You'll Ever Know
    Written by E. Phillips
    Published by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp., Eleksylum Music, Inc., Philesto Music Co. (BMI)
    printed 3:57, actual 4:32   104.2 BPM
    Note: On some pressings, the actual play time is 4:00.
    [not originally on European release of All Or Nothing]

  4. Blame It On The Rain
    Written by D. Warren
    Published by Realsongs (ASCAP)
    printed 4:26, actual 4:19   95.0 BPM
    [not originally on European release of All Or Nothing]

  5. Take It As It Comes
    Written by S. Climie, R. Fisher, D. Morgan
    Published by Rare Blue Music Inc. (ASCAP), Almo Music Corp. (ASCAP), Little Shop Of Mogansongs (BMI)
    printed 3:48, actual 4:15   105.2 BPM
    Note: On some pressings, the actual play time is 3:41.
    [not originally on European release of All Or Nothing]

  6. It's Your Thing
    Written by Ru. Isley, Ro. Isley, O. Isley
    Published by SBK Blackwood Music Inc., Triple Three Music (BMI)
    printed 3:54, actual 3:51   95.1 BPM
    [not originally on European release of All Or Nothing]

  7. Dreams To Remember
    Written by F. Farian, D. Kawohl, M. Applegate
    Published by FMP Songs Ed. Intro
    printed 3:53, actual 3:54   105.6 BPM

  8. All Or Nothing
    Written by F. Farian, P.G. Wilder, B. Nail
    Published by FMP Songs Ed. Intro
    printed 3:15; actual 3:17   101.0 BPM

  9. I'm Gonna Miss You
    Written by F. Farian, D. Kawohl, P. Bishoph
    Published by FMP Songs Ed. Intro
    printed 3:57; actual 3:57   75.7 BPM
    [retitled as "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" for single]

  10. Girl You Know It's True (N.Y. Subway Extended Mix)
    Written by B. Pettaway, Jr., S. Spencer, K. Lyles, R. Hollaman, K. Adeyemo
    Published by MCA Music Publishing, A Division of MCA Music Inc. (ASCAP), Adekayode Music (BMI)
    printed 6:27, actual 6:27   97.8 BPM

Keyboards: P.G. Wilder, Pit Loew, Volker Barber
Guitars: Peter Weihe, Jens Gad, Bruce Ingram
Drums: Curt Cress
Sax: Mel Collins
Horns: D. Solera, F. Civitareale, F. Weyerer
Vocals: Brothers of Soul, Rob and Fab
Backing Vocals: Jodie and Linda Rocco, Joan Faulkner, Felicia Taylor, The Jackson Singers; John Davis, Charles Shaw, Herbert Gebhard, Bimey Oberreit, Peter Rishavy

All arrangements by P.G. Wilder and Pit Loew
Horn arrangements by Dino Solera

Engineered by Tobias Freund, Bernd Berwanger, Norbert Janicke, Jens Seekamp
Production coordination by Ingrid Segieth

Recorded and mixed at Far Studios, Germany

Produced by Frank Farian for Far Music Production

Milli Vanilli is:
Rob Pilatus
Fabrice Morvan

Design: Marlene Cohen
Photography: Paul Cox (Front)
M. Esser and H. Strauss (Back)

Cover art: Front | Notes 1 | Notes 2 | Notes 3 | Back | CD | LP A side | LP B side

CD track times for the various pressings of Girl You Know It's True
(If you have one that's not listed here, please send me info.)

Matrix number: "-1" "-2" "-3" "-4"
Girl You Know It's True 4:12.7 4:13.1 4:12.7 4:12.7
Baby Don't Forget My Number 6:28.3 4:16.6 4:16.6 4:16.6
More Than You'll Ever Know 4:00.1 4:32.1 4:32.1 4:32.1
Blame It On The Rain 4:19.3 4:19.2 4:19.2 4:19.2
Take It As It Comes 3:41.6 4:15.4 4:15.4 4:15.4
It's Your Thing 3:51.4 3:51.4 3:51.4 3:51.5
Dreams To Remember 3:54.5 3:54.5 3:54.5 3:54.5
All Or Nothing 3:17.1 3:17.1 3:17.1 3:17.1
I'm Gonna Miss You 3:57.6 3:57.6 3:57.6 4:24.3
Girl You Know It's True (N.Y. Subway Extended Mix) 6:29.2 6:27.5 6:29.3 6:29.3
Total CD playing time: 44:15 43:09 43:09 43:36

A review of Girl You Know It's True from the All Music Guide, written by Stephen Thomas Erlewine:

AMG Expert Review:  A wise man, perhaps Giorgio Moroder (or maybe PT Barnum -- they all run together after awhile), once said that it was possible to fool all the people all the time (or words to that effect), and if he was around in 1990, he would have used Milli Vanilli's multi-platinum, Grammy-winning, number one debut album Girl You Know It's True as proof. Hell, anybody would use Girl You Know It's True as proof, since the pretty boys that purported to be Milli Vanilli -- that would be Rob and Fab, the good-looking, ridiculously dread-locked models on the cover -- didn't sing on the records. They weren't in the studio during recording, either; they just came in for photo sessions, videos, concerts, and award ceremonies. Anytime Milli Vanilli had to be before the cameras, there they were, since producer/songwriter/musician/all-around mastermind and mad genius Frank Farian knew damn well that nobody would want to buy the record after seeing him or the middle-aged studio vocalists that sang on the records. So, he did what any self-respecting Euro-dance producer would do -- made his record the best he could, then got somebody to act as frontmen.

Farian wasn't doing something unprecedented here, since there have been many acts throughout Europop history that either didn't sing or didn't sing well, they were just figureheads. The problem is, he did this at a time when acts were more visible than they ever were. Ironically, at the end of the '80s, MTV changed the rules for mainstream pop, putting the emphasis on image and overall package, to the extent that major artists lip-synched in concert so they could deliver better dance routines. So, it really wasn't that extreme to have a group with two faces -- one to make the music, one to market it. And, face it, the fluffy dance-pop and slick ballads on Girl You Know It's True were of its time, hardly far removed from that of such peers as Paula Abdul, Debbie Gibson, or even the more substantive Janet Jackson. Audiences enjoyed the sound and the look, the entire package of Milli Vanilli. Until they found out that Rob and Fab weren't really singing, that is.

Sometime after Milli Vanilli unbelievably won the Grammy for Best New Artist -- really, who voted in all seriousness for Europop this silly as Best New Artist -- Rob and Fab got a little pompous, so some journalists decided to take them down a peg, discovering that the duo were simply models. As soon as the news spread, America was shocked -- shocked, I tell you, shocked! -- that those pretty German boys weren't actually soulfully singing in flawless English on those impeccably constructed dance tracks, and immediately shunned the duo, burning the records in some cases. Which is sort of like gazing longingly at a Playboy centerfold and then being so horrified when you learn the photo is airbrushed, you lose all interest in sex. The fact is, with dance-pop (especially Euro-dance!), just like Playboy, artificiality is the name of the game, and that's what is good about it. It's the distinguishing characteristic, its identity, the core of it's being. On that level, it's hard not to listen to Girl You Know It's True and marvel at the level of Farian's studiocraft, since it doesn't even sound like he programmed a computer to make this music; it sounds like something the machine wrote on its own accord. There are no natural sounds or human emotions on this record, just a bunch of shiny hooks and big beats, all processed and precisely assembled to be totally irresistible to a mass audience. And it was massively popular, no matter how many people denied owning the record after the news spread. And why shouldn't it have been? The height of the Bush era was a weird, giddy time, when the mainstream was filled with effervescent, transient pop, and nothing sums up that era as well as Girl You Know It's True. This isn't just music that's all surface, this is music that gives the impression of having a surface, then not delivering on that. It's thin as a ribbon, the beats are fairly clunky, the hooks are huge and stupid (apart from Diane Warren's "Blame It on the Rain," which is the only classically constructed song on the album), and, ultimately, really dorky. But what makes it fascinating is that it's unrestrained, unhinged dorkiness, music that is completely awkward and sort of fun and memorable because of it. No, there's not much here worth hearing outside of the five -- count 'em, five! -- Top Five singles, but it ultimately holds up better than the European counterpart, All or Nothing, which was padded with goofy Eurotrash fodder. And, years after the lip-synching hubbub, it's hard to imagine why there was such a fuss about an album so transparent, lightweight, and intentionally disposable. Then again, listening to it now, you can't believe that anyone thought Rob and Fab were really singing, since not only don't the voices not match the picture on the cover, but they don't match any picture at all. But when it comes down to it, this music is so manufactured, it doesn't sound like anyone is really singing. And that's what's sort of cool about it. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine