August 15th, 2020

meow, cat, Siamese, catty

The Milli Vanilli Scandal

It's amazing to think that this event is before an entire generation's time. Almost two generations, in fact. It will soon be thirty years since the news broke that the two men who were the face of Milli Vanilli were not in fact the actual singers. They had to return their Grammy Award in disgrace, and while they tried to make a comeback actually singing their own songs, it never quite worked out for them.

I still remember how disillusioned a lot of young people were to discover the truth. Many of them had bought those albums with their own money, whether from a parental allowance or earnings from an after-school job, and they felt betrayed to discover they'd scrimped and saved to buy what was effectively a fake. More than a few swore off buying new pop music and vowed to explore the classic rock of their parents' generation as groups that had stood the test of time, name-checking such well-known bands as The Doors and the Rolling Stones.

Reading the account of how they were outed as fakes (a detail I'd forgotten), I realized that the revealing malfunction is far less likely to happen in today's digital world than in the days when actual magnetic tape was still used, and could jam in the playback mechanism. Nowadays it's possible that a digital file could become corrupted and not play correctly, but it's far more likely that it would just stop, rather than catching and repeating.