1975 – “Baby, Do You Wanna Bump”
In December 1974 Frank Farian had been in the Europa Sound Studio for around 6 weeks working on a new recording.
Frank Farian was at that time a German schlager singer who produced his own material which was released on the Hansa label.
He had limited success as a schlager singer and wanted to try something different. During the 6 weeks in the studio, he had been working on a new track which had been given the working-title: “The Bump”.
“The Bump” was very different to the previous material Frank Farian had recorded. It was a pure disco track. Frank sang all the vocals on the recording, also the so called “girl vocals”.
During the work on the track the title was changed to “Baby, Do You Wanna Bump”. Frank took the recording to Hansa. They liked it and wanted to release the track. However, Frank didn’t want the single to be released as a Frank Farian single as he was a schlager artist and couldn’t see himself promote “Baby, Do You Wanna Bump”.
Therefore, he came up with the name “Boney M.” after seeing an Australian TV-series on German TV where there was a guy called “Boney”. Frank liked the “Boney”-thing and started to play around with the name in his head saying: “Boney, Boney, Boney, Boney…. Boney M.!” He then had found the name for his new project.
“Baby, Do You Wanna Bump” was released as the first Boney M. single in February 1975.
Frank didn’t really think more about the project until the track suddenly entered the Dutch charts in the last part of 1975. He then got a call from a Dutch TV-station that wanted Boney M. to come and perform the track on TV. Suddenly Frank found himself having a problem. He couldn’t show up as Boney M. and perform the track on TV, as he was known as a schlager singer!
Frank then got the idea to find 4 black, beautiful and talented singers who should promote the single as Boney M. At the same time, he realized that Boney M. could be more than only “Baby, Do You Wanna Bump”. He started to get a lot of creative ideas regarding his new project.
And in early 1976 he had the Boney M. lineup he wanted and was ready for further studio work with the new group.
1976 – “Daddy Cool”, “Sunny” and “Take The Heat Off Me”
In early 1976 the line-up was complete. Maizie Williams, Bobby Farrell, Marcia Barrett and Liz Mitchell were literally put together – none of them knowing that huge success was just around the corner.
Maizie was the first member to be recruited for the group – as early as in 1975. At one point it seemed as if the final formation already had been found. Maizie was together with Marcia, Bobby and Claudja Barry promoting Farian’s “Baby Do you Wanna Bump”. However, before the group hit the recording studio Claudja Barry left the group to start a solo career which mainly gained her success in Canada.
Farian had already the next steps planned now he had found the line-up he had been looking for. Soon the group would enter the recording studio to record their first album which would be entitled “Take The Heat Off Me” and released in June.
“Daddy Cool” would be the first single to be lifted from the debut album backed with “No Women No Cry”.
In some countries such as e.g., U.S.A, Canada and Japan “Daddy Cool” was backed with “Lovin’ Or Leavin'” instead. Probably one of the best tracks on the album. “Daddy Cool” was released in Germany on 31st May.
“Daddy Cool/No Women No Cry” had a slow start in the German single chart. It entered no. 1 three and a half month after it was released – on 13th September. It stayed at no. 1 for a week when it was knocked of the no. 1 spot by ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”.
However “Dancing Queen” would after one week only be knocked off the no. 1 spot by “Daddy Cool”. According to Boney M.’s record company the returning to the no. 1 spot was mainly caused by Boney M.’s appearance in Musikladen. Musikladen could be described as the German answer to the English show Top Of The Pop from BBC.
The single started to sell 100.000 copies a week in Germany and in its second run at the top spot it stayed there for nine weeks in a row.
Then the single was knocked off the top spot by David Dundas’ “Jeans On”. After one week “Daddy Cool” would however enter the no. 1 sport once again for the third time. It stayed there for one week and was knocked off by ABBA’s “Money Money Money”.
All together “Daddy Cool” stayed 34 weeks in the German single chart. 22 weeks in the top 10 and 12 weeks at the no. 1 spot and achieved gold status and became the 17th bestselling single of the year in Germany!
After having a slow start – when looking at the sale figures – the album “Take The Heat Off Me” started to sell in Germany after “Daddy Cool” hit the big time. The album went on to become a Top 10 success reaching no. 2 in the German album chart. It stayed in the top 10 for 24 weeks and had a total run of 56 weeks in the chart.
It wasn’t only in Germany things started to happen. In many other European countries “Daddy Cool” would become a huge smash hit as well. In some countries “Daddy Cool” would first hit the charts in early 1977.
Denmark was one of the first European countries where “Daddy Cool” became a smash hit after Germany. “Daddy Cool” went gold in Denmark – selling 80.000 copies – and the album “Take The Heat Off Me” was also an instant success reaching the Top 20 position in the year end chart of 1976.
In November “Sunny” was issued as a single backed with the non-album track “New York City”.
“Sunny” also turned out to be another smash hit for Boney M. It reached the no. 1 position in the German single chart in early 1977 and just like “Daddy Cool” it went on to become a world-wide hit for Boney M.
Boney M. had by the end of 1976 become a very successful act, but no one knew that 1977 would turn out to become even more successful for the group.
1977 – “Ma Baker”, “Belfast” and “Love For Sale”
Preparing the follow-up album to their debut album “Take The Heat Off Me” had already begun in late 1976. Due to the sexy album cover of “Take The Heat Off Me” the German magazine “Neue Illustrierte Revuee” requested a photo session with Boney M. for their magazine which they would like to be even more daring and sexy. Didi Zill took the photos and it ended up featuring Liz, Marcia and Maizie in chains while Bobby was standing behind them. A photo from the session was featured in “Neue Illustrierte Revuee” in October 1976. The photo session was at first intended as a photo session for the magazine/yellow press and not for an album cover. That however changed and a photo from the session was used for the “Love For Sale” cover.
With a new LP and a new single planned for release in May a live tour was put together because of the demanding public and for promotional use – of course.
The “Take The Heat Off Me” tour was a tour with 6 dates. One date in Germany and 5 dates in Denmark. On the 6th March Boney M. played their first live date including a live band and backing singers in Vechta (Germany). From the 22nd March to 26th March Boney M. visited Aarhus, Aabenraa, Copenhagen, Holstebro and Svendborg in Denmark. The “Take The Heat Off Me” tour could be described as a set of warmup dates to the forthcoming “Love For Sale” tour.
A break was then taken to complete the new LP. At the same time Boney M. rehearsed their brand-new live show – “Love For Sale” – that would premiere on the 13th April in Siegen (Germany). The new live show would be an extremely colorful experience with special designed costumes that literally would make people turn their heads.
In May – during the first part of the “Love For Sale” tour – the new Boney M. album with the same title and the new single “Ma Baker” were released.
“Ma Baker” was backed with “Still I’m Sad” and would turn out to be the Summer hit of 1977 together with Baccara’s “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie”. In some countries such as e.g., U.S.A., Canada, Japan, France and Spain “Ma Baker” would be issued with “A Woman Can Change A Man” as flip-side.
A third no. 1 single was in sight for Boney M. in Germany. “Ma Baker” entered the no. 1 position on 13th June and stayed there for 3 weeks when it was knocked off by Baccara’s Summer hit. It spent 28 weeks in the German chart with 15 weeks in the Top 10.
“Love For Sale” was the first Boney M. LP that went to no. 1 in the German album chart. The LP became an instant success in all of Europe and many other countries outside Europe. Like “Take The Heat Off Me” the new LP went to sell over 100.000 copies in Denmark. A very high figure at that time meaning that both LP’s achieved platinum in Denmark. In Germany “Love For Sale” entered the no. 1 position on 1st August. It stayed at no. 1 for 6 weeks and had a total of 16 weeks in the Top 10. In total “Love For Sale” stayed 62 weeks in the German album chart.
In some countries the cover of the “Love For Sale” LP was found a bit too erotic and the LP would be released with a completely different cover, so it wouldn’t offend the record buying public.
It’s true that the original cover for “Love For Sale” is quite erotic, but the cover is actually very stylish and did fit the title of the LP as well as helping shifting some extra units. The cover of the LP is today regarded as art. The same goes for the cover of the ’76 album “Take The Heat Off Me”.
In the second half of 1977 Boney M. would go on tour once again. This time the tour would take them to Spain, Italy, Scandinavia (with a concert in Copenhagen), Germany (where 17 cities were visited), Austria, England, Benelux and Switzerland.
A second single was released from “Love For Sale” on 19th September. The single was entitled “Belfast” and backed with another track from the LP called “Plantation Boy”. With this single release Boney M. achieved their fourth no. 1 single in Germany in a row.
“Belfast” entered the chart on 3rd October at no. 29 and had its first week at no. 1 on 24th October. It would remain at the top spot for 4 weeks and spent a total of 27 weeks in the chart. The track had originally been written especially for Marcia Barrett when she was touring with her solo-shows prior to Boney M.
In the U.K. “Belfast” was Boney M.’s fourth Top 10 single and was said to be the single that proved that Boney M. was here to stay. That was caused by the fact that the single didn’t achieve much airplay in England due to its lyrics and the conflict in Ireland. The single went however to no. 8 in England and was the first Boney M. single in Ireland to enter no. 1.
“Love For Sale” was the 6th bestselling LP in Denmark of 1977 (year-end chart) while “Take The Heat Off Me” was the 10th bestselling LP of the year.
1978 – “Rivers Of Babylon”, “Rasputin”, “Mary’s Boy Child/Oh My Lord” and “Nightflight To Venus”
The track “Love For Sale” was planned to be released as a single in early in 1978 backed with “Gloria, Can You Waddle”. The single was even given a catalogue number and featured on various promotion material but would never happen.
Instead, the first single release of 1978 would be “Rivers Of Babylon” backed with “Brown Girl In The Ring”. Both tracks from their forthcoming LP “Nightflight To Venus”.
“Rivers Of Babylon” was released in Germany on 3rd April and was an instant runaway hit. Not only in Germany but all over Europe and the rest of the world as well – except from U.S.A where in “only” went to no. 30 in the single chart. It would turn out to be their biggest hit in U.S.A.
The single entered the German single chart on 17th April at the no. 2 position. The following week (24th April) the single hit the no. 1 position in the German single chart where it would stay for an amazing 16 weeks. It was then knocked of the pole position by Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta’s Grease hit “You Are The One I Want”. After the Grease hit had spent one week at no. 1 “Rivers Of Babylon” re-entered the pole position for one week. “Rivers Of Babylon” was of course the summer single of the year. In Denmark the single was a huge hit as well and went gold.
The Boney M. LP that year – “Nightflight To Venus” – was released in Germany on 26th June and turned out to be another smash hit for Boney M. The LP entered the German album chart on 15th July at no. 2 and went the following week (1st August) to no. 1 and became the 7th bestselling LP in Germany that year (year end chart) while “Love For Sale” was the 40th bestselling LP of 1978. “Nightflight To Venus” stayed at no. 1 for 9 weeks and had a total of 28 weeks in the Top 10. In total “Nightflight To Venus” stayed 58 weeks in the German album chart.
In Denmark “Nightflight To Venus” was also another smash for Boney M. as in any other part of the world. It sold 200.000 copies in Denmark and was awarded double platinum. The LP was the 2nd bestselling LP of the year (year-end chart) while “Love For Sale” was the 49th bestselling LP of the year.
Once again Boney M. went on a huge tour in 1978 taking them to no less than 13 countries. The countries were: Far East, Switzerland, Austria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Germany, Luxembourg, Holland, France, Kenya, Ireland, England and not to forget the USSR in December.
Boney M. was the first ever Western pop-group that was invited to USSR. It was actually Russia’s leader Lenoid Brezhnev who invited the group. The group did 10 live concerts in 6 days and was without doubt the biggest event in USSR that year.
However, the group was not allowed to perform their 2nd single release “Rasputin” from “Nightflight To Venus” due to its lyrics.
“Rasputin” was released as a single in Germany on 28th August. It entered the German single chart on the 4th September at no. 49. The following week (11th September) it was at no. 16. On the third week (18th September) it went to no. 2 where it stayed for 3 weeks before going to no. 1 for one week on 9th October. The single was another smash for Boney M. all round the world. In Germany and a few other European countries, it was backed with “Painter Man” while more or less all other countries went for “Never Change Lovers In The Middle Of The Night” as B-side. An outstanding track from “Nightflight To Venus” that would become a live favorite.
With “Rivers Of Babylon” Boney M. had scored a single hit that broke record sales in most countries and became the bestselling single ever in many places. It was hard to image that the group would be able to score another hit of the same caliber the same year.
However, it happened once again at the end of the year. Another world hit was just around the corner and once again Boney M. broke record sales in most countries. It wasn’t just another hit – it was THE Christmas record of the year.
In England the single was no. 1 for 4 weeks and in Denmark “Mary’s Boy Child – Oh My Lord” was the first single ever to be achieving platinum status.
Today Boney M. is listed for having two of the bestselling singles ever in England: “Rivers Of Babylon” and “Mary’s Boy Child – Oh My Lord”.
1978 was indeed a hot year for Boney M. in England. The singles “Rivers Of Babylon” and “Mary’s Boy Child – Oh My Lord” both went platinum while “Rasputin” went gold. The album “Nightflight To Venus” went platinum and the ’76 LP “Take The Heat Off Me” was awarded silver and the ’77 LP “Love For Sale” was awarded gold during summer time.
1979 – “Hooray! Hooray! It’s A Holi- Holiday”, “El Lute”, “Gotta Go Home”, “Bahama Mama” and “Oceans Of Fantasy”
First single release of the year was “Hooray! Hooray! It’s A Holi- Holiday/Ribbons Of Blue”. In Germany the single was released on 26th March. It entered the German single chart on 9th April at no. 9 where it stayed for 2 weeks before heading to no. 4 where it would stay for 4 weeks. “Hooray! Hooray! It’s A Holi- Holiday” was the first Boney M. single in a row of seven consecutive no. 1’s that didn’t make it to no. 1. However, it wasn’t a sign of that the group’s success was fading. The single was a Top 5 hit reaching no. 4. in Germany and went silver in England reaching no. 2. In Denmark the single achieved gold.
“Hooray! Hooray! It’s A Holi- Holiday” and “Ribbons Of Blue” were both performed by Boney M. in the German youth movie “Disco Fiever” (Disco Fever).
In England it was decided to release another single from the “Nightflight To Venus” LP prior to the “Hooray! Hooray!” single because of the huge success the previous year. “Painter Man/He Was A Steppenwolf” was lifted from the album and released as a single. It was another hit which went to no. 10 in the English single chart and was being awarded silver. The release was limited to England only.
February saw Boney M. doing another sold-out tour in Germany taking Boney M. to 11 German cities. The tour was followed close by Boney M.’s first promotional visit to U.S.A. in March where the group among other TV-shows performed on the very popular Soul Train.
Returning home from U.S.A. the group continued touring. The group was finally coming to Scandinavia in April doing 5 shows in Denmark in three cities. At first only three shows had been planned but due to the huge ticket demand it was decided to add two extra shows. The group took the Scandinavians by storm.
The Scandinavian tour was followed by a tour to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta where the group also was extremely popular. June and July saw the group going to South America on yet another very successful tour. Boney M. also toured Poland that year where they visited the cities Poznan, Krakow, Zabrze and Warszawa. The stadiums in Poland were filled with up to 50.000 people.
In August Boney M. was back in Germany where two tracks from their forthcoming album “Oceans Of Fantasy” were released as a double A-side single: “El Lute/Gotta Go Home”. The single entered the German single chart on 6th August at no. 7 where it stayed for 2 weeks before heading to the no. 1 spot on 20th August. It stayed at the no. 1 spot for 8 weeks in a row and achieved gold. In Denmark the single was of course also another hit and was awarded gold as well.
In England things were about to change on the single market. “Gotta Go Home” was picked to be the A-side and it was the first Boney M. single to miss the Top 10. “Gotta Go Home” peaked just out-side the Top 10 at no. 12. On the 1st October the single was awarded silver in England.
Boney M. played a packed Wembley Arena in London a week before their new album “Oceans Of Fantasy” would be released on 21st September. The group was at this time on tour in England and Ireland. A tour that once again was very successful.
When “Oceans Of Fantasy” was released in England it went straight to no. 1 in the album chart and was awarded gold right away. The LP would go platinum in early 1980.
In Germany the LP entered the album chart on 1st October at no. 8. The following week (8th October) it went to no. 5 before going to no. 1 on 15th October. It stayed at no. 1 for 2 weeks and had a total of 11 weeks in the Top 10. In total “Oceans Of Fantasy” stayed 37 weeks in the German album chart.
“Oceans Of Fantasy” was the fourth official Boney M. album. It was also the first album to include track by track credits. Even though it had been known right from the start that Boney M. was a studio group it was the first time that Marcia, Liz and Frank officially were credited as the vocalists of the group. Many had probably hoped that Maizie and Bobby would be singing on the records no matter what had been said during the years. But since it had been rumored that they didn’t – it didn’t affect the sales of “Oceans Of Fantasy” or the success of the group.
That “Oceans Of Fantasy” would be the first Boney M. LP to include track by track credits was mainly caused by the tensions inside the group and furthermore Bobby had hoped to be singing on the new record. It is said that Farian probably decided to include the credits on the LP because he wanted to show the group that he not only was the producer and mastermind but also a vital part of the vocal sound and this way trying to keep the group checkmate. That may also be the reason why Farian seems a little overexposed on the LP when it comes to the vocals compared to the three earlier LP releases.
In November Boney M. was once again touring through Germany with huge success and made a special appearance at the Royal Variety Show in London and ended the year with a UNICEF concert in London on 31st December.
A second single was released from the “Oceans Of Fantasy” album in Germany in late November. The single featured “I’m Born Again” & “Bahama Mama”. In Germany as well as a few other countries the single was released as a double A-side. “I’m Born Again” was a ballad and a bit different from the previous single releases while “Bahama Mama” was the familiar up-tempo song with the typical Boney M. sound that made people want to dance. Many countries went for “Bahama Mama” as the A-side. The single entered the German single chart on 24th December at no. 49. On 31st December it was at no. 41 and the third week (7th January 1980) at no. 9 before topping at no. 7 the following week. In England it unfortunately only made it to no. 35.
The single marked the end of Boney M.’s success in the English single chart after a very successful period from 1976 to 1979 with 10 hit-singles.
1980 – “I See A Boat On The River”, “Children Of Paradise”, “Felicidad” and “The Magic Of Boney M. (20 Golden Hits)”
Tensions had been growing inside the group during the past year and Liz Mitchell was expecting her first child during Summertime. It was therefore decided to slow down so Marcia, Liz, Maizie and Bobby could spend some time apart and Frank Farian could work on other projects.
While the members spent time apart a compilation album was released. It was called “The Magic Of Boney M. – 20 Golden Hits”. The album included two new tracks called “I See A Boat On The River” and “My Friend Jack”. The new tracks were issued as a single to promote the compilation album.
Just before the group went separate ways to take the needed break “I See A Boat On The River” was recorded for the German TV-show Musikladen. Many places the single was regarded as a double A-side. “I See A Boat On The River” was of the typical Boney M. sound while “My Friend Jack” was a kind of new direction for Boney M.
The single entered the German single chart on 21st April at no 37. The following 2 weeks it was at no. 7 before topping at no. 5 on 12th May. The single stayed in the Top 20 for 12 weeks and had a total run of 25 weeks in the chart. It was also another hit for the group in Denmark going gold. In England “My Friend Jack” was picked as the A-side and unfortunately only made it to no. 57 in April, despite it was promoted with a performance on Top Of The Pops. The sound of “My Friend Jack” was probably a bit too different/alternative to the English record buyers.
However, the disappointing charting of the single in England wasn’t meaning that Boney M. wasn’t successful in the country anymore. “The Magic Of Boney M. – 20 Golden Hits” went to become the groups third no. 1 album in a row. The album achieved platinum in England and was the 35th bestselling album in the Danish year end chart. In Germany the album entered the album chart at no. 3 on 5th May and peaked at no. 2 for 3 weeks with a total of 25 weeks in the chart.
Even though Farian had planned a two-year album-break with Boney M. he quietly had begun working on what would become the group’s 5th LP. At the same time, he was also working on Precious Wilson’s (former member of Eruption) first solo LP “On The Race Track”. An album that would be released later in the year.
While Liz Mitchell was spending time with her husband and their first baby, Marcia Barrett was the only one of the group to be recording in the period. During the period material for an album was written and recorded. Unfortunately, the album was never completed. Two tracks from the sessions called “You” and “I’m Lonely” were released as a single in Germany during 1980. The single would also be released in England and several other countries in 1981.
In late Summer after the group’s long needed break was over a new single called “Children Of Paradise/Gadda-Da-Vida” was released. The single went to no. 11 in the German single chart and was the first Boney M. single in a row of 11 singles not to enter the Top 10. One figure higher and the single would have been in the Top 10. The single entered the single chart on 13th October at. no 68 while going to 47, 12 and 11 the following 3 weeks. The single spent 6 weeks in the Top 20. The group was however still a true-loved and a very popular guest in German TV shows. In England the single went to no. 66 in the single chart.
In December Boney M. appeared on Musikladen where they presented their 3rd single release of the year. The single was called “Felicidad” and was backed with “Strange”. “Strange” was a new style for the group compared to what they had released before and indeed a very nice song. After presenting “Felicidad” on Musikladen the group was presented with silver, gold and platinum records from all around the world. “Felicidad” entered the German single chart on 22nd December at no. 69, the following weeks raising up and down at no. 49, 7, 11, 8, 7, 8, 8, 9, 7, 14, 8 and topping at no. 6 for 2 weeks in March 1981 (with a total of 27 weeks in the chart). The single was yet another hit. The single wasn’t released in England.
1981 – “Malaika”, “We Kill The World (Don’t Kill The World)”, “Boonoonoonoos” and “The Christmas Album”
The music taste among the record buying public had changed and the popularity of disco faded in late 1979/early 1980. It was therefore clear to the group that it had to come up with something new. And the group suddenly did with a very interesting album called “Boonoonoonoos”. “Boonoonoonoos” would not be the only LP release of the year. Around Christmas time the group released their “Christmas Album” – which probably is one of the best Christmas albums ever recorded.
In the end of June their new single “Malaika/Consuela Biaz” entered the German single chart at no. 31. It rose to no. 13 for 2 weeks in July before leaving the chart after 16 weeks on 5th October. “Malaika” was sung in Swahili while “Consuela Biaz” by many is regarded as one of the groups best ballads. It was once again a double A-side single. “Malaika” was performed on the German TV show DISCO while “Consuela Biaz” was performed on Musikladen where it had its TV-premiere on 4th June. The single spent 8 weeks in the Top 20.
The “Boonoonoonoos” album was released in the fall of the year and went to no. 15 in the German album chart. “Boonoonoonoos” entered the chart on 16th November at no. 59 while jumping to its highest position the following week (no. 15). It stayed in the chart for 18 weeks and left the chart on 8th March 1982 at no. 63 but returned 2 weeks later at no. 52 for 1 week. The album shows Boney M. from a new point of view with a new sound that turns out to be very popular among the fans. Even though the LP sold fewer copies compared to the earlier LP releases the LP can be described as a hit almost everywhere in Europe except from England where it didn’t make the chart. In Denmark the LP is yet another hit for the group and turns out to be the 8th bestselling LP in the year end chart.
Second single release from the “Boonoonoonoos” album was “We Kill The World (Don’t Kill The World) /Boonoonoonoos”. The single entered the German Top 50 on 2nd November at no. 43. Then raising to no. 20 and 12 the following 2 weeks. “We Kill The World” stayed in the Top 20 for six weeks and returned for one week to the Top 20 once again (no. 16) on 24th December. It had a total run of 19 weeks on the German single chart and left the chart on 8th March 1982 at no. 65. In England the single entered the Top 40 in the first week of December going to no. 39.
“We Kill The World (Don’t Kill The World)” was doing well many places but because of problems inside the group with Bobby Farrell, Boney M. wasn’t able to promote the single and the new album strong enough. Had they been able to promote the single it would probably have been doing better in England. In South Africa however the single was turning out to be a real smash hit and would turn out to be one of the bestselling singles in S.A. in 1982. The “Boonoonoonoos” album was also extremely popular in S.A.
On 12th December the “Boonoonoonoos” TV-Special “Boney M. – Ein Sound Geht Um Die Welt” was aired in Germany.
Around one month after the release of “Boonoonoonoos” the “Christmas Album” was released. The first single taken form the album was “Little Drummer Boy. “Little Drummer Boy” was backed with a medley of Boney M. hits called “6 Years Of Boney M. Hits (Boney M. On 45)”.
“Little Drummer Boy/6 Years Of Boney M. Hits” went to no. 20 in the German single chart the first week of 1982 – just two weeks after “We Kill The World (Don’t Kill The World)” had left the Top 20 for the second time.
In various countries the “Christmas Album” would first be released at Christmas time in 1982. The album turned out to be a very successful record of the season and also became a true hit in Canada.
Boney M. went for their typical swing-along beat and an outstanding danceable Christmas album was made.
Two years after its release the album had gained the group 6 platinum and 15 gold records around the world.
1982 – “The Carnival Is Over” and “Going Back West”
1982 could surely be described as a quiet year compared to the period 1975 – 1981. After a troubled period with Bobby, Frank Farian decided to fire him in late 1981. According to many sources it was because of Bobby’s unfortunate behavior inside the group.
Farian found a replacement for Bobby through the Hansa department in London. The new male member of Boney M. was called Reggie Tsiboe and was a singer from Ghana.
One of the differences between Bobby and Reggie was that Reggie was a multitalented singer/songwriter. He would therefore also be a part of the recording team. Even though Frank Farian now had found a very talented singer, who was used on many recordings between 1982 – 1985, Frank Farian also decided to keep on using his own vocals on several recordings.
One of the first singles of 1982 was a re-packing of the Christmas single “Little Drummer Boy/6 Years Of Boney M. Hits”, where “6 Years Of Boney M. Hits” was turned into the A-side. In Japan “6 Years Of Boney M. Hits” was released with “Sad Movies” as B-side.
”The Carnival Is Over/Going Back West” was the only new single consisting of new material in 1982.
Reggie Tsiboe was introduced to the public when the single was released. It took place in the German TV show ”Na Sowas” on 28th June where ”The Carnival Is Over” was performed as well as a part of ”Going Back West”. It was again a world-wide single release, but it didn’t chart the same way that the earlier singles did.
The single went to no. 41 in Germany. The lowest charting Boney M. single since 1976. It should however be mentioned that the single stayed in the German single charts for 14 weeks. In Switzerland the single peaked at no. 11.
There was surely no doubt about that Reggie Tsiboe was the right replacement for Bobby Farrell. The group had matured during the past two years and Reggie’s personality seemed right for this change. Reggie was not trying to copy Bobby in any way, and it was easy to see that Reggie had a lot to offer.
Even though there only had been released one single with new material that year, Boney M. was still around. In South Africa ”We Kill The World (Don’t Kill The World)” was a huge single-hit and Boney M. a top act of 1982.
1982 was also the year where re-releases and many of the various ”Greatest Hits” albums started to be released. In Germany ”Rivers Of Babylon/Sunny” and ”Ma Baker/Baby Do You Wanna Bump” were released as singles. In Spain a double album consisting of ”Nightflight To Venus” and ”Oceans Of Fantasy” called ”23 Ultimos Exitos” was released. Because of the huge success in South Africa a double album called ”The Very Best Of Boney M. (24 Fantastic Hits)” was released. France saw the release of a compilation called ”14 Chansons” while the ”Christmas Album” from 1981 finally was released as ”Christmas With Boney M.” in South Africa.
In late 1982 it was decided to lift another single from the ”Christmas Album” from 1981. In Germany ”Zion’s Daughter/White Christmas” was released as a single while ”Feliz Navidad/White Christmas” was released as a single in Scandinavia. The group promoted both releases on TV in various countries.
1983 – “Jambo”
It was the year that Liz Mitchell would give birth to her second child, while Marcia Barrett was working on demos with Eddy Grant for CBS records. At the same time the group was working on their 7th studio album which was intended for release in the fall of 1983. It would however first be released in 1984, as it took longer to complete than first expected.
In the late summer of 1983, a new single was released. It was the only new material released that year. According to the German music magazine Bravo, it was a song that the Boney M. team became aware of on an earlier visit to South Africa.
“Jambo” was the title of the new single and it was released with a remix of “African Moon” as the B-side. In a few countries, “Jambo” would include the original ’81 version of “African Moon” as B-side.
The single “The Carnival Is Over/Going Back West” released in 1982, saw the group going in a new direction. With “Jambo” it would be the same once again. It was an African adoption and not the direction the record buying public wanted the group to go. It seemed as if Farian wasn’t sure in which direction to take Boney M., as “Jambo” not really seemed to be aimed for the pop market. It surely wasn’t the style of music you would find in the pop charts that year.
Boney M. performed “Jambo” in “Musikladen” on German TV on 8th September when it was released. Unfortunately, the single only went to no. 48 in the German single chart. It had a five weeks run in the chart. In Switzerland the single went to no. 11 where it also had a five weeks run in the single chart.
However, when coming to new material of 1983, there would be two countries, which would get a brand-new recording besides “Jambo”. “Jambo” was released as a maxi-single in several countries including extended versions of both “Jambo” and “African Moon ’83”.
Spain and Portugal saw a different release of the maxi-single compared to all other countries. The A-side would include an extended version of “Jambo”, which was even longer than the German maxi-version. The B-side would include 2 tracks. The ’81 version of “African Moon” closed the B-side, while the first track was a brand-new track called “I Need A Babysitter (Babysitter)”. A track that surely had more hit potential than “Jambo”, but for some reason it wasn’t picked as a single.
When coming to re-releases and new compilations, 1983 also was a very quiet year. In December Ariola in Spain decided to lift another single from the ´’81 LP “Christmas Album”. They released “White Christmas” backed with “Feliz Navidad”. Even though Reggie had been in the group for over one and a half year, the single was released with a photo of Bobby.
In Argentina a compilation called “Por Siempre” was released. The compilation included “The Carnival Is Over” as the newest track.
1984 – “Somewhere In The World”, “Kalimba De Luna”, “Happy Song” and “10.000 Lightyears”
With “Boonoonoonoos” and “The Christmas Album” being the latest album releases by Boney M. almost two and a half year ago, 1984 would see the release of Boney M.’s seventh studio album “Ten Thousand Lightyears”.
“Ten Thousand Lightyears” was originally intended for release in the fall of 1983 but would first end up being released in May 1984.
The album has a space-adventure team like the groups third album “Nightflight To Venus”.
In April when Frank Farian was working on the final production of the new album, Boney M. went to Sun City in South Africa to play 10 very successful live concerts at the Sun City Super Bowl. All shows were sold out. During the shows several tracks from the forthcoming album “Ten Thousand Lightyears” would be performed for the very first time. The first of the ten live concerts took place on April 13th. Two of the live shows were recorded and turned into the TV-special “Boney M. Live At The Sun City Super Bowl”.
1984 would be a very successful year for Boney M. in South Africa. Due to Boney M.’s visit a double compilation was released called “The Boney M. Gold Collection” which went gold.
The first – and only – single to be lifted from “Ten Thousand Lightyears” was “Somewhere In The World/Exodus (Noah’s Ark 2001)”. The single was released in May at the same as the album.
“Somewhere In The World/Exodus (Noah’s Ark 2001)” only reached no. 49 in the German single chart. The single stayed for a total of 5 weeks in the chart. The album “Ten Thousand Lightyears” went to no. 23 in the German LP chart and was certified gold.
“The Christmas Album” from 1981 had been a world-wide success and after the release of “The Thousand Lightyears” it was decided to record a few new Christmas songs for a reworked Christmas compilation. During the recording sessions “O Christmas Tree”, “Joy To The World”, “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”, “The First Noël”, “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” and “Auld Lang Syne” were recorded together with “Mother And Child Reunion”. They would all end up on the South African album “New Christmas With Boney M.” released in November 1984. The ’84 recorded Christmas songs would first see a world-wide release in 1986 as a part of the Christmas compilation “The 20 Greatest Christmas Songs Of The World”.
Because of the disappointing chart achievements with “Somewhere In The World/Exodus” and the album “Ten Thousand Lightyears” it was decided to lift no further singles from the album despite that “I Feel Good”, “Living Like A Moviestar” and “Barbarella Fortuneteller” all had been mentioned as possible singles. Instead, it was decided to release “Kalimba De Luna” backed with “Ten Thousand Lightyears”.
“Kalimba De Luna“ was released as a single in August that year and returned Boney M. to the charts. In Germany the new single was premiered on the TV-show “Musikladen”. “Kalimba De Luna” returned Boney M. to the Top 20 in Germany, where it reached no. 16. It had a run of 23 weeks in the German single chart. In Belgium it went to no. 15 and in Holland it went to no. 27. In France it returned Boney M. to the top 10 where it reached no. 6 and stayed in the charts for 21 weeks.
At the same time of the release of “Kalimba De Luna”, Boney M. went on a promotional visit to India to do promotion for their upcoming live tour in November. They performed on a several TV-shows as well. On the 31st of October Boney M. were ready to leave for their live concerts in India a few days later. Unfortunately, the visit and the live shows had to be canceled because of the assassination of India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
A cover of Baby’s Gang “Happy Song” was recorded as the follow up to “Kalimba De Luna”. Bobby Farrell was invited back as a guest performer on “Happy Song”. “Happy Song” would return Boney M. to the Top 10 in Germany where it reached no. 7. It had a 3 weeks run in the Top 10 and it had a total run of 17 weeks in the chart. In Belgium it went to no. 29.
Due to the success of “Kalimba De Luna” it was decided to release a new compilation called “Kalimba De Luna – 16 Happy Songs With Boney M.”. The album would contain “Kalimba De Luna” as a maxi-version and the newly released single “Happy Song” as a maxi-version as well, together with Boney M. material from 1981 – 1984 with the exception of one track from 1979.
1985 – “My Cherié Amour”, “Young, Free & Single” and “Eye Dance”
“My Chérie Amour” would be the first new single of 1985. It was released in May and had its premiere on 9th May on the German TV-show “Show + Co. mit Carlo” on ZDF.
After releasing “My Chérie Amour” as a single the work for the upcoming new album “Eye Dance” continued in the studio.
The next single to be released from the “Eye Dance” sessions was “Young, Free & Single”. It was released in September 1985 and was credited to Boney M. feat. Bobby Farrell. The single was released with a cover not showing a photo of the group, neither on the front or the back. Not even an advertisement for the new album to be released the following month in October. The single only fared a little better than the previous release and despite many TV-performances it only reached no. 48 in the German single-chart where it had a 6 weeks run.
In October Boney M.’s eight and final studio album “Eye Dance” was released. On the front cover the album was credited to “Boney M.” while it on the back cover was credited to “Boney M. featuring Bobby Farrell”.
It was the first album not to include a photo of the group on the front cover. The cover showed a drawing of an eye and 2 people dancing. On the back of the album cover there also was not a group photo. Instead, there were 5 individual shots of each member. The photos of Maizie, Liz, Marcia and Reggie were taken at the same photo session, while it was easy to see that the photo of Bobby was from a solo session of his.
The new album “Eye Dance” didn’t go anywhere when it came to the success of the previous albums.
In October Boney M. attended the RTL Goldene Löwe awards (Golden Lion awards) where the group was awarded the Ehrenlöwen for special achievement. The group was introduced, and Liz, Marcia, Maizie, Reggie, Bobby and Frank all entered the stage to accept the award. After the presentation of the award and a little interview Frank left the stage and Liz, Marcia, Maizie, Reggie and Bobby performed a medley of hits (“Brown Girl In The Ring”, “Rivers Of Babylon”, “Sunny”, “Daddy Cool”, “Painter Man”, “Rasputin”, “Ma Baker”, “Belfast”, “Kalimba De Luna” and “Happy Song”). After the medley they performed their new single “Young, Free & Single”.
1985 marked the 10th anniversary of Boney M. with “Baby Do You Wanna Bump” being released in 1975. However, it would be 1986 that officially marked the 10th anniversary of Boney M. because of the release of “Daddy Cool” in 1976. The preparation for the anniversary began in late 1985 with Frank Farian working on the compilation “The Best Of 10 Years – 32 Super Hits”. At the same time Boney M. started on recording a TV-special in Austria to celebrate the anniversary.