Bobby Farrell: The Death of Vocalist Boney M


Bobby Farrell was part of the hit band, Boney M. It became very popular during the disco era in the late 1970s. It has a large following even today among those who love the disco genre. The band’s many hit songs have influenced many singers with their music. Lady Gaga tasted their song Ma Baker (1977) in her hit single Poker Face (2008). Boney M. was mainly active from 1976 – 1986. It consisted of four members before being disbanded. Its members are Liz Mitchell, Marcia Barrett, Maizie Williams and Bobby Farrell. Bobby is the only male singer in the group. He continued to perform in various countries with his own group even after the original group disbanded. Bobby is the frontman in their live show. She garnered great popularity with her extravagant costumes and dance styles.

Bobby’s fans were deeply saddened by the news of his sudden death during his tour. He died in St. Petersburg on December 30, 2010. Farrell was a larger-than-life man throughout his career. She’s more like a showman than a singer and that’s charming in her own way. Bobby’s final years weren’t what you’d expect from someone with that kind of fame. There were many hardships he faced during those years. Largely due to his contract issues with Boney M producer and creator Frank Farian.

Frank Farian

Frank Farian (Source: Schneider-Press)

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Bobby Farrell: Early Years & Personal Life

Bobby Farrell was born on October 6, 1949, on the island of Aruba. His real name is Roberto Alfonso Farrell. He grew up in Aruba itself and finished his schooling there. Bobby went on to become a sailor and continued for two years. After that, he moved to Norway and worked as a DJ in various nightclubs. Bobby then moved to the Netherlands and then to Germany. He continued his duties as a DJ during this time. Frank Farian recruited him for his band Boney M. And this marked his professional career. Bobby basically started from scratch and reached the pinnacle of fame with the band. He married Jasmina Shaban in 1981. Their marriage became a hot topic of his time. He has two children from this marriage – a daughter named Zanillya and a son named Zanin. The couple separated in 1995.

Zanilya Farell

Bobby Farrell’s daughter, Zanillya Farrell (Youtube)

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Bobby Farrell: Time With Boney M.

Frank Farian released a dance song called Baby Do You Wanna Bump in 1974. The song is credited to Boney M., a pseudonym that Farian created himself. He then came up with the idea to create a group with this name. He started recruiting members and Maizie Williams was among the first to be brought in. Williams was the one who brought Bobby Farrell to the group. The group’s first album Take the Heat Off Me was released in 1976. During the production of the album tracks, the voices of Maizie Williams and Bobby Farrell were found to be unsuitable for recording. So the only contributors to the studio production were Marcia Barrett and Liz Mitchell. Farian herself sings on record and studio-improves her voice for a deeper sound. Even high-pitched falsetto is performed by him.

Boney M.

Bobby Farrell with other members of Boney M (Source: Shutterstock)

Bobby gained immense popularity for being a showman during live tours. It’s no secret that he didn’t have any contribution to the record. Moreover, it was a common trend in that period of the disco era. Bobby’s lip-sync accuracy was highly praised in his performance. His dancing skills also earned him the name of one of the greatest dancers. However, members are only entitled to 9% of all royalties. This caused a rift in the band which led to its eventual disbandment. When Bobby asked Farian for the promised amount of money, he was asked to sign some papers. He signed royalties, image rights, and everything. However, his wife arranged his contract and made him use the name Boney M. to form his own band. It was still far from his previous success and Bobby continued to fall into despair.


(Source: YouTube)

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Bobby Farrell: His Struggle & Untimely Death

Bobby’s troubles didn’t stop even after he used the name Boney M. for his own ends. He drifted away more and more as time went on and even started taking drugs. His daughter, Zanillya, described him as a completely different man. And after parting with his wife, he became even worse. However, he continued his tour. Before his death, he was out, performing at St. Petersburg, Russia. He complained of having trouble with breathing before the show. But he still appeared. The next day, on December 30, 2010, he was found dead in his hotel room. Investigations showed that he died of heart failure. Bobby’s former bandmate shows up for his funeral.

Bobby at the Concert

(Source: Abaca – Agrandir)

Due to a strange coincidence, Bobby died on the same date and in the same location as Rasputin. Rasputin was a famous Russian monk, the subject of one of Boney M. Rasputin’s greatest hits.


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