Their fame -- which included a best new artist win at the 32nd annual Grammy Awards -- was, however, short lived, as it emerged that Rob and Fab were merely Farian's latest fanciful creation and not the actual vocalists. In a Grammy first, the duo's best new artist honor was revoked. Following the band's swift fall from grace, a second MV album, The Moment of Truth, credited to The Real Milli Vanilli, was released in 1991 outside the U.S. with vocals by Davis and a number of the others who actually sang for the group.
Billboard wrote an expansive oral history of the Milli Vanilli story in 2020, and though Davis declined to participate, more than a dozen of the musicians, producers and engineers who worked on the band's debut related the story of how Farian almost pulled the wool over the whole world's eyes while selling more than 10 million albums.
"Farian came back after the song hit the charts in England and said he had to have two faces for the project," vocalist Charles Shaw told Billboard about the scramble to find two frontmen after "Girl" took off in Europe. "I was already paid $12,000 for doing ['Girl'] and he said, 'Keep your mouth shut and you can do the whole album.' I’m thinking, 'That’s studio work for me.'"
Variety recently reported that MRC Non-Fiction is working on the Milli Vanilli documentary Girl You Know It's True, which will be directed by Luke Korem (Dealt) and produced by music critic-author Hanif Abdurraquib, Bradley Jackson and Fulwell 73's Richard Thompson; Billboard is part of PMRC holdings, a joint venture between PMC and MRC.
Born in Anderson, South Carolina on Aug. 31, 1954, the veteran studio musician, bass player and composer who lived in Germany before and after the Milli Vanilli scandal, went on to sing alongside Morvan in the ironically named Face Meets Voice. According to his official bio, he also backed former Animals singer Eric Burdon, Luther Vandross and Babyface over the years, and performed pop and rock songs with the Symphonic Orchestra Nuremberg and released several solo recordings.
Morvan paid tribute to Davis on Twitter, writing, "R.I.P BROTHER @JohnDavisRMV CAN’T BELIEVE IT, THANKS FOR ALL THE LOVE YOU’VE SPREAD THROUGH OUT THE YEARS, FROM THE EDGE OF THE STAGE. YOU AND I HAD A GREAT RUN, IT WAS FUN TO CELEBRATE LIFE WITH THE HELP OF MUSIC. PEACE ONE LOVE YOUR VOICE WILL LIVE ON. PLAY IT LOUD EVERYBODY."
Watch Davis with the Nuremberg Orchestra in 2013 below.