The voice behind Milli Vanilli, John Davis, dies aged 66

John Davis was heard but not seen for far too long. His voice will leave an imprint on the music world forever.

John Davis, prominently known for being the real voice behind Milli Vanilli, had passed away aged 66 due to COVID-19 related issues. The news of  John Davis’s death was confirmed by his daughter Jasmin Davis in a touching Facebook post.

“[U]nfortunately my dad passed away this evening through the coronavirus. He made a lot of people happy with his laughter and smile, his happy spirit, love and especially through his music. He gave so much to the world! Please give him the last round of applause. We will miss him dearly.”

John Davis and Milli Vanilli
John Davis (pictured left) provided vocals for Milli Vanilli (right).
Photo: Getty Images

Milli Vanilli was a German-French duo comprised of Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, who made their debut in 1988. Their album Girl You Know It’s True was released a year later and saw massive success, selling 11 million copies and earning them a Grammy in 1990.

However, an issue with a backing track recording revealed that neither Pilatus nor Morvan were really singing, but rather, had lipsynced at all their live performances, with the actual vocals belonging to John Davis and Brad Howell.

Milli Vanilli became the first artist in history to have their Grammy stripped from them. While the pair attempted to re-brand the group as The Real Milli Vanilli, which featured the original singers, they never saw the same success.

Despite their shaky history, Davis never held a grudge. “They had the faces, we had the voices,” he said. “If they don’t have the Grammy, I don’t want it either. Besides we’re going to get it next year anyway.”

While Pilatus passed away in 1998, Morvan and Davis were reunited in 2015 under the name ‘Face Meets Voice’, for a one-off performance.

With the news of the passing of John Davis, tributes have poured out online, including tweets from both Fabrice Morvan and the official Milli Vanilli Twitter account.

Check out John Davis and Fabrice Morvan performing together in 2015, as well as Milli Vanilli performing Girl You Know Its True live.