The history of the album "Nightflight To Venus" by Boney M.
Nightflight To Venus is the third album by Boney M., recorded and produced by Frank Farian. It was this record that became the most successful for the disco project: and now we are talking not only about stunning sales around the world, but also about a creative breakthrough ... And yes: this album gave the world timeless singles such as "Rasputin" and "Rivers of Babylon" !
What's more, it won critical acclaim and was hailed as a model record for the Eurodisco era of the 70s! As of July 2018, over two million copies have been sold in the UK alone! Let's dive into the history of its creation ...
The idea and recording of the album "Night Flight to Venus"
On the threshold of a new decade, the band releases "Rivers Of Babylon", a chic hit that becomes a big breakthrough for the band! The track was in the lead in England, second only to "Mull of Kintyre" by McCartney! This success was the reason for the creation of a full-length album ...
Before including certain tracks in "Nightflight To Venus", the group's producer - Frank Farian - gave them a kind of "test drive": he played demos with new recordings in major discos in Germany. Despite the fact that the team consisted of four members, only two performed the vocal parts for the new album: Liz Mitchell and Marcia Barratt. It is curious, but on one of the tracks we can hear Frank Farian himself (yes, we are talking about that very robo-voice now!)
Soon the album itself was released, which instantly became the most commercially successful recording of Boney M. in their entire existence ...
Songs from the album "Nightflight To Venus"
"Nightflight To Venus"
"He Was a Steppenwolf"
"King of the Road"
Rivers of Babylon
"Brown Girl in the Ring"
"Never Change Lovers in the Middle of the Night"
Heart of Gold
Only four original songs were released on the album. Most of the disc consists of tracks processed by Farian or covers of famous hits ... It is not surprising that a year after the release, the producer had big troubles ... In particular, because of the copyright of “Brown Girl in the Ring”. This marked the beginning of a long and unpleasant process, which to this day has not ended ...
In addition, especially sensitive listeners noticed that the lead single “Nightflight to Venus” was too reminiscent of the 1973 track “Dance with the devil” in its arrangement ... However, such a similarity, fortunately for Farian, did not cause litigation.
PR campaign "Nightflight To Venus" in the USSR
In the winter of the same 1978, the world-famous disco band visited the Soviet Union! As part of their shows, Boney M. performed works from the new album. Everything except the song about Rasputin... This composition was banned due to its undesirable ideological overtones. However, the most curious thing was that while having dinner at the restaurant of the Rossiya Hotel, Boney M. could enjoy their own work performed by the local ensemble ... Needless to say, the participants of Boney M. were simply shocked?
A little later, namely in 1980, Melodiya released a cult album. True... the song about Rasputin and the popular single "Rivers of Babylon" were ignored by the Soviet label...
It's no secret that Boney M. was conceived by Farian as a promising project aimed at commercial success. Actually, the producer always selected the artists "according to his own plan" ... But within the framework of this album, the group really managed to reveal their creative potential! And today this record is called the brightest phenomenon of the eurodisco era that originated in the 70s ...
The disc "Night Flight to Venus" is full of various and unique shades, from religion and folklore to the history of our state... So, for example, the song "Rasputin" is addressed to an influential historical figure in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century! “Brown Girl in the Ring” evokes the warm rhythms of the Caribbean Sea… The phenomenon of the album is that the first two tracks seem to be woven into a single whole… Thus, an interesting holistic mix with a duration of about 13 minutes is obtained!
Properly used elements of rock, dynamic drums, rhythms of electronic music... All this abundance of musical shades delights music lovers to this day! The attention of critics was especially attracted by the composition "Rasputin". It was she who displaced the work of Boney M. beyond the pop music of the 70s! A unique harmony of sounds and folklore, an electronic balalaika, an appropriate percussion section... All this is complemented by a strong story that tells about the royal couple and the controversial person of Rasputin.
The fate of the album...
As mentioned above, the disc and the singles accompanying its release elevated the Boney M. team to the Olympus of glory! The album did not leave the top charts in the United Kingdom for a record 455 days! In general, the number of sales in this country exceeded 2,000,000 copies ... According to Frank Farian, only the single "Rivers Of Babylon" was sold with a total circulation of over 20,000,000 copies! In New Zealand, this song remained the most successful hit for 30 years! The album itself went platinum in many countries around the world, including Canada and Germany.
The robo-voice does not belong to Farian in any way. He is a German with a characteristic accent that is hard to hear when a person sings, but is immediately felt in normal conversation. Therefore, Farian always used Bill Swisher for recitatives - an American with pure English. We can still hear it in the songs of Ma Baker (voice of the radio) and in “Rasputin”.