A closer look at all of Boney M’s greatest hits—from Daddy Cool to Feliz Navidad.
After forming in 1974, Boney M became one of the biggest-selling artists of all time. Masterminded by German producer Frank Farian, the vocal group was originally comprised of singers Liz Mitchell, Marcia Barrett, Maizie Williams, and Bobby Farrell. Predating the tropical vibes found in today’s chart music by decades, Boney M incorporated sounds from the singers’ Caribbean heritage into their music to great effect.
With millions of records sold globally, it’s no surprise that Boney M’s current touring lineup is a huge draw at gigs and festivals around the world. The band’s biggest songs were hits not just in the West, but in Russia, China and South Korea. Here are some fun facts about the band’s greatest hits.
1. Daddy Cool
Daddy Cool was Boney M’s breakthrough hit, but it was far from an instant success. The 1976 release is considered such an all-time classic now that it’s hard to believe it didn’t catch on right away.
The song’s breakthrough moment came after the band’s storming performance on West Germany’s Musikladen TV show. The group’s virtuoso dance moves and undeniable star quality took the song to new heights, and it soon climbed the charts all over Europe. Since then ‘Daddy Cool’ has become not just a Boney M signature track, but one of Europop/Disco’s most iconic singles.
Considering the band’s huge popularity in Russia, it might be surprising that their first song with Russian subject matter was actually banned in the Soviet Union. That didn’t stop the song from rocketing up the charts in other parts of the world. The scandalous tale of the Russian Tsar’s advisor is only partially historically accurate. The song’s lyrics describe a love affair between Rasputin and Tsaritsa Alexandra Feodorovna (the “Russian queen” at the time), and while there were rumours to this effect in Rasputin’s day, there is no historical evidence that it is actually true.
3. Rivers of Babylon
A hugely successful cover version, Boney M’s ‘Rivers of Babylon’ was released in 1978, just before ‘Rasputin’. The song was penned and originally recorded by Jamaican reggae group The Melodians, adapted from biblical Psalms.
While The Melodians’ version used Rastafarian language, including a reference to “King Alpha”, Boney M’s version heeds closer to the Bible’s text, instead referring to “the Lord”.
4. Mary’s Boy Child/Oh My Lord
Arguably the group’s biggest hit, ‘Mary’s Boy Child/Oh My Lord’ dominates the airwaves every year for the entire festive season. The first half of the song is a cover of a Harry Belafonte track, and the second half is a brand new Boney M composition. The two halves blend seamlessly together, making for a festive, Caribbean-inspired experience.
The song is a true Christmas favourite, adding an upbeat rhythm to the often dreary Christmas music landscape. Perhaps surprisingly, the song was not a chart success in the USA upon release, as Boney M was yet to conquer the US charts in the way they had in the rest of the world. Once the band broke through, however, the song became a staple of Christmas radio, as it still is to this day.
5. Feliz Navidad
With the success of ‘Feliz Navidad’ Boney M became one of the few bands to have not one, but two Christmas hits under their belts. The song is Boney M’s unique rendition of the Puerto Rican classic, with its Spanish chorus and English verse. This track was recorded for Boney M’s 1981 Christmas album (named simply Christmas Album), which also included ‘Mary’s Boy Child’, and a host of other festive favourites.
A cover of the Bobby Hebb classic, Boney M’s ‘Sunny’ eclipsed the original track in many parts of the world. The band’s second single after ‘Daddy Cool’, it topped the German charts once again, and paved the way for Boney M’s future hit cover versions.
‘Sunny’ has proven extremely popular with filmmakers and TV producers, appearing on the soundtracks of everything from Boogie Nights to the Soviet-era Russian film Family Relations, and hit Hong Kong movie CJ7.
Speak to our music agent to book Boney M today and bring the million-selling band and their enviable catalogue of hits to your venue.