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Bobby Farrell

Bobby Farrell
Bobby Farrell with Boney M, 2006
Background information
Birth name Roberto Alfonso Farrell [1]
Born (1949-10-06)6 October 1949
San Nicolaas, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles
Died 30 December 2010(2010-12-30) (aged 61)
Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
Genres Pop, disco
Occupation(s) Dancer, entertainer
Years active 1975–2010
Labels Hansa Records, Sony-BMG
Associated acts Boney M.

Roberto "Bobby" Alfonso Farrell (6 October 1949 – 30 December 2010) was a Dutch dancer and performer from Aruba, best known as the male member of the successful 1970s pop and disco group Boney M.[2]


  • Early years 1
  • Years with Boney M. 2
  • Later years, death and legacy 3
  • Discography 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early years

Farrell was born and raised on the island of Aruba in the Lesser Antilles, where he lived until the age of 15. After finishing school he worked as a sailor for 2 years, travelling across the oceans before settling in Norway. From Norway, he went to the Netherlands, where he found occasional work as a DJ before finding better opportunities in Germany.

Years with Boney M.

In Germany, he worked mostly as a DJ until producer Frank Farian spotted him for his new Boney M. group. He became the sole male singer in the group, although Farian later revealed that Bobby made almost no vocal contributions to the group's records, with Farian himself performing the male parts on the songs in the studio. Liz Mitchell claimed that only she, Marcia Barrett and Farian had sung on the hit recordings. Farrell did, however, perform live in some of the various incarnations of 'Boney M', including the main 1970s incarnation.[3] Farrell left the group in 1981, after clashes with Farian. He was replaced by Reggie Tsiboe. He re-joined in 1984, and continued as a member until it finally split in 1986.[4]

Farrell's daughter Zanillya Farrell claims that Farian deprived Farrell of his rights over Boney M.'s hits, which caused her father to lose all his income after the band split.

When Dad asked Farian for 100,000 marks he was told to sign some papers. He signed away everything – image rights, royalties, the lot. My father lost everything. We had to move in with my grandmother in the Netherlands and live on welfare. After that, Dad started getting angry a lot. But Mum was very smart and realised if you own the name you can use it. Farian had not registered Boney M all over the world. So that’s why Dad could perform in certain countries.[5]

He subsequently toured with his own group performing the band's hits under the name "Bobby Farrell's Boney M.". He also appeared as a dancer in late 2005 in the Roger Sanchez video clip of Turn on the Music.

Later years, death and legacy

Farrell lived for many years in Amsterdam, in the neighbourhood of Gaasperdam in the borough of Amsterdam-Zuidoost.

He died on the morning of 30 December 2010, in a hotel in Zorgvlied cemetery.

Very soon after his death was reported, it was observed to have occurred on the anniversary of, and in the same city as, the death of Rasputin, described in Boney M's eponymous hit single, in a case of life imitating art;[10] Farrell had also dressed up as Rasputin in some band performances of the song.[11][12]

His daughter Zanillya Farrell is a rapper. In December 2011, she won the national music prize Grote Prijs van Nederland in the hip hop category.[13]


Farrell, 3rd from the left, performing with Boney M. in 1981.


  • 1982: Polizei / A Fool In Love
  • 1985: King Of Dancing / I See You
  • 1987: Hoppa Hoppa / Hoppa Hoppa (Instrumental)
  • 1991: Tribute To Josephine Baker
  • 2004: Aruban Style (Mixes) S-Cream Featuring Bobby Farrell
  • 2006: The Bump EP
  • 2010: Bamboo Song (Roundhouse Records)

Bobby Farrell's Boney M. / Boney M. Featuring Bobby Farrell / Bobby Farrell Featuring Sandy Chambers

  • 2000: The Best Of Boney M. (DVMore)
  • 2001: Boney M. – I Successi (DVMore)
  • 2001: The Best Of Boney M. (II) (compilation)
  • 2001: The Best Of Boney M. (III) (compilation)
  • 2005: Boney M. – Remix 2005 (featuring Sandy Chambers) (compilation) (Crisler)
  • 2007: Boney M. – Disco Collection (compilation)

All of these releases contain re-recordings of Boney M.'s hits - not the original versions.


  1. ^ Albums by Bobby Farrell - Rate Your Music
  2. ^ Wainwright, Martin (30 December 2010). "Boney M singer Bobby Farrell dies at 61".  
  3. ^ "Whatever happened to Boney M?". BBC News. 29 January 2002. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). The encyclopedia of popular music: Morricone, Ennio - Rich kids, Volume 6. Oxford University Press. p. 745.  
  5. ^ Mary's Boy Child: Boney M brought my dad fame and tragedy, Daily Mirror, 23 December 2012
  6. ^ "Farrell overleed door hartfalen".  
  7. ^ "Bobby Farrell (61) overleden".  
  8. ^ "Boney M's Bobby Farrell has died, aged 61".  
  9. ^ "Boney M singer Bobby Farrell dies aged 61".  
  10. ^ Ben Todd and Georgina Littlejohn (30 December 2010). "Boney M's Bobby Farrell dies on the same day and in the same town as Rasputin... the subject of one of the band's biggest hits".  
  11. ^ Video on YouTube
  12. ^ Video on YouTube
  13. ^ "Ik wil niet alleen maar rappen", Het Parool, 24 December 2011 (Dutch)

External links

  • In memoriam Bobby Farrell


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