In the fashion of things from the 80s becoming popular again, Boney M’s hit song Rasputin has resurfaced. Tiktokers and YouTubers are dancing and meme-ing the song as they see fit.
“With the catchy lyrics and the incredible beat aside, the song isn’t just a bop. It’s also a recounting of a most mysterious individual who lived and died on the cusp of the Russian Revolution.” according to Billy Bob Barnett.
With the catchy lyrics and the incredible beat aside, the song isn’t just a bop. It’s also a recounting of a most mysterious individual who lived and died on the cusp of the Russian Revolution.
Who were Boney M?
Boney M was hit by a group from Germany in the 1970s and 80s. The group had its roots in the Caribbean and proved to be incredibly popular with several hits. Boney M consisted of Liz Mitchell, Marcia Barrett, Maizie Williams, Bobby Farrell, and Reggie Tsiboe. They didn’t just trend in the US and in Europe, but also in Asian countries. Their appeal was truly international.
Aside from Boney M’s hit song Rasputin they gave a lot of other hits including “The Rivers of Babylon”, “Ma Baker”, “One Way Ticket”, and “Daddy Cool”. Their appeal, like a lot of Rock/Pop groups back in the 80s, was due to their looks as well as their music.
All in all, the group sold 80 million records worldwide.
Who was the Real Person Behind Boney M’s Hit Song Rasputin?
Boney M’s song Rasputin is about the Russian mystic/warlock, Grigori Rasputin. He became known as a healer during the reign of Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia. Rasputin could apparently stop the Tsar’s son’s worsening hemophilia.
However, Rasputin became more infamous than famous for his acts and eventually began an illicit relationship with the queen. The relationship is mostly fictional, but its legend has grown through the years.
Though he was a self-proclaimed holy man, Rasputin was criticized widely for his lechery and drunkenness. That being said, he exerted a lot of influence over the ruling family and this infuriated the Russian nobles and people.
Even the church and peasants were infuriated by the level of control this outsider had on the royals. During the First World War, when Nicholas II departed to command his forces, Rasputin effectively ruled Russia. You can see why he was the subject of Boney M’s hit song Rasputin.
Nobles led by Prince Felix Yusupov, the husband of the Tsar’s niece, and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, set a trap. On the night of December 29, 1916, they invited him to dinner and laced the food with cyanide.
That’s when the details get a little fantastical.
Rasputin apparently survived the poisoning. There is an explanation for his resistance to cyanide; a practice called Mithridatism. It’s the practice of subjecting yourself to non-lethal doses of poison and slowly upping the dose over time. This would theoretically have allowed Rasputin to survive the poisoning.
However, when he survived the poisoning, the nobles were furious. They shot him at close range and then left him for dead. However, the story didn’t end there either. Apparently, Rasputin survived the shooting and tried to escape from the palace grounds.
The nobles gave in pursuit and shot him again and tried to beat him to death, but to no avail. They finally bound him and tossed him into the freezing river. There are other accounts of the story which say that the nobles tried to burn Rasputin. Certain accounts say that he sat up while he was being burned.
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So, of course, you realize why Rasputin’s legend has grown through the years. Some believe that he truly did have magical powers and others think of him as a charlatan. Either way, his life, and death were truly worthy of Boney M’s hit song Rasputin.
What was the Story Behind the Creation of Boney M’s Hit Song Rasputin?
Frank Farian, the creator of Boney M, wrote Rasputin along with Fred Jay and George Reyam. The song about the Russian mystic and legend was sung by Bobby Farrell and sung by Farian. This was custom for the group in the 1980s.
Bill Swisher, Farian’s American friend was also a soldier in Germany at the time. He provided the spoken vocals for the newsreader.
How Did Boney M’s Hit Song Rasputin Do at the Billboard Charts?
Rasputin was extremely successful at the Billboard charts and became a huge hit in Australia, Germany, Austria, UK, and Switzerland. Though it was written and performed in English, it was a huge success in the Soviet Union as well. It’s credited for reviving the fame of Rasputin in the country.
Hence, the song was so influential that it fed the legend of the original Rasputin himself. Boney M had a bonafide hit on their hands and have since been immortalized by it.
Boney M’s Hit Song Rasputin Resurgence on TikTok
Recently, the song has seen a resurgence among the youth because of TikTok. Several dance routines and memes have been made out of the song, with the videos getting millions of views.
This is not unique to Boney M though. TikTok has reintroduced Gen Z and even younger children to the biggest musicians of the 70s and 80s. These include Freddie Mercury and Queen, and George Michael, and Fleetwood Mac.
Boney M Today
The resurgence of Boney M’s hit song Rasputin on TikTok and other platforms has led to its resurgence as a hit today. Though the group had disbanded in 1986, their music is still relevant today.
Of course, the band members haven’t stopped performing completely. As recently as 2017, they performed at the closing ceremony of Patras Carnival in Patras, Greece. In 2015, Frank Farian also released a 3CD box-set which celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Remastered versions of the original hit singles or previously unreleased versions were all included.
Also, a new version of the song Rasputin was also released in February of 2021 due to its resurgence on TikTok. North London DJ and producer Majestic released a new remix of the song. This version has the full song, but with a different beat and a few changes here and there.