Marcia Barrett

Last updated

Marcia Barrett
Barrett in 2014
Background information
Born (1948-10-14) 14 October 1948 (age 72)
Saint Catherine Parish, British Jamaica
Genres R&B, eurodisco, reggae
Years active1970–present
Labels Hansa Records, Sony-BMG, BSC Music
Associated acts Boney M.
Website Official Web page

Marcia Barrett (born 14 October 1948) is a Jamaican-British singer and one of the original singers with the vocal group Boney M.


Early years

Barrett was born in Saint Catherine Parish, British Jamaica; her parents brought her to Croydon, England in 1963. In the late 1960s she moved to Germany, where she joined a band and toured with Karel Gott and Rex Gildo. In 1971 she signed to Metronome Records [ citation needed ] and made her first record, "Could Be Love", written by Drafi Deutscher. At the same time she kept touring with such songs as "Son of a Preacher Man", "Oh Happy Day" and "Big Spender". [1]

Boney M. era

In 1975 she joined Boney M., a group of models and dancers, to make discothèque and television performances of "Baby Do You Wanna Bump", a song recorded by record producer Frank Farian. The single was sold in the Benelux countries. When singer Claudja Barry left in early 1976, Barrett suggested a fellow Jamaican, Liz Mitchell, as replacement. Mitchell was a singer, and Farian engaged her and Barrett to make a follow-up recording, "Daddy Cool". They recorded Boney M.'s first album, Take the Heat Off Me , in 1976. After an appearance on the German television programme Musikladen in September, the group was in the charts all over Europe, and a series of hit singles and albums followed over the next decade. Boney M. counted four official members, but only Barrett and Mitchell were in the recording studio when Boney M.'s records were recorded. Frank Farian (and, from 1982–85, Reggie Tsiboe) provided male vocals that Bobby Farrell mimed to on stage.[ citation needed ]

While Mitchell was regarded as the lead singer, owing to her larger number of songs on which she performed lead vocals, Barrett contributed harmony on many the group's well-known songs and shared the lead with Mitchell on hits such as "Daddy Cool", "Ma Baker", "Rasputin" and "Gotta Go Home". She also led on a couple of tracks on each of the group's studio albums up to Christmas Album (1981), including the title of the first album Take the Heat off Me and "Lovin' or Leavin'". These were released as a Barrett solo single in 1977. She sang lead vocal on "Belfast", a song she had performed live in her solo years, which became the second single from the second album Love for Sale ; it was a German no. 1 and a European Top 10 hit. On that album she also performed "Silent Lover"[ citation needed ]

On Nightflight to Venus , Barrett sang "Nightflight To Venus" and a cover of "King of the Road" as well as the original "Never Change Lovers in the Middle of the Night" which became a standard during the group's performances. She sang the a capella intros of Boney M.'s 1978 Christmas hit, "Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord", and "Ribbons of Blue", was lead singer of "No Time to Lose" on the group's 1979 album Oceans of Fantasy and had a solo on the opening track "Let It All Be Music" [2]

After an unsuccessful solo single "You" in the late 1980s, written by Kelvin James, she abandoned her solo project. Farian took one of the songs written by James for her, "Breakaway", and used it on Boney M.'s next album Boonoonoonoos —with his own vocals on verses. Barrett, however, sang lead on the single "We Kill the World (Don't Kill the World)" in 1981. Although only a modest hit in the UK (#39), it topped the charts in Spain and South Africa. The group became less popular from 1982 onwards, when Bobby Farrell was replaced by Reggie Tsiboe. [3]

In 1983, Barrett was introduced to Eddy Grant who produced demos with her for CBS. Farian reminded her she was still contractually committed to Boney M. On their seventh album Ten Thousand Lightyears she is only occasionally heard on backing vocals. On their final album Eye Dance , she can barely be heard, and on the group's reunion remix album, Greatest Hits of All Times - Remix '88 , her vocals were toned down on most tracks. After Liz Mitchell's departure during the 1989 tour, Madeleine Davis joined the group. When Farian announced he would not be making any new recordings, the group went to France to record "Everybody Wants to Dance Like Josephine Baker" with producer Barry Blue. She did all lead and backing vocals on the A-side, but Farian withdrew the single, angry that the group used the name Boney M. After a court case in 1990, the group members went their separate ways.[ citation needed ] Barrett was never involved in any of the Boney M. projects and recordings throughout the following decades.

Life after Boney M.

"Life after Boney M. – my dear, I've been through hell and back", Barrett said in a radio interview in November 2001. After the group split in 1990, Barrett was recording rock tracks in Munich when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She had a recurrence of her disease and was unable to work.[ citation needed ]

By 1997, she began working with producer Scott Christina on dance tracks. The resulting album, Survival, appeared in November 1999. Two new tracks, a solo of Boney M.'s No. 1 hit "Rivers of Babylon" and a new track called "Seasons" were played on a very small Dutch radio show, but neither track was released. In 2003, a benefit EP No War! Peace and Love was released as a protest against the US military intervention in Iraq, and generated $295 for the War Child charity.[ citation needed ]

Present day

Barrett made her second album, Come into My Life, in 2005. It included a cover of "Hey Joe", a new version of "Belfast", as well as original recordings written by her and her husband Marcus. In addition, a cover of Fleetwood Mac's instrumental "Albatross", for which Barrett had been allowed to add her own lyrics by its composer Peter Green, and the song "Rip It Up" were also part of the track listing.

She also toured with her own version of Boney M. She attended with Liz Mitchell and Frank Farian at the London and Berlin premières of the Daddy Cool musical. In October 2007, she turned down a song for the album Disco 2008, a project by UK music producer Ian Levine. In October, she and her Boney M. were invited by President Mikhail Saakashvili to perform in South Ossetia. [4]

In 2009, she started Xoah Records. The first release on the label was a remix of her Survival track "Seeing Is Believing", released on 6 March 2009, followed by "I Don't Know Why". While her third solo album Strange Rumours had been announced to follow, the album was put on hold when she was hit by another bout of cancer.[ citation needed ]

Barrett is currently living in Berlin.

June 2018 saw Barretts biography "Forward - My life with and without Boney M." being published. A German edition of her biography was also published with the title "Immer weiter: Mein Leben mit und ohne Boney M."

Related Research Articles

Boney M. Euro-Caribbean vocal group

Boney M. was a Euro-Caribbean vocal group created by German record producer Frank Farian, who served as the group's primary songwriter. Originally based in West Germany, the four original members of the group's official line-up were Liz Mitchell and Marcia Barrett from Jamaica, Maizie Williams from Montserrat and Bobby Farrell, a performing artist from Aruba. The group was formed in 1976 and achieved popularity during the disco era of the late 1970s. Since the 1980s, various line-ups of the band have performed with different personnel.

Liz Mitchell Musical artist

Elizabeth Rebecca Mitchell is a Jamaican-British singer, best known as one of the original singers of the 1970s disco/reggae band Boney M.

Maizie Williams British model and singer

Maizie Ursula Williams is a British model, dancer and singer who became one of the original members of the successful 1970s disco music group Boney M. Though she did not sing on the studio recordings of their songs, she did perform live and subsequently established an independent career as a singer.

<i>Gold – 20 Super Hits</i> 1992 greatest hits album by Boney M.

Gold – 20 Super Hits is a 1992 greatest hits album by group Boney M. Shortly after record label PolyGram had acquired the rights to the ABBA back catalogue and had issued the multimillion-selling hits package Gold: Greatest Hits, BMG and producer Frank Farian followed suit with Boney M.'s Gold - 20 Super Hits which resulted in their best chart entry in the UK and most other European countries since 1980's The Magic of Boney M. - 20 Golden Hits.

<i>Oceans of Fantasy</i> 1979 studio album by Boney M.

Oceans of Fantasy is the fourth studio album by Euro-Caribbean group Boney M. Released in September 1979, Oceans Of Fantasy became the second Boney M. album to top the UK charts and features the hits "El Lute / Gotta Go Home" and "I'm Born Again / Bahama Mama".

<i>Ten Thousand Lightyears</i> 1984 studio album by Boney M.

Ten Thousand Lightyears is the seventh studio album by Boney M. and the first to feature new member Reggie Tsiboe, who had taken over Bobby Farrell's role as the band's leading man in early 1982.

<i>Kalimba de Luna – 16 Happy Songs</i> 1984 compilation album by Boney M.

Kalimba de Luna – 16 Happy Songs is a compilation album by Boney M. released in late 1984. On the strength of two carbon-copy cover versions, "Kalimba de Luna" and "Happy Song" which gave Boney M. their first Top 20 hits in Germany in three years, this compilation was rush-released in November 1984. Besides the 12" versions of the two singles, the latter marking Bobby Farrell's return to the band but neither featuring Liz Mitchell or Marcia Barrett, the compilation includes 3-minute edits of tracks from albums Boonoonoonoos and Ten Thousand Lightyears as well as non-album singles "Children Of Paradise"/"Gadda Da Vida" (1980), "Felicidad (Margherita)" (1981), "Going Back West" (1982) and "Jambo - Hakuna Matata " (1983), as well as a new remix of "Calendar Song" from the Oceans Of Fantasy album. Just like in the case of 1980 compilation The Magic Of Boney M. - 20 Golden Hits, many of these edits were to re-surface on a number of hits compilations in the future, the latest being 2007 Sony-BMG release Hit Collection.
The "Happy Song" single was originally released under the name 'Boney M. with Bobby Farrell & the School-Rebels' and this compilation as 'Boney M. with Bobby Farrell'.

<i>The Best of 10 Years – 32 Superhits</i>

The Best of 10 Years – 32 Superhits also known as 32 Superhits - Non-Stop Digital Remix is a remix album by Boney M. released in 1986.

<i>More Gold – 20 Super Hits Vol. II</i> 1993 greatest hits album by Boney M.

More Gold – 20 Super Hits Vol. II is a 1993 greatest hits album by Boney M. Producer Frank Farian issued More Gold - 20 Super Hits Vol. II containing the remainder of Boney M.'s best known songs – again most of them appearing in remixed or overdubbed form but credited as the original versions – as well as four new recordings featuring lead singer Liz Mitchell. Two singles were released from the album in Europe, "Ma Baker Remix '93" and "Papa Chico", the latter credited as "Boney M. featuring Liz Mitchell" and released in early 1994.

<i>Greatest Hits of All Times – Remix 88</i> remix album

Greatest Hits of All Times – Remix '88 is a remix album by Boney M. released in 1988. Boney M.'s new manager at the time, Simon Napier-Bell, succeeded in persuading the four original members to briefly reunite and promote this remix album. The man employed to re-arrange the original hits and create new interest in the band was PWL's Pete Hammond who previously had remixed many of the Stock Aitken Waterman stable's chart-topping hits with Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Rick Astley and Bananarama. Five of the tracks also feature new lead vocals by Liz Mitchell. In early 2021 Pete Hammond recalled the following about the ’88 remix project which explains the new vocals: “The 2inch 24 track multi-track tapes were sent to PWL by Frank Farian of Far Music. Apparently, they had lost some of the original recordings - 4 songs if I remember correctly - and had to record 4 new versions; they were musically incomplete but good enough for me to overdub and remix.” The remix project spun off three fairly successful single releases, "Rivers of Babylon ", "Rasputin " and the 1988 "Megamix", which would appear on the follow-up album issued a year later, and created the first wave of Boney M. nostalgia in Europe.

<i>Eye Dance</i> 1985 studio album by Boney M.

Eye Dance is the eighth and final studio album by the vocal group Boney M., released in 1985. The cover artwork was symbolic of the state the group was in at that time, as neither the famous "Boney M." logo nor the group members appeared on the cover, and were replaced by an anonymous drawing.

<i>The Best of Boney M.</i> 1997 greatest hits album by Boney M.

The Best of Boney M. is a compilation album of recordings by Boney M. released by BMG UK's midprice label Camden in 1997.

<i>The Complete Collection</i> (Boney M. album) 2000 compilation album by Boney M.

The Complete Collection is a compilation album of recordings by Boney M. released by BMG/CMC Records in Denmark in late 2000.

<i>Norske Hits</i> 1998 compilation album by Boney M.

Norske Hits is a compilation album of recordings by Boney M. released by BMG-Ariola in Norway in late 1998.

<i>Christmas with Boney M.</i> 1984 compilation album by Boney M.

Christmas with Boney M. a.k.a. (New) Christmas with Boney M. is an aborted second Christmas album turned into a compilation. The album was exclusively released in South Africa where the group's popularity - contrary to the rest of the world - remained high during the early 80s. The album is a sought-after item for Boney M. collectors since it includes the original recording "Mother and Child Reunion" with Reggie Tsiboe and La Mama which was remixed and overdubbed with additional vocals for a 1985 charity single for Ethiopia, released by Frank Farian Corporation. The album has never been released on CD.

Belfast (Boney M. song) 1977 single by Boney M.

"Belfast" is the second single of the Euro disco band Boney M.'s 1977 album Love for Sale. "Belfast" was the first Boney M. single to feature lead vocals by Marcia Barrett and became their 4th consecutive German chart-topper. In the UK Singles Chart it peaked at No. 8. It remained a popular track in the group's live shows over the years and was re-recorded by Marcia Barrett as a solo track on her album Come Into My Life (2005).

Kalimba de Luna

"Kalimba de Luna" is a 1984 single by Italian musician and drummer Tony Esposito with the vocals of Italian singer Gianluigi Di Franco, taken from the album Il grande esploratore. The single reached no. 6 in the Swiss charts and no. 14 in the Italian charts.

Happy Song

"Happy Song" is a 1983 hit single by Italian disco music act Baby's Gang. The single became a European hit single when covered by German band Boney M. the following year.

Everybody Wants to Dance Like Josephine Baker 1989 single by Boney M.

"Everybody Wants to Dance Like Josephine Baker" is a 1989 single by German band Boney M. Produced by Barry Blue and recorded by original Boney M. members Marcia Barrett, Bobby Farrell, Maizie Williams and singer Madeleine Davis replacing Liz Mitchell, the single was withdrawn when original producer Frank Farian claimed copyright to the name Boney M. and a court case followed. In France, the single was released credited to Bobby Marcia Maizie Matalyne. To benefit from the fuss that was stirred by the record, Farian rushed out the single "Stories" with a competitive line-up featuring original lead singer Liz Mitchell, Reggie Tsiboe and two new girls.

Stories (Boney M. song) 1990 single by Boney M.

"Stories" is a 1990 single by German band Boney M. It peaked at #26 in Switzerland and #94 in the UK. The single was based on an instrumental 1989 underground favourite by Izit, which itself was a re-work of a 1972 recording by Belgian group Chakachas. With added lyrics by Peter Bischof-Fallenstein, "Stories" was released as a response to the withdrawn "Everybody Wants to Dance Like Josephine Baker", released illegally under the group name by original members Marcia Barrett, Bobby Farrell, Maizie Williams and new singer Madeleine Davis. "Stories" launched a short-lived 'official' Boney M. line-up consisting of original lead singer Liz Mitchell and Reggie Tsiboe and two new girls, Sharon Steven and Patty Onoyewenjo. Never appearing on any studio album by the group, Stories was added as a bonus track on the remastered 2007 edition of the group's 1977 album Love for Sale. An unreleased 3:54 mix was used in the video clip for the track.


  1. "Marcia Barrett of Boney M." Marcia Barrett of Boney M. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  2. "Boney M. - Oceans Of Fantasy (Vinyl, LP, Album)". Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  3. Archived 26 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  4. "'Boney M' on Georgia's frontline". BBC News. Retrieved 13 October 2015.