Harlesden Boney M star Liz Mitchell to launch her autobiography
PUBLISHED: 08:00 05 December 2015
Harlesden’s foremost disco queen is to launch her autobiography at a glittering celebration at the House of Commons.
Liz Mitchell is celebrating her diamond anniversary of 40 years as lead singer of 1970’s chart topping group Boney M.
The star of such timeless hits including Daddy Cool, Sunny and Ma Baker is launching her autobiography, Reverend Liz Mitchell’s Book Boney M; The story of my life during the group, before it and after it, co-written with her son Aaron Pemberton.
The story tells of her ascent from poverty and sin to fame and her ordination in the Church of God.
The mother of three said: “It was wonderful to collaborate with Aaron. Of course there were questions that were sometimes difficult to answer but the truth is the truth so you write and deal with it. He’s been absolutely wonderful.”
Last year she was awarded a blue plaque on her former home in Wrottesley Road, where her father Norman Mitchell MBE still lives.
“It’s wonderful, it was such a surprise,” she said. “Rivers of Babylon is still a top selling single of all time. We hold two positions in the all time top ten charts and we are the only group to have two positions.
“I guess it was the first time they were acknowledging that I was from Brent. I hadn’t really noticed anybody noticing before.
“Today with up coming acts the hype is on the present but at the same time the history of music is pretty significant and it’s because of the history that I received the plaque.
Ma Baker, Daddy Cool, Rasputin were number one sellers and big sellers. We’re fortunate to have been one of those top selling bands and in those days it wasn’t a couple of hundred thousand, they were in the millions.”
Reverend Mitchell, following her ordination in 2006, came from Jamaica when she was 11 years old, the eldest of six children to her Pentecostal Christian parents.
The 63-year-old attended Chamberlayne Road School, now Kensal Rise primary, before dropping out of a Westminster College after two days. “I was going to be somebody’s secretary. I would have been in and out of jobs.”
She was discovered aged 14 while singing over a Sam Cooke song on the jukebox at a café where her parents worked and was later invited to audition for Hair.
She eventually moved to Berlin to join the German cast where she replaced Donna Summer. After joining other bands she returned to England in 1974.
In 1976 she returned to Germany to join a new group being assembled by Frank Farian, which would become known as Boney M.
“I wanted to move to Berlin. My dad wasn’t happy about it but my mum persuaded him, he was very cautious,” she said.
Rev Mitchell’s spirituality remains a powerful force within her but she’s not giving up her microphone just yet.
She said: “I don’t have a church and I don’t pay attention to build a church.
“I diplomatically minister to people when I sing a song that has meaning, have lyrics that suggest that people can embrace the spirit of love. I speak positive words before and after.
“My life, or the music of Boney M is the representation of love - of God, mercy and love. Sometimes people may not know exactly what it is that they’re feeling but they do feel the goodness, they love the music of Boney M.
“It’s not empty music, it has been sent to help a lot of people. The Russian people will tell you, or music came through their walls and broke it down, it opened it with Sonny. All this is in Aaron’s book,” she laughed.
She added: “It’s brilliant that we can have a celebration at the House of Commons considering what music means to this country,”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Brent & Kilburn Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.