Sex, drugs and rock royalty stories untold —VH1’s “Behind the Music” had it all.
And now, Paramount+ is reviving the ’90s-era music documentary series, which aired from August 1997 through July 2014, with a fresh peek into the lives of pop culture giants across all musical genres.
The rebooted show — which premieres Thursday, July 29, and will debut new episodes weekly — grants fans of Jennifer Lopez, 52; Bret Michaels, 58; LL Cool J, 53; and more access to the polarizing peaks and pangs of their lives in the limelight.
MTV (one of Paramount+’s networks) will also drop an accompanying podcast weekly for even more behind-the-scenes details.
As we gear up for a new era of insider music scoops, we a look at the most shocking moments from the “Behind the Music” archive.
Milli Vanilli’s misfortune revealedFabrice Morvan (left) and Rob Pilatus (right) of Milli Vanilli ended their friendship of over 20 years once their career took a nosedive. Behind The Music
In 1989, when the truth came out that “Girl You Know It’s True” singers Milli Vanilli were actually lip-synching their hit songs, the duo disappeared in a fog of shame.
But it wasn’t until the “Behind the Music” debut episode on Aug. 17, 1997, that the German-bred performers spoke out on the depths of their downward spiral.
“I wanted to die,” confessed Milli Vanilli’s Rob Pilatus.
After he and bandmate Fabrice Morvan, now 55, were exposed for defrauding fans, the two childhood friends ultimately parted ways in effort to avoid mass ridicule.
In April 1998, Pilatus died of an alcohol and prescription drug overdose at age 32. He and Morvan never mended their friendship.
Billy Joel lost out on $90 millionBilly Joel lost his $90 million lawsuit against his ex-manager and former brother-in-law, who he accused of siphoning him out of millions. Behind The Music
The “Piano Man” himself had a few sad secrets to spill.
In his “Behind the Music” episode, which aired in November 1997, Billy Joel revealed that his former manager and ex brother-in-law Frank Weber had allegedly swindled him out of millions in the 1980s.
“When I started to become financially successful, I wasn’t really handling that aspect of things,” Joel, now 72, admitted.
In 1989, the “New York State of Mind” singer sued Weber for $90 million, citing fraud. But Weber outwitted Joel and the legal system by filing bankruptcy, which caused Joel’s lawsuit to fall apart. The five-time Grammy winner lost — and ultimately settled for around $8 million in 1990.
“The upside is, I’ve been really really fortunate,” Joel said of his financial rebound since the fracas. “The downside is, I got taken advantage of.”
Left Eye lit things upLopes said her arson arrest inspired her lauded verse in TLC hit single “Waterfalls.”Behind the Music
TLC’s April 1999 “Behind the Music” profile — which detailed the monetary hardships and personal trials that the platinum-selling girl group endured — crescendoed with Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ June 1994 arson arrest.
The singer torched the mansion of then-boyfriend NFL player Andre Rison, now 54, following an argument.
“I’d been drinking,” Lopes said. “And I just threw a pair of sneakers in the tub and … lit them on fire.”
She was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. But the ordeal inspired her iconic verse in the hit single “Waterfalls.” Lopes died in a car accident in 2002.
Motley Crüe’s tragic car crashMotley Crüe lead vocalist Vince Neil emotionally recalled accidentally killing friend and rock drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley in a car crash in 1984. Behind The Music
On “Behind the Music: Motley Crüe” in 1998, frontman Vince Neil shared how the infamous rock band’s orgy of indulgence came to a screeching halt for him.
In the episode, Neil opened up about the tragic drunken car crash that resulted in the death of his friend, Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley in December 1984.
“Razzle died in my arms,” said an emotional Neil, who was the driver.
During the accident, the “Dr. Feelgood” singer’s blood alcohol level was 0.17 — well above California’s .08 legal limit.
Neil was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Neil only served 15 days of his sentence and has continued performing with the Crüe on and off over the years.
MC Hammer’s bankruptcy shockerMC Hammer explained how he blew his multimillion-dollar fortune on a massive mansion, classic cars and racehorses. Behind The Music
From rags to riches to rags is the theme of MC Hammer’s August 1997 “Behind the Music” episode.
The “U Can’t Touch This” singer famously squandered his estimated $33 million net worth on a sprawling estate, a collection of over 17 vintage cars, 21 thoroughbred racehorses and a slew of designer accessories in less than five years, culminating in him filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 1996.
And in addition to his extravagant spending, Hammer blamed his misfortunes on his money-grubbing entourage.
“When you’re dealing with lots of money, you can’t watch everybody,” Hammer said, noting that he had a staff of over 200 “friends” on a payroll totaling more than $500,000 a month. “And when you can’t watch everybody, watch out.”
Since making his money missteps, the “Too Legit To Quit” lyricist has pursued careers in ministry and technology investments — but he did suit up in his legendary billowing Hammer pants for Cheetos’ Super Bowl commercial in 2020.
“You gotta take the good with the bad,” he said. “That’s all part of being a celebrity.”