Vangelis, Composer Best Known For ‘Chariots of Fire’ and ‘Blade Runner,’ Dies

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Vangelis earned a #1 album and single with his score for 1981’s Chariots of Fire (Photo via his Facebook page)

Vangelis, the Greek-born electronic music composer, best known for scoring the music for such films as 1981’s Chariots of Fire (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Original Score) and 1982’s Blade Runner, died May 17, 2022. His death at age 79 was announced on May 19. Reports indicate that he was being treated for Covid-19 in a French hospital at the time of his death.

The much-honored composer was born Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou on March 29, 1943 in Agria, a Greek coastal town, and raised in Athens. Chariots of Fire, a true story of two British athletes, set against the backdrop of the 1924 Summer Olympics. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four, including Best Picture. Its theme song was a surprising #1 single on the U.S. Hot 100, helping the soundtrack to top the album chart for four weeks.

The song returned to prominence in 2012 during the medal presentation ceremonies at the London-hosted Olympic games.

Vangelis also scored the music for 1982’s Missing and 1984’s The Bounty, among many other films. His lengthy resume also includes the music for astronomer Carl Sagan’s 1980 television series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.

Fellow electronic music pioneer, Jean-Michel Jarre, wrote, “We will all remember your unique touch and your moving melodies forever.
You & I have always shared the same passion for synthesizers and electronic music since so long. May you Rest In Peace”

Vangelis released well over 50 albums in his career. In 1975, founding Yes member, Jon Anderson, contributed vocals to a song for a Vangelis album, leading to a collaboration among the pair for a series of releases, beginning in 1979, billed as Jon & Vangelis.

Anderson wrote a tribute to the man he called his “mentor”: “I spent all day yesterday whistling after hearing the news about Vangelis, as it would happen, I smiled at him and remembered so much.

“I was also giggling with him in spirit, knowing that his music will live on and on, and our creative work together will never be lost or forgotten…he was my teacher and always smiling whenever we were together… he was the ‘fun’ in my life in those times……and the first multi keyboard player…instant friendship.

“I honestly marveled at his creativity, it was instant symphonic music almost all day long.

“One day I walked in the studio when he was playing and fell to the ground stunned by the music he was playing …it was magnificent…music from another world…I was blown away…

“Everything we did, was a first take…we never talked about what we would create, he would switch on the recording console, smile at me and it just happened, idea after idea…song after song.

“I called it chance music..glorious days with such a true musical master.

“He was my Mentor, and he will live in my heart and soul forever
I know he is very Happy in heaven, love and ‘light’ brother jon 🙏

Related: Musicians and other celebrities we’ve lost in 2022

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  1. 122intheshade
    #1 122intheshade 20 May, 2022, 00:18

    Loved “Friends of Mr. Cairo”. You can’t go wrong referencing Peter Lorre.

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  2. Jarmo Keranen
    #2 Jarmo Keranen 20 May, 2022, 11:39

    How can you write an atricle of him without any mention of Aphrodite’s Child? It was with them he made his first master works in the late 60’s and early 70’s. We are now celebrating many classic records of 1972. Aphrodite’s Child’s “666” is one of them!

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