A brief history of illegal releases of Vangelis' music.
Bootlegging is of all times, but the means and goods being "smuggled" keep changing over time. In the seventies and eighties, fans traded audience recordings of concerts on tapes and cassettes. In the nineties bootleg CDs were pressed and sold, sometimes in legitimate music stores. They contained unreleased soundtrack music, LPs that didn't make it to CD (yet), or they compiled the B side tracks from singles from the past. During the first decade of the new millennium, burning (and sadly also selling) private CD-Rs of rare recordings became popular, while at present those recordings are mostly shared as "movies" on YouTube, or exchanged in digital format through other channels.
The Elsewhere site's focus will always remain on Vangelis' official output. But with the wide variety of illegal recordings in any shape or form intruding into the official market - and confusing customers - we can't ignore this unofficial segment completely. Therefore we list some of the most seen or talked about "products" in the illegal domain.
This section contains information on the existence of these items. It is not in any way intended as encouragement to buy or sell those products. To the contrary. Bootlegs are not approved by Vangelis, nor does the money paid for them end up with those who creatively or financially invested in them, in other words, made them possible.
Sometimes an album is released through legitimate channels, but then its legitimacy is contested in court. Once the album is banned, it's an illegal release, but not quite in the way other bootlegs are.
The two banned LPs "The Dragon" and "Hypothesis" were both released by a legitimate label. Vangelis however won court cases over this music being released without his permission and being released under his name. The jam sessions by Vangelis with some other musicians involved were released in the early eighties to cash in on the success of Vangelis' own releases.
Because they were exclusively sold through normal channels, (even after being officially banned) these albums are also listed in the normal albums section of this site.
When the CD era came, Bootleggers of course took it upon themselves to release bootleg or counterfeit CDs, taking their recordings from these LPs. See below for such releases.
Bootlegs are generally defined as illegal releases of material that was not officially released by the artist. The contents may exist of leaked unreleased soundtrack music, audience recordings of live concerts, recordings from LPs that did not make it to a CD release, or music compiled from other sources (other than official CDs by an artist)
This was often done for profit, pressed on CD with semi professional artwork, which can be seen as a distinction from the fan compiled material often referred to as "private releases".
The following releases could be considered the most famous Vangelis bootlegs:
The very first of the bootlegs, contains selections of the original score, was sold in Hollywood in 1982 just before the film was released. Rumors of the soundtrack not being sold made it popular instantly.
The most famous of the Blade Runner bootlegs, and certainly the first on CD. Made in 1992, after themes but two years before the official Vangelis CD. Released in a limited, numbered edition of 2000 copies on the "Off World Music" label. It was well distributed via some of the bigger CD shops in the States and also through on-line music stores. It was also very well made, with the appearance of a professional CD. The sound quality was rather poor, introducing noise, distortion and a poor audio spectrum. But at least they were the Vangelis recordings! Quite some tracks are still unreleased, even on Blade Runner Trilogy, and some that were are longer than the album versions. Many fans regard it's quality as very listenable, and sometimes prefer it because the music is 'pure', compared to the official Warner release from 1994, not having been recompiled, edited or mixed with dialogue from the movie. All selections are as they were in the film itself (though often more complete, where versions in the film fade out, the CD continues).
A bootleg CD masquerading as a Romanian CD, but in fact produced for the American market, profiting from the rarity of the OWM bootleg. Quite likely sourced from the OWM CD, but slightly processed to sound a bit better but the quality is not even slightly close to the official 1994 release though. The overall track selection is slightly different, but all of the Vangelis tracks have been included.
A 2CD from the makers of the OWM Blade Runner release. This time the OWM brand stands for "One-world-music". The CDs contain lots of Vangelis music, as well as the traditionals that appeared in the movie as if they were played on the set. The sound quality is mostly pretty bad, except for the tracks where they replaced the leaked material with the same tracks taken from the official Themes release. Often discussed is a long track on the album which does not seem to originate from the mastertapes for the film. It is a 20 minute compilation of themes from the film, appearing elsewhere on the album. It led to speculations amongst fans that it was intended for possible release on an album, but really seems to be mixed and edited by the bootleggers.
A Jon Anderson bootleg with his long improvised instrumental recording from 1975, which was never released. Some rumors (and they are probably actually just rumors!) say it was in fact recorded with Vangelis. Highly debatable, but worth a mention here.
One of Vangelis' early albums released during the LP era, was for a long time not available on CD. In this period, no less than two professionally pressed bootlegs were released, their audio sources from the LP. An official CD has however been released in Greece in 1996 so these bootlegs could now technically be considered as "counterfeit" CDs. The one and only official release is Polygram Greece's CD on the Vertigo label (532 783-2). Problem with the Greek CD however is that it was mastered with extra reverb, an alteration not appreciated by many fans. The bootlegs retain the original LP sound. Complete with clicks and static noise.
A professional looking release from 1997, but riddled with goofs and glitches. The Cosmos theme was taken from a bad quality LP, while it is available in good quality on Heaven and Hell CDs (and others), the Fete Sauvage track is actually from Ignacio, the Sex Power track is the opening theme, which is certainly not the main theme the track title promises. Most embarrassing however is the title which seems to position it as a follow up to Polydor's famous "Themes" album. Confusing, since an official "Themes II" album already existed in France and Belgium since 1995. The official "Themes II" album however contains no unreleased tracks. This bootleg does. The most interesting bit was always the excerpt from a preview version of the "Blade Runner" movie, which had the "Love Theme" scene with Harrison Ford and Sean Young set to completely different music by Vangelis. On the CD you can hear dialogue and sound effects play over the music, but the recording was unique. The release of the "Blade Runner Trilogy" CD however in 2007 made this track quite redundant, as it appeared on disk 2 titled "Desolation Path". Other interesting tracks on the "Themes 2" bootleg are the end titles from the "The Plague" ("La Peste") movie (sadly in mono), and edited (by the bootleggers) musical excerpts from the "Bitter Moon" and "Francesco" sound, where recordings for both seem taken from the laserdisc releases of the movies.
A bootleg by the famous Japanese
bootleg label "Highland", widely distributed in 1999. It offers a recording of Vangelis' free outdoor concert
in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, back in the summer of 1991. The audio was taken from
the TV broadcast of the event, but the sound quality is abominable, with
unnecessary noise and even digital drop outs. It also suffers from the few
short interruptions the live broadcast had due to technical problems.
The graphics used in the booklet at not from Eureka but from the earlier Athens' "Song for Athens" concert, which promoted Greece's bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. The music of the event wasn't very interesting to begin with: Most tracks where edits from the album versions, rather than new performances. Vangelis played along with these trakcs, but those added parts were almost completely inaudible on TV. The closing song was a special version of Hymn that later appeared in a slightly different mix and edit on the Portraits compilation albums. The only rarity left on this bootleg is the short opening tune of the event.
In 1998 the Japanese progressive rock bootlegging specialists of the underground "Hightland" label released "Another Page Of life". This time they combined the recordings of the first unreleased version of Page of Life with the 1986 demo recordings by Jon and Vangelis. The early version of Page of Life had leaked in the shape of a cassette, and contained some tracks that never appeared on the final album. The 1986 demo tapes were random recordings by Jon & Vangelis which simply never materialized into a release. In face, two of those tracks were later re-recorded by Anderson and released as a solo artist, but a leaked tape recording of those Jon & Vangelis tracks shows where they originated.
There's some noise on this CD, the higher part of the sound spectrum is pretty much absent, but admittedly these are the best quality versions of this music available.
Much of the Page Of Life music has in fact been released in 1998 Omtown edition of Page of Life, but it was edited slightly different there. The one thing truly missing from the Omtown version was the instrumental intro to "Change we Must", here included as "Open Up".
Historically, the 1986 demo recordings have no real connection with Page of Life, but it makes sense to sell them along with the other rare Jon & Vangelis tracks from that era.
The third Vangelis related bootleg, by the Japanese "Highland records" label features an audience recording of the concert Vangelis performed in Paris in 1978. The bootleg does not feature the entire recording: The bootleggers edited it down to make the results fit on only one CD. The quality of the recording is comparable to the tapes that were traded amongst fans in the '80s and early '90s. The bootleg was quite widely distributed in Japan. From the outside it's not very clear that this is in fact a low quality bootleg, instead of a regular album. Be warned!
The famous Russian "Storm" label is big on the Russian black market label, mostly counterfeiting normal albums. It seems unlikely that they would actually release a bootleg as specifically targeted at completist fans as this one is, so the name of the label was probably falsely used by others for this production.
This pressed CD contains the never released music from the 1996 Greek movie "Kavafis". The sound has simply been taken straight from the film, so you hear monologues and some dialogues over it. It was often claimed that voices were removed from the recordings, but in most cases the music simply fades out where too much dialogue was mixed in the film's soundtrack. At other points, several such cues were edited together to suggest it continues, tampering in fact with Vangelis' compositions.
The sound quality of the CD is certainly very good. The sound is clear, it has lots of high tones, hardly any noise with also no sign of typical noise removal processing, so the source must have been very good. Certainly better than the Hifi stereo VHS tapes that were traded around at the time. They must have had better sources.
The CD doesn't contain all cues from the film, but there is a bonus track to make up for this, in the form of the "Night of Poetry" concert's reading of a poem by Kavafis. This music that Vangelis played for this poem seems thematically linked to the film, even though this concert took place 5 years before the release of the film. Intriguing. The sound quality of this track as well is surprisingly good.
A bootleg often confused for a legit release, mostly because of its wide distribution in the west European CD scene is this bootleg of the rare Sex Power LP, coupled with the (less) rare Fais Que Ton Reve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit LP, and confusingly (because not properly listed on the artwork) a couple from Vangelis' early '60s days in Greece with The Forminx.
When CD-R burners became available to everyone, the commercially produced bootlegs made way for fan made disks, often compiling rare material from old vinyl singles, editing unreleased music from movies,
Every once in a while a fan release is turned into a bootleg, as happened with the complete Alexander score. Fans were trading a private release (only) compiled from recordings taken from the DVD of the movie, selectively mixing surround channels to avoid (too much of) the movie's dialogue in the recording. After circulating among fans for a while, this recording suddenly appeared on a commercial bootleg CD.
The private releases that were made (and traded among fans) on CD-Rs are now often traded online in the shape of mp3s or lossless audio formats, and in more recent years many more private releases appeared circulating purely in digital format on the web.
Some of the most well known private releases include:
The earliest private releases come from the early 90s when burning CD-Rs was still a rare privilege for people with access to very expensive studio equipment. Fans compiled some of their favorite recordings from various sources, mainly from films, the audio taken from videotapes and laserdiscs. They compiled it on 2 CD recordables and called the collection "Euterpe". The audio quality wasn't great, but in those days, it was pretty much the only way to get acquainted with such Vangelis scores, since many of the movies were rare and the source material could only be obtained from certain countries, or had gone out of print all together. Tracks include musical excerpts from the 1492 laserdisc, bit and pieces from art and nature films by Frederic Rossif and Jacques Cousteau, bits from Antarctica, The Bounty, The Plague, Missing, Ace Up My Sleeve, Bitter Moon, etc.
Rarities was another early CD recordable, made in pretty much the same time frame, but instead compiling a selection of rare singles, B-sides and other rare tracks including the unreleased parts of See You Later (leaked in the shape of a test pressing of the LP). The audio quality was quite good.
The Memoires CD-Rs were for a long time a much sought after collection of recordings. The series started in fact with an expansion of the "Rarities" CD-R, with slightly altered sound. Added reverb for instance did somewhat alter the purity of the recording, changing the overall production of the tracks. Other volumes followed, focusing on the "Sex Power" and "Fais Que Ton Reve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit" LPs on volume 2, the audience recording (previously traded by fans on audio cassettes) of the London Drury Lane concert on volume 3, Bitter Moon and some unreleased Blade Runner tracks (each without dialogues but with in-movie sound effects) on volume 4, Blade Runner again on volume 5, the French Sophia Antipolis concert in the well known (audio cassettes again) audiences recording on volume 6, and with a volume 7 seemingly missing, the l'Arbre de Vie TV interview on volume 8. Volume 9 had the "The Man and his Music" tv interview where Vangelis played more unknown music to demonstrate his live performance technique.
Long after the success of the legendary OWM bootlegs "Blade Runner" and "The Bounty" some unknown fans started producing their own private releases on CD-Rs of Vangelis music, pretending to add to the legacy of those early bootlegs.
These CD-Rs did not meet the expectations the stolen label name raised. There were no leaked sources for these movies, so recordings of the movies were used instead. The often mono recordings where altered with stereo choruses or shifted phases to appear somewhat stereo. Worse, in order to pretend that those recordings did not contain the movie's dialogues, such excerpts where edited, crossfading to edit out any part with dialog with the part after. This cuts out good bits of music and ruins the music's overall narrative. These mangled results would have been very short. Therefore, many parts of those compositions, originally lively, dynamic and spontaneous, were now looped and repeated, resulting in extremely monotonous derivatives. In some extreme cases, one or two fragments of only a few seconds long were repeated intro tracks of several minutes. These home-made edits have little to do with Vangelis' originals. Sadly however, with YouTube and the peer-to-peer download scene keeping some of these "released" alive, they sometimes still circulate, confusing unaware downloaders who take them for real Vangelis tracks. Embarrassing at best.
Examples of these fake OWM releases include "Bittermoon", "Neurenberg", "1492", "Picasso", "Chariots of Fire", "Antarctica", "Cousteau", "Missing", "the Plague", "La Fete Sauvage", "Morandi" and others. Avoid!
This release from 1997 (a CD-R by Lightnet Multimedia) was not an audio CD like most private releases, but a multi media CD-Rom, for use on computers. It existed mostly from information compiled from the web with texts and/or images taken (without permission) from elsew.com, the Vangelis Lyrics site, the Vangelis Odyssey page, and other Vangelis sites in those days. The producers added a large number of low quality mp3 files. The result was presented in a browsable structure on Windows (32 bit) PCs. It was released in Spanish and English, and privately distributed among fans.
Later on, a second edition was released, with more sound and more info added.
Blade Runner is Probably the most bootlegged, recompiled, re-envisioned work in the history of music. After the famous OWM and Gongo, bootlegs, the private releases started to appear. And again, and again. It's as if every fan of Blade Runner by now recompiled the source material shared among all these bootlegs, and made shared the results. In the end, almost all of these releases can be traced back to a few instances of leaked material (from the film studios?), edited recordings from the DVD and alike. If you browse the shady places of the web or connect with fans to share material, you'll find 1 disk, 2 disk, 3 disk, 4 disk and even 5 disk versions of essential the same 1 or 2 hours of Blade Runner music. We'll pass on listing any of it, here...
... and focus instead of what's released legally: The New American Orchestra recording from the 80s, which wasn't the original recording by Vangelis, but it was properly licensed. Then there was the soundtrack album in 1994, which was incomplete but had some unused tracks with some additional cues. Finally in 2007 the Blade Runner Trilogy album came out, a 3 disk set containing the 1994 album, an extra CD of unreleased (and some of it unused) music made for the film, and an extra CD called "BR 25", which was essentially a new album of music inspired by Blade Runner. Anything else you might encounter is either bootleg or private release.
Counterfeit albums are CDs that are reproductions of legal CDs. They do not provide any unreleased material for fans, but try to cash in on the success of official releases. Those cheap carbon copies sometimes intruded into legitimate CD stores, but often were sold on markets, in the streets, etc.
East European countries used to almost exclusively sell counterfeit releases, initially because their Warshaw Pact economies didn't protect the original copyrights of these albums. Later because the originals were too expensive, or simply because those big counterfeiting channels existed and didn't immediately stop existing just because the official versions came into their reach.
Since most counterfeit CDs look almost exactly like their official counterparts, and were sold pretty much "under the radar", this site won't be listing such releases, with only a few exceptions:
One notable counterfeit release however was a Mythodea CD, which reached the illegal Russian markets before it was properly released in the west. Some of these fake copies made their way to European and American markets, filling the void where an audience didn't like to wait too much for the official release.
The recording was probably copied from the promotional CDs that Sony supplied in a cardboard sleeve even before the concert performance in Athens, many months before the proper album release. Whether this is a proper counterfeit CD is debatable, since the Russians replaced the artwork by something of their own design, but it was made to look like an official release as much as possible.
The banned "The Dragon" album was illegally released on CD in Hungary, in the early years of the new millennium. Along with this CD they released other Vangelis albums like "666" (credited to "Vangelis featuring Aphrodite's Child" and cut a little short to make it fit on one CD), "Earth" and "Apocalypse des Animaux". All were given new or at least revised artwork. None of course were properly licensed.
Around the turn of the millennium, when mp3s became popular but could not be purchased legally, an underground scene temporarily flourished, which sold CD-ROMs with large collections of mp3 files. Although the professionally produced CDs were mostly created and sold in east European countries, some of these CDs were smuggled out and sold on markets and on the streets also in western countries.
Some of these CDs were various artist compilations containing mp3 folders for one or more Vangelis albums. Sometimes they focussed on Vangelis' music exclusively, compiling many of Vangelis' albums, or even pretending to have the entire Vangelis catalog. Some included rips from bootleg CDs along the official albums.