Trivia

This section lists a random selection of interesting, funny, meaningful or downright useless trivia regarding Vangelis and his music.

The name

Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou, or... Vangelis.

  • The name "Vangelis" is a common Greek first name. The "g" is pronounced with a hard G and not J. The stress is on the "gel" part.
  • There are many artists, scientists, sportsmen, politicians, etc. who respond to the name Vangelis. With musicians this can be very confusing and it has been in rare circumstances exploited to bank on Vangelis' reputation.
  • Examples of Vangelis' namesakes are: Vangelis Kokoris plays flute on the album "Orama" by Vassilis Saleas, Vangelis Karipis plays on "Andama" and "Ethnic Moments", Vangelis Skouras plays on the film score Ulysses Gaze and is featured on soundtracks composer by Eleni Karaindrou, Vangelis Papazoglou (leads the Papazoglou set), Vangelis Korakakis plays Greek folk songs, Vangelis Grusakis sings in German on a single called "Abschied", and Vangelis Katsoulis creates contemporary instrumental music. Then there is a Vangelis Roussos (don't ask!) who sculpts and paints. There's even a "Vangelis" in *the* Vangelis' own studio staff. Finally, the director of the Greek National Sea Research Center's Oceanography Department bears a familiar name: Dr. Vangelis Papathanasiou.
  • In the Greek media people are often referred by their family name only. Some famous people who share the family name (none of whom are related to Vangelis) include: Myrto Papathanassiou a soprano singer based in Greece, Thanasis Papathanasiou a film director of Greek films, and Giannis Papathanassiou who held the post of Greek's Economy and Finance minister until 2009.
  • As for the origins of the names, Evangelos is made from two Greek words: Bringer (angelos) of good (ev/ef) news. His last name, Papathanassiou refers to the words Papa (priest) and Thanassis (immortel). Together that would make Papathanassi, but descendants of such person would be called Papathanassiou.

Some quotes by famous people

  • Oscar winning film composer Hans Zimmer wrote in an answer to a question about his favorite composers:
    I love Sting, Vangelis, NIN among others.
  • French composer Jean Michel Jarre replied what he thinks of Vangelis in the Portuguese magazine "Promusica" (1997):
    I like him a lot and would like to work with him some day. We both have Latin roots but he has a more symphonic posture. I on the other hand am more minimalist as you can find from my new album.
  • Founder of German band Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese said in Keyboard magazine (January 1996):
    ... But there are great synthesizer scores, and great symphonic scores. Apart from our own work, Vangelis and (Hans) Zimmer have also shown brilliantly how it perfectly works in both directions.
  • Greek instrumental composer Yanni responded about Vangelis in an interview in "iO Pages" (March/April 1996):
    I have a big respect for that man. Already as a kid I was a fan of his music. He is very creative and has a lot of imagination. He is one of the most important composers of our time. He is original and creates a specific atmosphere. I know there are some similarities between us and not only that we are both Greek and both use our first names. Sadly I have never met him, although we have mutual friends. I have heard, he is a rather closed man. I would say this: he speaks through his music.
  • Suzanne Ciani said on Spanish Radio 3 when asked of her opinion on Vangelis:
    Vangelis actually plays on one of my albums. On 'Velocity of Love', not on that song but on that album. So we are friends. I've known him for a long time. I like his music very much, because it has an emotional source.
  • Japanese composer Kitaro said when asked about his early roots in New Age music, and his current diversion from it:
    Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis are also early composers and also have a sound of their own.
  • Paul Young says in his FAQ at his official website:
    "I did sing on the Vangelis album Voices; I really enjoyed it as I am in awe of him as an artist."
    Paul has mentioned in other interviews that he recorded several songs for the Voices album, and that they were omitted from the album's final release.
  • Vocalist Jon Anderson said in an interview for Fanphare:
    I went to one of his (Kitaro) concerts in LA with my good friend Vangelis. Vangelis said Kitaro made some pretty music and that I should check him out. I was then introduced to Kitaro backstage after the concert.
    Jon later recorded various songs with Kitaro and toured together with him. On joined concerts they also played some famous Jon and Vangelis songs like "State of Independence", "I Hear You Now" and "I'll Find My Way Home".

Music videos

    Official "Conquest of Paradise" clip / Henry Maske version

  • Two video clips of "Conquest of Paradise" exist.
    The first was recorded in 1992, and includes scenes from the film as well as images of a choir, Vangelis behind the piano and synths and with Philippe Colonna behind the mixing desk. These images were shot in Vangelis' extraordinary Epsilon studio in Paris, which was mainly made of glass.
    The second is a German clip consisting only of black and white images of boxer Henry Maske, and was made for German television to accompany the single re-release due to Maske's use of the song.
  • Official "Voices" clip / Henry Maske version

  • There was also a German clip for "Voices" featuring Maske, but it's not certain whether it was official. It showed people stunning with fire while standing in the water.
    In Greece a clip was broadcast for "Voices" that was announced as official, showing images of runners and other sportsmen in action, combined with landscapes, fancy imagery and a lot of art frames.
  • There where 3 clips for Jon and Vangelis songs:
    "I'll Find my Way Home" had a clip created by the BBC for "Top of the Pops" and featured Jon and Vangelis pretending to play piano and banjo to the original recording of the music, in front of an enthusiastic audience. The track doesn't contain any piano or banjo sounds. It's lovely. "The Friends of Mr. Cairo" includes scenes from old films, pictures of Jon and Vangelis, as well as some scenes where they both play mean American gangsters during prohibition. "I Hear you Now" features a ballet dancer moving between clouds and some pictures of Jon and Vangelis and giant keyboards.

    "I Hear You Now" / "Friends of Mr Cairo" / "I'll Find My Way Home" (BBC)

  • More clips:
    • "China", is technically not a video clip, since it's not connected to a specific single release, promoting the entire album instead. It features excerpts from the album, including "the Dragon" and "Tao of Love". The images are impressive: Vangelis and an assistant at work inside Nemo studio, busy with the recording of the album. Some images actually show the recording of the very take which was used on the album.
    • "Chariots of Fire", includes images from the film and Vangelis playing the piano, smoking a cigarette.
    • "Sauvage et Beau" (1996), released to promote the "Portraits" compilation album features a pretty lady running alone through Venice in impressively lit slow motion images.
  • China montage / "Chariots of Fire" clip / "Sauvage et Beau" clip (Portraits release)

Other trivia

  • A few links with a few other composers: Philippe Colonna worked for Eric Serra. Tony Oxley drummed in "Mahuvishna Orchestra" with Jan Hammer. Frederick Rousseau, Xavier Belanger and Daniel Vanzetto worked with Jean Michel Jarre. Demis Roussos in the early nineties worked with Ed Starink, who covered a lot of Vangelis' music and sold it on albums like "Conquest of Paradise 2000", "Synthesizer Greatest" and "Twilight, the music of Vangelis". Jon Anderson worked with Mike Oldfield, Deep Forrest, Kitaro and Alan Parsons. Milva sang for Klaus Doldinger. Krisma had Hans Zimmer as band member for a while. Frederick Rousseau worked with Alexandre Desplat, Eric Levi (of Era), etc...
  • Jon Anderson says he met Vangelis by just going to his place, and ringing the door. Jon was the lead singer of the famous prog band "Yes", and had become intrigued by Vangelis' music for "L'Apocalypse des Animaux".
  • There used to be a "Blade Runner" computer game for the Commodore 64, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC home computers that was based on the music by Vangelis. This game produced by CRL was actually based on the movie but due to unknown reasons the film producers in the end decided to refuse to sell the rights. To be able to go ahead and distribute the game CRL changed their plan and credited the game to be a "Video game interpretation of the film score by Vangelis".
    It ended up being sold as such in shops, with this credit, visibly printed on the packaging.
  • There was also the "Blade Runner" 3D video game developed by Westwood Studios in 1997 for the Windows PC platform. The video game featured cover versions of Vangelis' film score and was recreated by musician Frank Klepacki.
  • British writer James Herbert wrote in his novel "the Magic Cottage":
    "...We made it to the trees, running as if to a Vangelis soundtrack, motion dreary slow, exertion exaggerated."
  • The main theme of Vangelis' rarest release, "Sex Power" appeared in a different form somewhere in the "l'Apocalypse des Animaux" series. It also appeared in a "Les Animaux des Frederic Rossif" videotape.
  • Aphrodite's Child also some early video clips, mostly in color:
    • "Rain and Tears" includes Vangelis playing organ and flute. (color, see AC image gallery on this site)
    • "I Want to Live" shows mainly images of Demis Roussos singing, and sometimes the band playing.
    • "Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall" has the three band members walking through the streets of Paris with their beards in the wind. Demis opens his mouth as if he is singing the song. They also give out autographs to fans in the street. Appeared on the Roussos Phenomenon DVD
  • Other TV appearances include a performance with Johnny Halliday at the "Smet" TV show and a performance of It's Five O Clock at the Sacha Distel show, both in black and white and released on the Demis Roussos DVD. Another clip of "Rain and Tears" shows the band again, in color (see AC gallery). There was also another It's Five O Clock TV appearance in black & white (see AC gallery).
  • The "World Music Awards" ceremony presents prices each year to the most commercially successful artists of each country. Vangelis was best selling Greek artist in 1995, 1996 and subsequent years but he never attended the "World Music Awards" ceremonies in Monaco to collect his prize. He also refrained from sending his thanks on video, as most other pop artists did. An excerpt of the clip of "Conquest of Paradise" was shown instead.
    The years before it was usually won by Greek new age pianist Yanni who showed up by performing live every time he got the chance.
  • Films which use previous music by Vangelis include "the Year of Living Dangerously" (L'Enfant), "My Life" (Chariots of Fire), "Someone to Watch over me" (Symphonic version of Memories of Green), "Warriors of Virtue" (Song of the Seas).
  • "Moxica and the House"
  • A little typo on the French Conquest of Paradise 7", B-side. Also there is a Direct LP (first German pressing) that thinks track 1 is called "Motion of the Starts" (printed on the record's label) A sticker on an Italian promotional 7" for "And When the Night Comes" screams "Gon and Vangelis" as being the performing duo.
  • Vangelis was accused of having plagiarized the main theme from Chariots of Fire. During the trial (in which Vangelis was fully cleared of all accusations) Vangelis showed his methods of composing by setting up his gear in court and improvising new music with the entire courtroom as audience.
  • Correcting some common mistakes:
    • Walhalla was NOT a concert but a Dutch radio interview, where Vangelis demonstrates some devices in his studio.
    • Vangelis did NOT write music for the film "Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" starring Gary Oldman, but for a staging of the play on which this film is based.
    • The films "Russicum" (Aka "Third Solution") and "Year of Living Dangerously" do NOT have original music but only use previously known songs ("Menousis" of "Odes" and "L'Enfant" from "Opera Sauvage" respectively).
    • The film "Nosferatu a Venice" only uses cover versions of "Mask" as soundtrack. NO original score by Vangelis.
    • Vangelis did not write music for the film "Liebeskamp des Totesgodin". It's unclear where the rumor comes from but there is a "Vangelis" (one from the many in Greece with this name) doing assistant camera duties according to the credits.
    • Danny Beckerman is *most likely not* a pseudonym for Vangelis. He's a composer, orchestrator, producer, etc.
    • "Diner Les Bustes" is often listed as a Vangelis score, but this short 20 minute film simply used music from Heaven and Hell as background music. Vangelis was not involved.
    • People who were at the Drury Lane concert all insist it was not April 28 as most of the old resources claim, but April 22 instead.
  • The running sequence in the "Chariots of Fire" film is said to have been filmed with Vangelis' "L'Enfant" (Opera Sauvage album) playing. Vangelis of course recorded new music for this titles sequence, but the "L'Enfant" track still made it into the film. When the players reach Paris for the first time and enter the stadium, a brass band marches through the field, and first plays a modified, acoustic performance of the "L'Enfant" track in the background.
  • There was a misprint of Polydor's release of Jean Michel Jarre's "Rendez Vous" album (1986) as the track list and artwork including print on the CD claimed the Jarre album while the music on the disc itself actually was Vangelis' Chariots of Fire. Obviously this is an extremely rare collectible for both camps.
  • Vangelis wrote the foreword to a book called "Music & New Technology - The MIDI connection" by Gabriel Jacobs & Panicos Georghiades. He writes about the question he is often asked, "what does he think about keyboards, synthesizers and modern technology", and explains the way he thinks about using them in two pages. Read it here.
  • It's hard to find examples of Vangelis' endeavors in painting and drawing, but in Greece the book "H DIHGHSH TOU IASONA" ("I diigisi tou Iasona", meaning "The Tale of Iasonas") by Vasilis Vasilikos (ISBN: 960-236-503-x) was published in the mid nineties. It is now sadly out of print. The book contains prose with a number of color and black & white illustrations by Vangelis:

  • In the spring of 2001 Vangelis designed a logo for the "Pentathlon Pro Célébrités" games, another rare chance to see something of Vangelis' graphical output as an artist.
  • There are a number of albums that are rumored to have Vangelis' input, but are uncredited and denied by involved parties. Examples include: Jon Anderson's 1975 solo album "Olias of Sunhillow" which some may see it fits with Vangelis' style, and would likely appeal to some Vangelis fans. The album was even released with a "Jon & Vangelis" sticker by some Scandinavian marketeers. Vangelis is credited for "his Energy", but that seems to be the end of this in terms of collaboration.
    Another (earlier) Anderson work, "The Sky and his Shadow" was actually never released but appeared on bootlegs, and was supposed to have Vangelis playing on it. But no credible evidence or even hints point to this direction, and it therefore does not deserve to be used in the "appearances" section of this site.
    Several other albums were recorded or mixed in Vangelis' studios, but have no input from Vangelis himself. Frederick Rousseau's "Oxygene 3, Le Sous Bois" and "Oxygene 6, La Foret" were recorded in Vangelis' Athens studio while "Mo" was mixed, edited and mastered at Vangelis' Paris "Epsilon Lab". "Woods" has a thanks to Vangelis in the credits but that seems to be all.
    Jazz fusion drummer Tony Oxley (who appeared on the "Dragon" and "Hypothesis" LPs) released a highly avant-garde album called "February Papers", which he recorded at Vangelis' Nemo studio, February 1977. Italian band "Le Orme" recorded "Verita Nascoste" at Nemo, also without Vangelis' input. Of course, the two albums by Italian rock group Chrisma (aka Krisma) where also recorded at Nemo with Niko Papathanassiou as producer, but the rumors about Vangelis playing on them are so persistent - despite denials by Keith Spencer Allen and Niko - both these two albums are listed as unconfirmed entries in the appearances section of this site.
    Other albums recorded at Nemo Studios without Vangelis' input include albums by Italian singer Bernardo Lanzetti, and the album "Rubbish" by the band "Ella & The Angels".

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