Vangelis, the Greek composer whose rousing electronic theme music for the Oscar-winning 1981 film “Chariots of Fire” became one of the most loved movie scores, has died at the age of 79. In a post on Twitter, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called Vangelis “a pioneer of the electronic sound.”
Despite enjoying success in the European “prog rock” scene of the early 1970s with Aphrodite`s Child, a band he formed with fellow Greek musician Demis Roussos, Vangelis was uncomfortable with the expectations on a commercial performing artist and largely retreated to the recording studio he created for himself in London. It was there that he wrote the score for “Chariots of Fire,” the story of the triumph of a group of British runners at the 1924 Olympic Games.
The success of “Chariots of Fire” overshadowed his other scores, but he wrote the music for a number of major films including “Missing”, directed by his compatriot Costa-Gavras, and Ridley Scott`s futuristic thriller “Blade Runner.”
He was a prolific composer over many decades, his work ranging from advertising music and film scores to elaborate symphonic-style compositions and “Jon and Vangelis”, his duo with Jon Anderson, lead singer of the prog rock group Yes. But he remained wary of commercial success, once telling an interviewer he never saw music as just an entertainment.