The passing of a great in electronic music

Sad news:  Earlier this week, Oscar-winning composer and electronic music pioneer Vangelis died at the age of 79.

I first discovered Vangelis in the late 70’s when I worked at a college radio station and we were encouraged to just dig through the record library and play what looked interesting.

He was born in Greece as Vangelis Papthanassiou (a last name that certainly explains why he just went by Vangelis).  His career began playing in local pop and prog-rock bands, such as Aphrodite’s Child.  He later moved to London and released several albums with Yes singer Jon Anderson, producing some excellent songs.

Of course, his breakthrough to the charts came in 1981, when he composed the iconic theme to Chariots of Fire, winning an Academy Award for Best Original Score.  Other film scores by Vangelis include 1982’s Blade Runner, 1983’s Antarctica, and 1992’s 1492: Conquest of Paradise.

His music often evoked images of space, and in 1995, the International Astronomical Union named a minor planet after him – 6354 Vangelis, located between Mars and Jupiter.  I didn’t know there was another planet in there!

Rest in peace, Vangelis.