Vangelis: I’ve never understood the phenomenon of celebrity

Vangelis
Vangelis (Image credit: Getty)

Vangelis Papathanassiou says he’s never been comfortable with being branded a celebrity.

From his days with Aphrodite’s Child through to solo success, Vangelis’ career has spanned five decades.

And while his immense body of work covers various musical genres and styles, he admits he was uncomfortable being thrust into the spotlight in the 80s when he enjoyed chart success with former Yes vocalist Jon Anderson.

He exclusively tells Prog magazine: “I never understood the phenomenon of celebrity. I wasn’t interested in being photographed or reading about myself in the newspapers.

“Although there were hit singles and so on, I was very uncomfortable about participating in all the promotion that such success demanded,

“I didn’t enjoy appearing on shows like Top Of The Pops. I was very uneasy with it. At the same time I am fond of pieces such as Horizon.”

Vangelis has written soundtracks for various films throughout his career, including scores for Blade Runner and Chariots Of Fire – with the latter netting him an Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1981.

He continues: “It’s very rewarding for me to know that through the years, the music for Chariots Of Fire seems to have given, and still does, so much pleasure and a feeling of optimism to so many people around the world.”

Vangelis’ latest album was this year’s Rosetta – which he composed in conjunction with the European Space Agency to celebrate the Rosetta space mission.

And Vangelis says he was happy to get involved as the worlds of science and music are intrinsically linked.

He adds: “My first encounter with space projects was when I met Carl Sagan. He used some of my music in his television series Cosmos.

My relationships with both NASA and the European Space Agency have been long ones. For me, it was inevitable that I would one day join this scientific world. I have always considered that music is science. Period.”

Rosetta has been nominated for Best New Age Album at the 59th Grammy Awards which will take place at The Staples Center, Los Angeles, on February 12.

Vangelis is the cover star of the new issue of Prog magazine, out now in print and via TeamRock+.

Far out: Vangelis on the science and power of music

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.