The music world has just lost one of its most influential figures. Deadline reports Vangelis, the composer behind the scores of blade runner and chariots of fire, died in France at the age of 79. He broke new ground in music by blending synthesizers with jazz, orchestral work, and other styles normally at odds with each other. He helped the film industry break away from its addiction to classic or pop soundtracks, and joined artists like Brian Eno and Jean-Michel Jarre in defining both electronic music as a whole as well as subgenres such as than ambient and new-age.
Vangelis is synonymous with science fiction thanks to its iconic blade runner soundtrack, but he was also a supporter of space exploration who produced several albums in tribute to the great missions. He helped score Carl Sagan’s 1980 Cosmos television series, wrote myth to celebrate NASA’s Mars Odyssey mission in 2001 and produced a tribute to the Comet Rosetta probe in 2016. His latest full album, 2021’s Juno to Jupiter, graced its namesake spacecraft as it shed more light on the gas giant. He was awarded the NASA Public Service Medal in 2003.
The musician was born in Greece in 1943 as Evangelos Odessey Papathanassiou. He began his musical career in pop and soundtracks in the mid-1960s, but it was his forays into 1970s electronic music that helped develop his signature style. Cosmos, chariots of fire and blade runner cemented its reputation, while large-scale projects like 1492: Conquest of Paradise and alexander attracted more attention.
Vangelis leaves a strong legacy. In addition to his role in Hollywood, you can hear his influence on electronic artists like Robert Rich and Steve Roach. Even modern performers outside of its core genre, such as Armin Van Buuren and throw the jewels El-P, name him a hero. He will be missed, but you may hear echoes of his sound for decades.
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