Demis Roussos

Demis Roussos
Background information
Birth name Artemios Ventouris Roussos
Born June 15, 1946 (1946-06-15) (age 65)
Origin Alexandria, Egypt
Genres Pop, world music, pop-folk, progressive rock
Occupations Vocalist, bass guitarist, guitarist
Instruments Fender Precision Bass
Years active 1963–present
Associated acts Aphrodite's Child, Vangelis, The Idols
Website demisroussos.fr

Artemios (Demis) Ventouris Roussos (Greek: Ντέμης Ρούσος) is a Greek singer and performer, best known for being the main musical partner of movie soundtrack composer Vangelis and a string of international hit records as a solo performer in the 1960s and 1970s . He has sold over 40 million albums worldwide.

Roussos was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt on 15 June 1946 in a family where both father George (Engineer Yorgos Roussos) and mother Olga were of Greek origin. His parents lost their possessions during the Suez Crisis and consequently decided to the move to Greece. [1]

After settling in Greece, Roussos participated in a series of musical groups beginning with The Idols when he was 17, when he met Evanghelios Papathanassiou (later known as Vangelis), and Loukas Sideras, his future bandmates in Aphrodite's Child from 1967 to 1972. After this he joined We Five (not the San Francisco, California folk-rock group), another covers band which had limited success in Greece.

He came to a wider audience in 1968 when he joined progressive rock band Aphrodite's Child, with Vangelis and Sideras, initially as singer but later also playing bass guitar, and achieving massive commercial success in France and Europe in 1968 until 1972. His distinctive operatic vocal style helped propel the band to international notoriety, notably on their final album 666, which became a progressive rock cult classic.

Contents

Biography

After Aphrodite's Child disbanded, Roussos continued to record sporadically with former bandmate Vangelis. In 1970 the two released Sex Power (although the album has also been disputably credited to Aphrodite's Child), also recording the 1977 album Magic together. Their most successful collaboration was "Race to the End", a vocal adaptation of the musical theme from the Oscar winning film Chariots of Fire, and also sung in Spanish as "Tu Libertad", whilst Roussos also guested on the soundtrack to Blade Runner (1982). The song was entitled "Tales of the Future".


Roussos also began a solo career with the song "We Shall Dance". Initially unsuccessful, he toured southern Europe and soon became a leading vocalist. His solo career peaked in the 1970s with several hit albums. His single "Forever and Ever" topped the charts in several countries in 1973 (1976 in U.K.). Other hits were "My Friend the Wind", "My Reason", "Velvet Mornings", "Goodbye, My Love, Goodbye", "Someday" and "Lovely Lady of Arcadia". He was mentioned famously in the television play Abigail's Party and made one of his earliest appearances on English-speaking TV on the Basil Brush Show. Before appearing on the Basil Brush Show in 1980, he had appeared on the Nana Mouskouri show in the UK, singing a duet version of his hit single "Happy To Be On An Island In The Sun". In 1980, Roussos had a hit with a cover of Air Supply's "Lost in Love", sung as a duet with Florence Warner.

He re-recorded his songs in a number of languages, including Japanese, and with his Number One hit The Roussos Phenomenon EP being the first of its kind for an African-born artist in the history of the UK Singles Chart. He was equally successful across Europe and in Latin America, although a gold disc for the LP Demis remains his only success in the United States.

For years Roussos struggled with his weight. In June 1980 he weighed 147 kg. In June 1980 he began a diet in which he lost 50 kg in 10 months.[2] In 1982, he co-authored the book 'A Question of Weight' with his close friend Veronique Skawinska in which he dealt candidly with his struggles with obesity. Roussos suffered a fallow period during the 1980s in terms of hits and his output dried up as he battled clinical depression.

He was one of the passengers on TWA Flight 847 that was hijacked on June 14, 1985. Famously the hijackers even celebrated his birthday with him as they were impressed by having taken as a hostage a man who was a big celebrity in Europe. He was eventually released along with seven others in exchange for the release of Ali Atwa. Sensing a new lease of life, Roussos embarked on a "comeback" with the LP Time, which achieved a fair amount of acclaim and spawned a minor hit single (popular in the discothèques) with the song "Dance of Love".

In 1989 he recorded the song "Young Love", a duet with German singer/songwriter Drafi Deutscher, which was released as a single in Germany and reached No.2 in the famous German music TV show ZDF Hitparade in October of the same year.

The 1990s saw even more substantial releases by Roussos. In 1993, he released Insight (also called Morning has Broken) to general acclaim, although his attempt at a rap song, "Spleen", which appeared on the album, was generally seen as a regrettable idea. After this he teamed up with BR Music in Holland to produce Immortel, Serenade and In Holland, utilising a variety of ethnic and electronic styles.

Roussos continued to record and tour and has appeared in Russia and Dubai. Spring of 2002 saw him do a successful tour of England. A committed follower of the Greek Orthodox faith, he now sings as a guest in a number of churches in Greece and worldwide. From 2006 to 2008, he was part of the "Âge Tendre et Têtes de Bois" tour, a series of concerts featuring French singers from the sixties and seventies

His latest album is the acclaimed "live in Brasil", which documents his return to a country where his popularity led him to record "Voce voce e nada mais" - a huge hit in Portuguese.

A major comeback was planned for 2009, with Roussos releasing a new studio album produced by Marc di Domenico (see di Domenico's French Wikipedia entry), released on May 11. For perhaps the first time in his career, one of his songs has caused considerable controversy. The song "Who Gives a Fuck" which appeared on the album was seen by some as a bold move by Roussos. Later in 2009, Roussos also appeared in a new film based on his life, produced by his daughter Emily.

In popular culture

  • Roussos sang the song "All is Vanity'" on Martyn Ford's 1970s The Bible Album. The lyrics of the song are based on chapter one of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible.[3]
  • The Roussos song "A Flower's All You Need" is featured in both the opening and closing credits for Aldo Lado's 1975 horror film, Night Train Murders.
  • Terry Wogan, who played Demis Roussos records regularly on his BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show in the 1970s, gave Roussos the nicknames "The Squeaking Greek" and "The Singing Tent".
  • His influence in Indian film music industry was also seen. Some of his songs were copied straightaway by the Indian music directors. To mention some , "Lovely Lady of Arcadia" was used in songs "Tumhe chede hawa chanchal (Salami)" and "Yun hi kat jayega safar saath chalne say (Hum Hai Rahi Pyaar Kay)". "You are my only fascination" song was rehashed and made as "Tumse thoda sa main dooor hooon (Pyar Ka Saaya)", while ″Say you love me″ inspired ″Mehbooba mehbooba″ in the movie Sholay.
  • He is the subject of an argument between two main characters in Mike Leigh's, Abigail's Party.

Discography

Aphrodite's Child albums

Solo albums

  • On the Greek side of my mind (1971)
  • Forever and ever (1973)
  • My only fascination (1974)
  • Auf Wiederseh'n (1974)
  • Souvenirs (1975)
  • Happy to be (1976)
  • Die Nacht und der Wein (1976)
  • Kyrila (1977)
  • The Demis Roussos magic (1977)
  • Ainsi soit-il (1977)
  • Los super 2 LP (1977)
  • Demis Roussos (1978)
  • Universum (1979)
  • Man of the world (1980)
  • Roussos live! (1980)
  • Demis (1982)
  • Attitudes (1982)
  • Reflection (1984)
  • Senza tempo (1985)
  • Greater love (1986)
  • The story of... (1987)
  • Come all ye faithful (1987)
  • Le grec (1988)
  • Time (1988)
  • Voice and vision (1989)
  • Insight (also called Morning has Broken) (1993)
  • Demis Roussos in Holland (1995)
  • Immortel (1995)
  • Serenade (1996)
  • Mon île (1997)
  • Auf meinen Wegen (2000)
  • Live in Brazil (2006)
  • Demis (May 2009)

References

  1. ^ Injy El-Kashef (2003-06-25). "Al-Ahram Weekly | Living | Mambo Egyptiano". Weekly.ahram.org.eg. http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/643/li1.htm. Retrieved 2011-07-21. 
  2. ^ André BELLOT. "Aphrodite's Child". Demislegrec.com. http://www.demislegrec.com/anglais/biographie.html. Retrieved 2011-07-21. 
  3. ^ Martyn Ford website[dead link]

External links


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