Greek singer, songwriter and musician, Demis Roussos, is remembered as a band member of the progressive rock music act Aphrodite’s Child and for his solo 70s and 80s hits such us Forever and Ever, Goodbye and Quand je t’aime. He sold more than 60 million albums worldwide.
The Greek Herald takes a look back at his life.
Roussos was born and raised in a Greek family, in Alexandria, Egypt. His father was a guitarist and an engineer and his mother played in an amateur theatrical Greek group together with her husband.
He studied music and participated in the Greek Church Byzantine choir and later he was influenced by the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Alexandria and by jazz, traditional Arab and Orthodox music.
His family moved to Greece after losing belongings during the Suez Crisis.
Career and Work
After settling in Greece, Roussos participated in many musical bands. Idols was his first, at the age of 17. There he came across Vangelis Papathanasiou and Luke Sideras, the artists with whom he later formed Aphrodite’s Child. It was in 1967, when he became known to a wider audience as a singer of the band but later also as a bass guitarist.
After attempting to go to London, the band’s members were forced to go to Paris, France where they decided to stay, signing a contract with Philips Records.
They achieved commercial success in France and in other parts of Europe from 1968 to 1972.
After Aphrodite’s Child disbanded, Roussos released with Vangelis the film score album Sex Power, and later in 1977, the album Magic. Their most successful collaboration was Race to the End. Roussos was also a guest on Vangelis’ soundtrack to the movie Blade Runner.
We Shall Dance was the song that marked the beginning of his single career. He did a European tour and he reached his peak in the 1970s.
It was in 1973 that his song Forever and Ever climbed to the top of many music charts. He created many other major hits such as My Friend The Wind, My Reason, Velvet Mornings, Goodbye My Love, Goodbye, Someday Somewhere and Lovely Lady Of Arcadia.
In 1973, Roussos made one of his earliest television appearances on The Basil Brush Show in Britain. While his run of hits continued in the 1980s, over the next decade he made substantial releases such as Insight, Immortal and Serenade.
In 2002, he toured England in the United Kingdom after his “best of” collection reached no. 17 on the UK Albums Chart.
Demis was his last recording released on May 11, 2009. In 2010, he made his first appearance in Greece after 37 years, in a sold-out concert in Herodion.
On January 25, 2015, Roussos died aged 68 from stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, and liver cancer, at Ygeia Hospital in Athens, Greece. Journalist Nikos Aliagas tweeted the news.
Tributes were given by friends and former associates such as Nana Mouskouri and Vangelis Papathanasiou.