'Blade Runner' composer Vangelis has died at 79
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‘Blade Runner’ composer Vangelis has died at 79

Immortalised for his work on the Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire soundtracks, Vangelis was a visionary who brought synthesizer music to the masses.

The Greek composer Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou, better known as Vangelis, has died at the age of 79.

He was lauded for his work on two iconic soundtracks, Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire: both works that brought the sounds of the synthesizer to the attention of the movie-going public.

Vangelis with synthesizers

Vangelis established himself as a musician in the 1960s, playing organ in a band called Forminx. This band was a product of its time, playing the energetic pop music that was popularised by the British Invasion.

After this stint in the pop scene, Vangelis began working as a producer, soundtrack composer, and eventually became a presence in the prog-rock phenomena that swept the world in the late ’60s and ’70s.

He shot to fame in 1981 with the unforgettable theme of Chariots of Fire. It set him apart from other composers of the era with his use of cutting-edge contemporary synthesizer sounds.

His legacy was cemented just a year later with the score to the dystopian classic, Blade Runner. The haunting, slow, siren-like passages were created with the Yamaha CS-80 —  a groundbreaking analog synthesizer.

Beyond film work, he contributed music to global events like the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2004 Athens Olympics, as well as the official music to NASA’s Mars Odyssey mission in 2001.

Vale Vangelis: a truly innovative composer who leaves an unparalleled legacy of electronic music.