Demis Roussos

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Demis Roussos (1946 - 2015)

Read an interview with Demis Roussos with Mark Ho-Kane at domahoka.com

Demis Roussos was one of the bandmembers of Aphrodite's Child.

 

His real name was Artémios Ventoúris Roúsos. He was born June 15th 1946 in Alexandria, Egypt. His father Yorgos, or George, Roussos (engineer) was Greek and mother Nelly Mazloum was Egyptian of Italian origin. Demis' parents lost their possessions during the Suez Crisis in 1956 and consequently decided to move to Greece.

 

When he was about 15 years old, Demis began to learn to play jazz trumpet and bassguitar. At the age of 17, Demis Roussos took part in a series of musical groups beginning with The Idols and later in We Five.

Front of the picture sleeve of Demis' first record

One of the first singles of The Idols, Demis' first band (front)

The back of Demis' first record

Backside of the same single with Demis' name on it

 

At age 22, Demis joined Aphrodite' Child, the band started in 1967, and had huge successes between 1968 and 1972 such as "I want to Live" and "Rain and Tears" and their controversial LP "666".

 

After Aphrodite’s Child disbanded, Roussos continued to record sporadically with former bandmate Vangelis. In 1970 Demis hummed along a track on the Sex Power album, uncredited and the two recorded the 1977 album "Magic" together. In the early eighties Demis and Vangelis made “Race To The End” (also sung in Spanish as “Tu Libertad”), a vocal adaptation of the theme from the Oscar winning film Chariots of Fire. Demis also guested on the soundtrack to Blade Runner (1982), with a song entitled “Tales Of The Future”.

 

But Roussos' solocareer had a big success on its own. "My Friend The Wind" and "Forever And Ever", both from the early seventies, became evergreens and are still very wellknown over the globe. With several collaborations Demis got more and more attention worldwide. He was able to speak Greek, French, English, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, German and a little bit of Russian and Afrikaans.

 

Roussos was caught up in one of the major news events of the eighties when on June 14 1985, while he was among 153 people travelling from Athens to Rome, his TWA Flight 847 was hijacked by two armed men. They forced the pilots to fly to Libanon, where they killed one of the American passengers. Roussos and his (third) wife were held as prisoners at the plane, where he spent his 39th birthday. He was released unharmed five days later, and at a press conference thanked his captors for giving him a birthday cake. He said they had treatened him well.

 

In the meantime, his success reached skyhigh, his shows were sold-out months before, and Demis reached a cult status. In 2009 Demis released his last album, simply titled "Demis" , not to be confused with the 1982 album with the same name. Demis was honoured in September 2013 in Athens with the French Legionnair d'Honeur. Some media said that he was ill then, the reason why he sat on his chair all the ceremony.

 

Demis Roussos died at the private Ygeia Hospital in Athens, aged 68, in the early hours of January 26th 2015 of cancer. The Dutch singer Rob de Nijs, with whom Demis recorded a song in the nineties, expressed his grief on his Facebookpage. "Such sad news. The 'big' singer Demis Roussos died yesterday in Athens. Met him several times. Together we recorded the beautiful duet 'On my own- Zonder Jou'. At his funeral several hundreds of people attended. Vangelis, who was in the UK at the time, send a wreath.

 

Demis sold, estimated, about 60 million records worldwide.

A childportrait of Demis Roussos

Demis as a small kid, somewhere in the '50

Demis as a teen

As a teenager

Pressconference of Demis after his release of the TWA Plane

After his release of the hijacked TWA-plane Demis said he was treated well by the hijackers.

Demis Roussos got an award at a ceremony in Athens
Demis got the French Legionnair d'Honneur award at a ceremony in Athes (2013)

September 30th 2013 Demis Roussos was honoured with as Honneur d'Legion, as he has lived in France (and Greece) for several decades. The woman in black, at the left, is Demis' wife, the man in the grey suit is the French ambassador in Greece, Jean Loup Kuhn-Delforge. This hommage became Demis' last appearence in the public. Some media said that he suffered from healthisssues, he remain seated all the ceremony. (c) Ambassade France en Grèce.

A man walks along the wreaths
Roussos'coffin in the church at the memorial service

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