Blade Runner & Chariots Of Fire Composer

Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire composer Vangelis has died at age 79. Vangelis (Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou) was born in Greece in 1943 and began making music at a very early age. The self-taught artist expanded into the European pop scene with a number of solo albums before capturing the attention of Hollywood. His music was featured in Carl Sagan’s Cosmos in the late 70s and after composing music for a number of smaller films, Vangelis was offered Chariots of Fire, which would become one of his signature works, particularly the main titles, netting him an Oscar for Best Original Score in 1982. After Chariots of Fire, Vangelis worked with Ridley Scott for the score to the sci-fi classic Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Darryl Hannah. The moody, atmospheric synth score became synonymous with the film, which is one of the most revered sci-fi classics of all time. The composer worked with Scott again for his Christopher Columbus biopic 1492: Conquest of Paradise, as well as Roman Polanski’s Bitter Moon and Oliver Stone’s Alexander.

Film and TV work, Vangelis also composed for theater, podcasts, documentaries, and for his own solo albums, his last of which (Juno to Jupiter) was released in 2021. Vangelis’ legacy includes 23 solo studio albums and 13 soundtrack scores. No doubt, Vangelis will be most remembered for his work on Blade Runner, as the timeless music continues to be an influence today and was even featured in Denis Villeneuve’s sequel, Blade Runner 2049. Ridley Scott has said that working with Vangelis on the original film’s score was “one of the best experiences” he ever had with a musician, noting the process of the composer while they worked on the film, saying, “I would finish editing at night and Vangelis would be in the studio with his assistant. He would have been at this all day and would play what he had created. He understood the process of films brilliantly. He would literally watch sequence after sequence and start to play with it. It was a completely organic process.”

About Vangelis’ personal life, as a professional he was an inspiring, giving, thoughtful, and mesmerizing musician who changed the landscape of film composing forever, particularly with the use of synth sound, which has become a regular fixture in the industry at this point. His passion and vision for music is evident throughout his significant body of work, which will no doubt be celebrated for a very long time. As the next generation of composers take up their spots in the industry, many will no doubt find inspiration in the work of Vangelis, continuing his legacy into the future.