a look at the music of Vangelis Papathanassiou

In 1975 Vangelis worked with the Greek rock band Socrates on their third album "Phos". The band consists of three members at the time, Antonis Tourkogiorgis, John Spathas and George Tradalidis. Their cooperation with Vangelis lasts only for this one album, he is credited for producing the album, playing keyboards and percussion and also for composing one of the songs.

Before and after this album Socrates made a number of other albums, sometimes under the imaginative name 'Socrates drank the conium'...


           1. Starvation
            2. Queen of the universe
            3. Every dream comes to an end
            4. The bride
            5. Killer
            6. A day in heaven
            7. Time of pain
            8. Mountains

What do you mean, 'What's that scribble on the right lower corner ?'

Oh, that scribble... well, it's the signature of Keith Spencer Allen, who engineered the album while working at Orange Studios at the time. Actually, that is where he met Vangelis for the first time.



credits of the Greek cd

credits of the Korean cd

Although recorded in 1975, an LP was first issued in 1976 in Greece and the USA, the last one which was later withdrawn. The USA print had a yellow cover with a statue-head picture (see scan on the right), where as the Greek printed a different cover, with a collage of pictures from the three band members (see scan on top) No singles were released. The first cd was issued in Greece in 1993 by Vertigo, which was later re-issued in South Korea by Si-Wan records. Both have the collage cover. In 1998 Vertigo re-released a remastered edition of the album, with the statue head cover. Apparently also a single was released from the album in Greece...

1976 Vertigo 6331 950 Greece
1976 Peters International PILPS 9013 USA

1993 Vertigo 518 738 2 Greece
1995 Si-Wan Records 518 527 2 South Korea
1998 Vertigo 518 738 2 Greece (Remastered)


Recording studio
As his own studio was still being built up, Vangelis booked recording time Orange Studios, a small but centrally located studio. There he met Keith Spencer-Allen, sound engineer at Orange Studios at the time, who would be his assistant at Nemo during the remaining part of the seventies. Not only did Vangelis record this album at Orange Studios, but also an album with Greek singer Mariangela. Actually the female backing vocal in "A day in heaven" is Mariangela.

For all the lyrics go to : Vangelis and Socrates lyrics

Greek band Socrates (without Vangelis) sound like a standard seventies rhythm'n'blues-outfit with a lead-vocalist/bass player, lead-guitarist and drummer, somewhat akin to early Fleetwood Mac, Free and other bluesy bands like those. But they also remind you of some of the livelier moments of Aphrodite's Child - in fact, Antonis Tourkogiorgis' voice is not dissimilar to that of the younger Demis Roussos, and likewise the guitar-work of John Spadas compared to that of Silver Koulouris. But they lack some of the melancholy and weirdness of their illustrious predecessors, which is where Vangelis comes in for this 1976 album "Phos".
Socrates, like Aphrodite's Child, recorded for Vertigo/Polygram which is probably how they got in touch with Vangelis, who in turn might have relished the chance to work with some fellow Greeks again, in a rather uncomplicated style far removed from his own at the time (e.g. "Albedo 0.39", "Spiral").

Describing the album track by track, focusing on Vangelis' input:

bullet"Starvation" alternates between the vocal line (duplicated on guitar) and a nice keyboard-riff played by Vangelis using his typical organ-sounds. A tough heavy rock-song, plenty of guitars, well executed.
bullet"Queen Of The Universe" is a hybrid cosmic blues-song, with Vangelis simply marking the beat in the bluesy parts, but really taking over in the mysterious "cosmic" interludes: three beautiful reminders of "Albedo 0.39" and also "Cosmos".
bulletThe instrumental "Every Dream Comes To An End" is co-credited to Vangelis but, as he gives the song its structure through his main piano-part, it's probably his composition with the others figuring out their contributions on acoustic guitar, bass and drums and a few dramatic electric guitar solos. Apart from the only occurrence of the piano on this album, a flexible high CS-80-type sound is also heard throughout. During the beautiful long coda, it's Vangelis completely on his own, and the piece ends with a clock ticking, another theme from "Albedo 0.39".
The highlight of this album, naturally, for Vangelis fans.
bullet"The Bride" is a ballad, Socrates-style, with a low and a high (slightly out of tune) vocal singing the same melody-line as played by the acoustic & electric guitar. Vangelis' input is slight, a high CS-80-type sound and a few bass-sounds make up his contribution here.
bullet"Killer" is a short, complicated blues-song with no discernible contribution from Vangelis, or it must be percussion, for which he's also credited on this album
bulletVangelis reappears on "A Day In Heaven" however, along with a mystery female vocal. Could this be Mariangela, who also recorded an album at Orange Studios in London with Vangelis ? Who knows, anyway, it adds a nice touch to this slow rock-song. Vangelis simply plays his organ-part, no pyrotechnics here, apart from a few thrills at the end.
bulletThe same description applies to "Time Of Pain" as did earlier to "Killer", plenty of complicated intertwined guitar-parts, the only Vangelis input possibly being some strange "painful" noises at 2.35.
bulletLongest track "Mountains" at first repeats the Fleetwood Mac trick on "Oh Well" of the lead-singer several times singing on his own followed by a guitar-riff. Then it all stops, and Vangelis joins in to accompany a long difficult acoustic guitar-part in the best seventies guitar-freakery tradition. This plus some weird percussion creates a slightly "666" atmosphere to end this album.

"Phos" is not a masterpiece of an album (but certainly the better for Vangelis' contribution) and Socrates as a band would have remained highly obscure and of interest to blues specialists only, were it not for their involvement with the much better-known Vangelis. For him, it was probably just an opportunity to "let his hair down", have some fun and help out a few fellow Greeks. The result is enjoyable enough to listen to once in a while, as simply another oddity in the long Vangelis canon.

Review by Ivar de Vries