Short Stories

a look at the music of Vangelis Papathanassiou

Released in 1980, their first album "Short Stories" marks the start of the successful collaboration between Jon Anderson and Vangelis. Already recorded in 1979 in only three weeks time, both Vangelis are Jon are prompt to admit that the album actually consists of a series spontaneous recording sessions. Performing as "Jon and Vangelis" the duo quickly makes it into the European charts with their instant hit-single "I hear you now".


Tracklist and Credits

  1. Curious Electric
  2. Each and Everyday
  3. Bird Song
  4. I hear you now
  5. The road
  6. Far away in Baagad
  7. Love is
  8. One more time
  9. Thunder
  10. A play within a play

Composed by Jon Anderson and Vangelis
Arranged and produced by Vangelis

Vangelis: all instruments
Jon Anderson: vocals
Design: Vangelis


1979 Polydor 2383 565 West-Germany/Italy/Greece/Spain/Portugal/Israel/Brazil/New Zealand/Austria
1979 Polydor 2442 169 Holland/France/ South-Africa
1979 Polydor PD-1-6272 United States/Canada
1979 Polydor United Kingdom/Japan/Argentina/Yugoslavia/Mexico

1979 I Hear you now / Thunder Polydor 2059 196 West-Germany/Holland/Belgium/France/Italy/Spain/Brazil/Australia
1979 I Hear you now / Thunder Polydor POSP 96 United Kingdom/Ireland
1979 I Hear you now / Thunder Polydor United States/Canada/Japan/South Africa

Polydor 800 027-2 West-Germany/France/Canada/United States
Polydor POCP 2111 Japan


Recording Studio
Recorded at Nemo Studios, London, England in 1979.


bulletAccording to an anecdote by Jon Anderson, Jon and Vangelis meet for the first time in 1974 in Paris,
bulletJon first appears on Vangelis' album "Heaven and Hell" in 1975, singing his lyrics to the song "So long ago, so clear",
bulletAlthough denied by both artists, some people still believe to hear Vangelis' hand in Jon's first solo-album "Olias of Sunhillow" (1976). Personally I really don't believe that Vangelis actually plays on this album, especially since Jon thanks Vangelis for his "energy" in the liner notes of the album. Likely it was not more than that.
bulletA similar argument as for "Olias of Sunhillow" is heard for Jon's demo-recording bootlegged under the name "The sky and his shadow", however there is absolutely no proof whatsoever that Vangelis is involved in that recording.
bulletIn 1981 Jon and Vangelis release their second album "The Friends of Mr. Cairo".
bulletIn 1983 Jon and Vangelis release their third album "Private Collection".
bulletIn 1991 Jon and Vangelis release their fourth album "Page of Life".

For all the lyrics of this album, go to Jon and Vangelis lyrics: Short Stories

This album is the first in a series of four Jon & Vangelis albums after Jon Anderson sang the one song on the 1975 album 'Heaven and Hell'. It's also the freshest of the lot, the two friends evidently relishing the chance to finally work together on a full album with Jon temporarily having left Yes.
Improvisation is the word here, with Vangelis wandering through many short musical ideas and Jon Anderson making up lyrics, or short stories, along the way it seems. He is one of those lyricists who hardly ever make any sense (read no further than 'Thunder') but do manage to make their lyrics sound good. Anyway, it's his voice that counts, an easy high-pitched voice that works wonderfully well with Vangelis' electronics, which on this album retains some of that nature-inspired 'China' feel. The album gives the impression of having been made in just a few sessions without any messing about with it afterwards, an impression which is confirmed in a number of interviews they gave at the time about their work together.
The pair scored a minor hit with 'I Hear You Now' and other highlights include 'Love Is', 'One More Time' and 'A Play Within A Play' (with its surprising outburst in the middle) but the overall quality of the music is consistently good. Maybe the only dud is the limp 'The Road', a failed attempt at a sing-along campfire-song.
Some will find it all overly sweet and lovely and it must have presented a complete opposite to the punk and new wave movements of those days. But it makes for some nice easy listening, there is a lot of genuine inspiration to be found and anyway the "positive vibes" are clearly meant sincerely.

Review by Ivar de Vries