Helen Banks

a look at the music of Vangelis Papathanassiou

Well well, this is it then... another mystery solved! For many years the songs " Do you know"  and "Hazy Day" were only known as an entry in the so-called "Spheric list"... But now the cat's out of the bag, the words have materialised into music :-)

As it turns out these songs are another collaborative work with Vangelis, yet again a single from the early seventies and this one with a certain Helen Banks.

About Helen Banks, there's not much to tell about her I'm afraid, she seems to be a lyricist and text writer, as she is credited for writing lyrics for songs by Demis Roussos, Rod Stewart, Elvis Costello, Dick Rivers and Nana Mouskouri among others...

Helen recorded and released another single in 1973, "Starlight" b/w "Very deep, very dark". Again there is no sign of a credit for Vangelis, but the trained ear can hear his involvement in the songs!

Tracklist and Credits

bullet"Do you know" b/w "Hazy day"
bullet"Starlight" b/w "Very deep, very dark"

All songs are credited to Helen Banks for composition and lyrics. Vangelis is not credited in any way, but fortunately the music proves his involvement. Apart from performing on all songs, I'd say he likely produced and arranged here as well. Also Argyris 'Silver' Koulouris is probably playing the guitars, but he too is not credited anywhere.

"Do you know" with 4:34 minutes in length is the longest song, starting out with African drums and Helen's vocal, then slowly developing into a throbbing, hypnotic and psychedelic track, with bells (similar to Sex Power), guitars, cymbals and more drums. At the end the monotonous drum is accompanied with Vangelis' vibrating synth, and a flute.

"Hazy Day" clocking in at 2:30 minutes in length is a short but lovely ballad, Helen's vocal singing to slow guitars and Vangelis' typical "Apocalypse"-style organ. Goosebump stuff, and my instant favourite :-)

"Starlight" (4:09) is a simple sing-along-song with a slow drumbeat, similar to what Vangelis used in "L'apocalypse des Animaux" for instance. Also prominent are clapping hands, a steel guitar (Koulouris?) and electric piano.

"Very deep, very dark" with 2:33 is a short song with driving drums and piano, later accompanied by crashing cymbals and a forceful guitar solos.

1973 Do you know / Hazy Day  Philips 6009322 France (with and without promotional stamp)
1973 Do you know / Hazy Day  Philips 6837132 France (radio promo with simple sleeve)
1973 Do you know / Hazy Day Angelita ZG 50561 Italy

1973 Starlight / Very deep, very dark  Philips 6009418 France (with and without promotional stamp)

The "Do you know" single comes in two variations. The first is a stock copy and has a picture sleeve with a photo of Helen Banks. It contains the full version of "Do you know". The second version is a promotional single made for radio airplay, with a simple yet special-printed sleeve. This version contains a shorter edit of "Do you know", with over a minute of the final part missing.... Both versions have the same edit for "Hazy Day".

Both singles come in regular and promotional versions, as indicated by a promotional stamp on the back of the picture sleeve. Both singles are very hard to find.

Recording Studio
It is not clear where exactly the songs with Helen Banks are recorded, but probably the Parisian "Europa Sonor" studio was used, where Vangelis around that time also recorded his solo albums Fais que ton reve soit plus long que la nuit, and later also Earth.

For the lyrics of "Do you know" and "Hazy Day", go to Vangelis and Helen Banks Lyrics: Do you know and Hazy Day
For the lyrics of "Starlight" and "Very deep, very dark", go to Vangelis and Helen Banks Lyrics: Starlight and very deep, very dark