Laurie Langenbach

a look at the music of Vangelis Papathanassiou

photo by Willemijn Damave

Introduction

Laurie Langenbach (1947-1984) was a Dutch publicist, writer and singer. In the late sixties and early seventies she wrote articles for Dutch pop magazine ‘Hitweek’ (later titled ‘Aloha’), and she worked as a reporter for VPRO (a Dutch broadcasting company). In the summer of 1972 she traveled to Paris for the opportunity to sing in a band with Vangelis. Laurie and Vangelis met through a mutual friend, who had moved to Paris earlier to teach English to Vangelis.

It didn’t take long for Laurie and Vangelis to start a relation. A letter remains that Laurie wrote to Vangelis (when she briefly returned to Holland) which testifies how deeply in love she was. During the summer they often drove to the studio that Vangelis had rented at the time, to record with the new band and escape the crowds that always seem to visit Vangelis' apartment at the Champs-Elyses. Laurie sang and also brought her own songs to sing with the band.

The relation between Laurie and Vangelis did not last. In November 1972 Laurie returned to Holland when it was clear they could no longer stay together. None of their recorded songs were ever published, unfortunately. Apparently Laurie had signed a contract that did not provide her the freedom to publish or perform her own songs, and she did not accept that. Four years later she invalidated the contract due to the fact that there had not been sufficient recordings made.

Apart from singing Laurie also loved to write, and she published her first novel "Geheime Liefde" ("Secret Love") in 1977. The title by the way does not refer to Vangelis, but to the famous Dutch chess player Jan Timman. More books would follow, not only novels but also collected letters (with Heere Heeresma) and collected columns for NRC (a Dutch newspaper).

After the break-up Laurie and Vangelis did stay in touch, as is illustrated by her visit to Vangelis in London in the summer of 1982. Laurie would recall this visit in a column she wrote for Cosmopolitan magazine. Soon after her visit Laurie was diagnosed with cancer, an illness she would sadly not recover from. Laurie Langenbach passed away on the 25th of October 1984 at the age of 37.

 

Songs
It is not clear exactly how many songs Vangelis and Laurie recorded, but a number of song titles have survived:

bullet"Stand Alone"
bullet"Fly Away"
bullet"Seems So Hard To Believe"
bullet"Roll It On"
bullet"Jimmy Lee"

The music is described as being "so-called soft rock, ambient music with flute and cello". The song “Seems So Hard To Believe” can be heard here.

 

Recording Studio
It is not clear in which studio the songs were recorded, but probably the Parisian "Europa Sonor" studio was used, where Vangelis also recorded his solo albums Fais Que Ton Reve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit, and later also Earth.

 

Biography
In 2017 author Rutger Vahl published a biography of Laurie Langenbach: “Brieven, dagboeken, en een geheime liefde” ("Letters, diaries, and a secret love" - in Dutch). The book includes a biography, a collection of letters and diaries from Laurie, a photo section and a re-print of Laurie's debut novel “Geheime Liefde”. One specific section in this book covers the time that Laurie spent in Paris with Vangelis. The letters in the book also include a print of a personal (and unsent) letter to Vangelis. The photo section does not include a photo of Laurie and Vangelis.

Most information on this page is based on the biography book, my thanks to Rutger Vahl for his research and permission to publish on this site. The book is still available for sale and can be ordered here.

 

 

 

 

 

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