Page Of Life

a look at the music of Vangelis Papathanassiou

"Page of life" is the fourth and last album by Jon and Vangelis. First released in 1991 it contains 12 tracks, of which one "Wisdom Chain" is released as a single. It didn't get much attention. In 1998 however a second version of the same album is released in the USA, with quite a few differences in the songs. Completists will need both versions!

The cd-single that was released of the first edition is now highly sought after by both admirers of Jon Anderson, as Vangelis'. It contains the lovely "Sing with your eyes" which can not be found anywhere else...


Tracklist and Credits

The next table gives an overview of the tracklist of both different issues:

Original issue USA re-issue
Wisdom chain Change we must
Page of life Anyone can light a candle
Money Page of life
Jazzy box Money
Garden of senses Little guitar
Is it love Garden of senses
Anyone can light a candle Genevieve
Be a good friend of mine Shine for me
Shine for me Wisdom chain
Journey to Ixtlan  
Little guitar  


Vocals and lyrics by Jon Anderson.
Music composed, arranged, produced and performed by Vangelis.


1991 Arista 211 373 Germany
1991 Popron 50141-1 Czechoslovakia
1991 Arista South-Korea/Brazil/Argentina

1991 Wisdom Chain / Page of life  Arista 114 063 Germany/United Kingdom

1991 Wisdom Chain (+edit) / Page of life / Sing with your eyes Arista 664 063 Germany

1991 Arista 261 373 Germany/Austria
1991 Arista Canada/Japan


Recording Studio
Recorded at Sound Studios, Athens, Greece.


bulletIn 1980 Jon and Vangelis release their first album "Short Stories".
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".

Shortly before the release of this album, Jon Anderson also appears singing during the "Event of Excellence" Eureka-concert in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


It is rumored that Jon's effort in re-issuing the "Page of Life" album in 1998 did not include Vangelis' approval, and has put a strain on their friendship....


In 1994 Jon includes re-recorded versions of four of his songs with Vangelis on the solo-album "Change we must". The songs included "State of Independence", the previously unreleased song "The Kiss", as well as two compositions from "Page of Life": "Candle song" and "Change we must".


And in the same year another Jon and Vangelis-compilation album is released, "Chronicles".

For all the lyrics of the original issue, go to Jon and Vangelis lyrics: Page of life
For all the lyrics of the USA re-issue, go to Jon and Vangelis lyrics: Page of life

It took some years before Jon & Vangelis were able to complete 'Page Of Life' for its initial release in 1991, suggesting the album's genesis was slightly torturous. With the two friends priding themselves on their intuitive, spontaneous working style on previous projects, things must have started out that way here as well, but after the initial sessions Vangelis may have lost interest, instead focusing on changing studios plus record companies. So it took some time to get a Vangelis-approved album on the market, getting in some session-musicians for additional percussion and Jon Anderson in charge for the excellent 'Is It Love' (which, rumor has it, is actually an uncredited ABWH track). For some unfathomable reason, they left out material recorded as far back as 1986, of which only 'Sing With Your Eyes' surfaced on the CD-single released alongside the album.
The end product sounds OK, but not really all that spontaneous, being straightforward pop-music with fairly standard sounds. The version of the Direct-system used for the identically named 1988 Vangelis album was most probably used on this album as well, because they sound pretty similar. They also share the song-like concept, and here Vangelis again produces some strong melodies, like 'Genevieve' and 'Shine For Me'. The latter melody was also the basis for an extended instrumental piece at the end of the 'Francesco' movie. 'Money' serves the same light relief-function as 'Back To School' on one of the earlier albums and more of the same follows on the fun 'Jazzy Box'.
The indefatigable Jon Anderson (also doing the Yes 'Union' project around this time, another torture for the many participants) is in good enough form again here, although his choice of overdubs sounds a bit jaded at times. But he would redeem himself somewhat on the 1998 release of the album, especially on 'Shine For Me', which has a much more natural vocal sound than its earlier incarnation, really making a world of difference. The status of that later release on some New Age label is a bit cloudy, apparently it got Vangelis quite angry, not having given his consent, and it was withdrawn from the market after a while. He can't really have objected to the inclusion of 'Change We Must', a fine gentle track similar in purpose to 'State of Independence' (it had earlier been released in a different arrangement on the 1994 Jon Anderson solo-album of the same name). But one can see his point when regarding the long instrumental intro to 'Wisdom Chain'. Musically it's completely unrelated to the song that follows and in it one hears the sort of unpolished playing around which Vangelis does when for example he demonstrates his setup to visitors but which never shows up on his albums.

Review by Ivar de Vries