Sex Power

a look at the music of Vangelis Papathanassiou

At the end of 1969 Vangelis composed and released his first music for a movie outside of Greece. "Sex Power" (sub-titled "L'Homme Coeur") is a 81 minute long movie and also a first for director Henry Chapier, who won the Silver Shell Award with his film at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

The musical score that Vangelis wrote for this film has become the 'holy-grail' of collector's items, as the LP released by Philips in France and Greece can be viewed as Vangelis very first solo album. Not many copies must have been sold at the time, and with the current high demand its value ranges into the hundreds of dollars.


There's no such thing as a tracklist for Sex Power. The album consists of eleven parts (six on the first side, five on the second), but the record sleeve does not list any of the track titles.

The record labels indicate:


1ère partie   17'00


2ème partie 17'27

However the single-release that was discovered some years ago made it possible to name two tracks on the album. "Djemilla" and "Third love" correspond with the 2nd and 5th track on the album.


Credits as shown on the back of the LP.


The music is only available on vinyl, no CD was ever released (not officially at least). The gatefold LP is ultra-rare and highly sought after. Rumour has it that it was only shortly available and withdrawn some time after release. Remarkably also a 7" single has been made.

1970 Philips 6397 013 France/Greece (gatefold)

1970 Philips 6009 072 Djemilla/Third love (without picture sleeve)


Recording studio
It is unknown where the music for Sex Power is recorded. As Vangelis was still part of Aphrodite's Child when the music was recorded, it is likely the music on this album was recorded in the same Mercury studio where Aphrodite's Child recorded their songs.



bulletIn 1973 Vangelis also composed the score for Henry Chapier's second film "Amore". Unfortunately as of yet this film never surfaced anywhere...
bulletThere are also references that indicate that Vangelis scored yet another film from director Henry Chapier, titled "Salut Jerusalem"...
bulletFor some more information about the movie itself, read here
bulletTake a look at some photographs from the movie's press-sheet here


On this soundtrack-album, his first full-length solo-effort, all the future Vangelis trademarks are already there in rudimentary form. Not really so surprising, given the fact that around this time Aphrodite's Child were also moving from melancholic pop towards "666", a move largely due to Vangelis, musically speaking. Already his gift for rounded melodies, the full arrangements, strange sound effects, elaborate percussion, use of choirs and that Mediterranean touch are amply demonstrated here. The fact that it's also the soundtrack to an erotic movie can't really be anything but unfortunate (and a source of embarrassment to Vangelis nowadays), it was probably the only opportunity that happened to come along for this still virtually unknown Greek instrumentalist in France at that particular time. Certainly, the music isn't especially erotic (if there is such a thing at all), the only faint connection with the movie could be some African desert theme, but by this reckoning, it might have as well have accompanied a Frederic Rossif nature-film about rattlesnakes or something. Anyway, the movie must have been serious enough to warrant a special soundtrack, released by Philips in a gatefold sleeve, with even a single taken from it (although this might possibly have been a promo-single). All in all, more than enough to make this album plus single the hottest collectors-item in the whole Vangelis oeuvre, with some nice music to boot. Unfortunately, another Vangelis tradition, that of incomplete or non-existent credits, is also immediately started, because clearly at the very least a mixed choir, a female vocalist and an acoustic guitarist, all un-credited, can be heard alongside Vangelis on piano, organ, percussion and sound-effects.

The two parts, both lasting around 17 minutes, are structured as follows:

bulletSide 1 - part 1 (0.00 - 0.29): A strange intro featuring a high screeching bird-sound against a background of bass-drums and a two-chord keyboard figure. This is definitely not going to be another Aphrodite's Child album.
bulletSide 1 - part 2 (0.29 - 3.41): Next the first occurrence of what could be called the "jungle-theme" is introduced: an African drum-pattern, Vangelis playing the theme on piano with a choir joining the chorus to the piece. Sometime later an organ and primitive synthesized sounds are added to this very tribal piece. This piece is identical to the A-side of the single and is called "Djemilla".
bulletSide 1 - part 3 (3.41 - 6.32): The sounds of racing cars introduce the unknown acoustic guitarist in the first occurrence of another recurring theme, a nice sunny melody, the "love-theme" perhaps. Suddenly it stops, leaving the cars to race on for a little bit plus some voices speaking in the background.
bulletSide 1 - part 4 (6.32 - 9.40): The jungle-music returns, this time only consisting of increasingly elaborate rhythm-patterns.
bulletSide 1 - part 5 (9.40 - 12.54): The love-theme returns, here with Vangelis playing the main melody to the guitarist's harmony on what sounds like a sort of harpsichord. Some flourishes on piano and organ are added plus, intriguingly, what almost surely sounds like multiple word-less vocals by Demis Roussos! This piece is identical to the B-side of the single and is called "Third Love".
bulletSide 1 - part 6 (12.55 - 16.29): piano-only in a different version of the love-theme. Vangelis actually plays four parts here, matching the melody to the harmony by doubling the left-hand/right-hand roles in reverse order: left hand melody and right hand harmony in the lower registers, the other way around in the higher registers. It ends with more sound effects of people walking the streets and some hand-clapping.
bulletSide 2 - part 1 (0.00 - 1.55): The jungle-theme starts the altogether more experimental second part. Again the African percussion, this time with a little keyboard and a flute (possibly by Vangelis) added.
bulletSide 2 - part 2 (1.55 - 10.03): Lots of imaginative, ancient Mediterranean sounding percussion and a male-choir make up most of this highly evocative and slightly unsettling long piece. Twice an eerie fairy-tale melody can be heard in-between the sharp, piercing percussion sounds, towards the end a female vocalist appears shortly.
bulletSide 2 - part 3 (10.03 - 13.22): More percussion and the familiar piano introduce another version of the love-theme. Here, the melody is played on a very primitive instrument, a customised Hammond-organ perhaps ? It ends with a series of sharp bashes on the gong.
bulletSide 2 - part 4 (13.22 - 15:48): Some very strange noise-effects, bees buzzing or something like that, accompany the female vocalist (could this be Vana Veroutis ? It sure sounds like her) who sings a sad wailing melody, later joined by the organ.
bulletSide 2 - part 5 (15:48 - 17:23): Like the first, the second piece also ends with the piano playing the love-theme, but this time simply two-handed.

It is possible to see this album as a precursor to "Heaven and Hell", because it uses similar ideas and has the same sort of variety - there's less electronics involved of course, but Vangelis evidently had enough imagination to sufficiently realise the sounds in his head by using his acoustic apparatus. This would support the theory that every composer, certainly when starting out, has one well-formed idea which needs to get expressed before moving on. This project provided the first but technologically limited opportunity, when Vangelis finally had his own studio in London, he was able to express it much fuller and better.
The piano-end to Part I and the long experimental Mediterranean section in Part II really stand out as being mature Vangelis pieces. Being the first solo-outing, there's a trace of him trying to prove his point as a real composer/arranger, to the detriment of emotional depth perhaps, but Vangelis would put that right in his next projects, the music for the six "Apocalypse des Animaux" episodes and the very emotional "Poème Symphonique".

Review by Ivar de Vries