Demis Roussos Biography
He was born in Egypt to ethnic Greek parents George and Olga (Engineer Yorgos Roussos), and raised in Alexandria. His parents lost everything and moved to Greece after the Suez Crisis.
After settling in Greece, Demis participated in a series of musical groups beginning with The Idols when he was 17. After this he joined We Five (not the San Francisco, California folk-rock group), another covers band which had limited success in Greece.
He came to a wider audience in 1968 when he joined progressive rock band Aphrodite's Child, initially as singer but later also playing bass guitar. His distinctive operatic vocal style helped propel the band to international success, notably on their final album 666, which became something of a cult classic.
After Aphrodite's Child disbanding, Roussos continued to record sporadically with former bandmate Vangelis. In 1970 the two released Sex Power (although the album has also been disputably credited to Aphrodite's Child), also recording the 1977 album Magic together. Their most successful collaboration was "Race to the End", a vocal adaptation of the musical theme from the Oscar winning film Chariots of Fire, and also sung in Spanish as "Tu Libertad", whilst Roussos also guested on the soundtrack to Blade Runner (1982).The song was entitled 'Tales of the Future'.
Roussos also began a solo career with the song "We Shall Dance". Initially unsuccessful, he toured southern Europe and soon became a leading vocalist. His solo career peaked in the 1970s with several hit albums. His single, "Forever and Ever", topped the charts in several countries in 1973 (1976 in U.K.). Other hits were "My Friend the Wind", "My Reason", "Velvet Mornings", "Goodbye, My Love, Goodbye", "Someday" and "Lovely Lady of Arcadia". He was mentioned famously at Abigail's Party and made his first appearance on English-speaking TV on the Basil Brush Show. Before the Basil Brush show in 1980 he had appeared on the Nana Mouskouri show in the UK, singing a duet version of his hit single "Happy To Be On An Island In The Sun". In 1980, Roussos had a hit with a cover of Air Supply's "Lost in Love", sung as a duet with Florence Warner and featuring a tenor sax solo by Dick Morrissey.
He re-recorded his songs in a number of languages including Japanese and with his Number One hit 'The Roussos Phenomenon EP' being the first of its kind for an African-born artist in the history of the UK Singles Chart. He was equally successful across Europe and in Latin America, although a gold disc for the LP Demis remains his only success in the United States.
For years Roussos struggled with his weight. In June 1980 he weighed 147kg. In June 1980 he began a diet in which he lost in 50kg in 10 months. In 1982, he co-authored the book 'A Question of Weight' with his close friend Veronique Skawinska in which he dealt candidly with his struggles with obesity. Roussos suffered a fallow period during the 1980s in terms of hits and his output dried up as he battled clinical depression.
He was one of the passengers on TWA Flight 847 that was hijacked on June 14, 1985. Famously the hijackers even celebrated his birthday with him as they were impressed by having a man who remained a big celebrity in southern Europe as a hostage. Sensing a new lease of life, Demis embarked on a "comeback" with the LP Time, which achieved a fair amount of acclaim and a minor hit song (popular in the discotheques) with "Dance of Love".
In 1989 he recorded the song "Young Love", a duet with german singer/songwriter Drafi Deutscher, which was released as a single in Germany and reached No.2 in the famous German music TV show ZDF Hitparade in October of the same year.
The 1990s saw even more substantial releases by Demis. In 1993, he released Insight (also called Morning has Broken) to general acclaim, although his attempt at a rap song, "Spleen", which appeared on the album, was generally seen as a regrettable idea. After this he teamed up with BR Music in Holland to produce Immortel, Serenade and In Holland, utilising a variety of ethnic and electronic styles.
Demis continues to record and tour and has recently appeared in Russia and Dubai . Spring of 2002 saw him do a successful tour of England. A committed follower of the Greek Orthodox faith, he now sings as a guest in a number of churches in Greece and worldwide.
His influence in Indian film music industry was also seen. Some of his songs were copied straightaway by the Indian music directors. To mention some , "Lovely Lady of Arcadia" was used in songs "Tumhe chede hawa chanchal (Salami)" and "Yun hi kat jayega safar saath chalne say (Hum Hai Rahi Pyaar Kay)". "You are my only fascination" song was rehashed and made as "Tumse thoda sa main dooor hooon (Pyar Ka Saaya)". The song "Mehbooba Mehbooba" (Sholay) is also said to be based on his song "Say You Love Me".
His latest album is the acclaimed "live in Brasil", which documents his return to a country where his popularity led him to record "Voce voce e nada mais" - a huge hit in Portuguese.
A major comeback is planned for 2009 with Demis preparing a new studio album produced by Marc di Domenico, to be released on May 11th. For perhaps the first time in his career, one of his songs has caused considerable controversy. The song "who gives a fuck" which appears on the album is however seen by some as a bold move by Roussos. Later in 2009 Demis will also be appearing in a new film based on his life, and produced by his daughter Emily.
Demis Roussos sang the song "All is Vanity" on Martyn Ford's 1970s The Bible Album. The lyrics of the song are based on chapter one of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. (listen to the song Online here.)
The Demis Roussos song "A Flower's All You Need" is featured in both the opening and closing credits for Aldo Lado's 1975 horror classic Night Train Murders.