The music industry just lost one of its most influential figures. Deadline reports that Vangelis, the composer of “Blade Runner” and “Chariots of Fire,” has died in France at the age of 79. He broke new ground in music by combining synthesizers with jazz, orchestral compositions and other often conflicting styles. He helped the film industry move away from classic or pop soundtracks and, with artists like Brian Eno and Jean-Michel Jarre, defined electronic music as a whole, as well as subgenres like ambient and new age.
Vangelis is synonymous with science fiction for his iconic Blade Runner soundtrack, but he was also a supporter of space exploration, producing several albums celebrating the magnificent mission. He helped score Carl Sagan’s 1980 cosmic TV series, wrote Mythodea to celebrate NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey mission, and produced 2016’s Rosetta tribute to the comet probe, bringing even more to life. Many people have learned about this gas giant planet. In 2003, he received the Public Service Medal from NASA.
The musician was born in 1943 in Evangelos Odessey Papathanassiou, Greece. He began his career in pop and soundtracks in the mid-1960s, but it was his forays into electronic music in the 1970s that helped develop his signature style. Cosmos, Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner cemented his reputation, while high-profile projects like 1492: Conquest of Paradise and Alexander the Great gained further attention.
Vangelis left a rich legacy. In addition to his roles in Hollywood, one can hear his influence on electronic artists such as Robert Rich and Steve Roach. Even modern artists outside his core genre, like Armin van Buuren from Run the Jewels and El-P, call him a hero. He will be missed, but you may hear echoes of his voice for decades to come.