Thursday, May 15, 2014

"Chariots of Fire - Titles" by Vangelis

#1 Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  0846
Date:  12/12/1981
Debut:  94
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  28
Genre:  Soundtrack, New Age, Electronic, Instrumental

Pop Bits:  If you mention the name Vangelis to people, mainly they just think of this chart-topping song. But Vangelis had an established career long before this tune hit. Early on he was part of prog-rock band in Europe called Aphrodite's Child who had some success there. But the group splintered and Vangelis went solo and found his real calling in electronic music and composition. He issued a debut album in 1972 and released 16 more over the years. In between, he found time to do film scores and be part of a duo with Yes' Jon Anderson called Jon & Vangelis. He had a lot of success, but none would define his career more than this single lifted from his soundtrack to the film "Chariots of Fire." It was a surprise hit that took five months to reach the summit and it helped to push the album to #1 as well. The film would go on to with the Oscar for Best Picture and Vangelis' score would also win. This single would grab a nomination for Record of the Year at the Grammys. The song and album also brought more attention to the growing New Age genre. And although Vangelis did get two middling single on the chart in the duo Jon & Vangelis, this was his only solo song to get on the chart, getting him one-hit wonder status.

ReduxReview:  I'm pretty sure that most folks would recognize this song quickly. They may not know the title or the artist, but they would know it. The song has been on countless sporting event shows, commercials, the Olympics, comedy sketches, and even TV shows like "Seinfeld." It really sounded unique at the time, especially for pop music, and I liked it. These days I think it's value as a composition has kind of been lost because it gets referenced so much in comedic ways. It's almost viewed as a novelty. But it deserves a better fate.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The unexpected hit didn't really have a name. On the soundtrack album, it was just listed as "Titles" because it played over the opening titles of the film. When it first hit the chart, it was listed as "Titles." But as it grew in popularity, that name was just confusing and unmemorable. So it got re-dubbed "Chariots of Fire - Titles."  2) Thanks to this song, Vangelis still remains the only Greek artist to have ever topped the pop singles chart.


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