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Encyclopedia > Chariots of Fire (album)
Chariots of Fire
Chariots of Fire cover
Studio album by Vangelis
Released 1981
Recorded 1981
Genre Film score
Length 54:47
Label Polydor
Producer(s) Vangelis
Professional reviews

4.5/5: Amazon.com A Studio Album is an album of regular studio recordings. ... Greek electronic composer Vangelis in 2001. ... A music genre is a category (or genre) of pieces of music that share a certain style or basic musical language (van der Merwe 1989, p. ... A film score is the background music in a film, generally specially written for the film and often used to heighten emotions provoked by the imagery on the screen or by the dialogue. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Polydor Records is a record label once headquartered in Germany. ... In the music industry, a record producer (or music producer) has many roles, among them controlling the recording sessions, coaching and guiding the performers, and supervising the recording, mixing and mastering processes. ... Greek electronic composer Vangelis in 2001. ...

Vangelis chronology
See You Later
Chariots of Fire

Chariots of Fire is a British film released in 1981 with a music score by Greek electronic composer and artist Vangelis (credited as Vangelis Papathanassiou). The film, based on the true story of athletes preparing for and competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics, won four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Original Music Score. Greek electronic composer Vangelis in 2001. ... See You Later is a 1980 album by the Greek artist Vangelis. ... Greek electronic composer Vangelis in 2001. ... Chariots of Fire is a British film released in 1981. ... The Games of the VIII Olympiad were held in 1924 in Paris, France. ... // The Academy Award for Best Motion Picture is one of the Academy Awards, awards given to people working in the motion picture industry by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which are voted on by others within the industry. ... From Rule Sixteen of the Special Rules for The Music Awards Original Score: An original score is a substantial body of music in the form of dramatic underscoring written specifically for the film by the submitting composer. ...


Though the electronic score might be considered, in hindsight, ill-suited to a period piece, it worked beyond anyone's expectations. The opening theme of the film (called "Titles" on the soundtrack) was released as a single in 1982, topping the charts in the U.S. for two weeks after climbing steadily for five months (it made #1 in its 21st week on the chart). "Titles" also reached a respectable No.12 in Britain, where its parent album peaked at No.5 and spent 107 weeks on the album chart.


A new style

It was the film's producer, David Puttnam, who invited Vangelis, impressed with his albums Opera Sauvage and China [1]. Vangelis played all the instruments, including synthesizers, acoustic piano, battery and percussion, and recorded the score in his Nemo studio in London, UK which he had set up in 1975 [2]. The music that he came up with, entirely electronic for a period film, initiated a new style in film scoring. David Puttnam receiving his BAFTA Fellowship, 19 February 2006 David Terence Puttnam, Baron Puttnam of Queensgate, CBE is a film producer and politician. ... Opera Sauvage is a 1979 album by the Greek artist Vangelis. ...

"He [Vangelis] tells us about the way he set about producing the music for Chariots Of Fire. About the low budget it really had. About the way in which he endlessly exchanged thoughts with the author about the story. Only when the movie was completely finished did he actually start working on the music for it. Saw it only three times for that purpose and then started work." — Vangelis interview to Music Maker magazine, September 1982 [3]
"I didn't want to do period music. I tried to compose a score which was contemporary and still compatible with the time of the film. But I also didn't want to go for a completely electronic sound." — Vangelis interview to American Film magazine, September 1982 [4]

The score album, however, is almost all re-recorded and sounds differently from the music heard on film, with often richer arrangements, namely in the "Titles" track. The second part of the album is a one-track suite including music from and inspired by the score [5]. On the other hand, some original themes from the film did not make it to the album.

"A record is something other than a film. There have to be changes - not least of all for artistic reasons." — Vangelis interview to Neumusik magazine, issue 5, August 1981 [6]

Although Vangelis had already done a number of film scores, namely for the animal documentaries by Frédéric Rossif, Chariots of Fire was his first major film score, and it immediately gave him the big breakthrough as a film composer, as "Titles" was an international hit and changed the whole course of his career.

"It occurs very rarely that a composer thinks of his most successful work as his best. I am no exception to that rule. I think of my soundtrack for [...] Mutiny on the Bounty as endlessly more interesting than Chariots of Fire." — Vangelis interview to De Telegraaf newspaper, June 15, 1991 [1]

June 15 is the 166th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (167th in leap years), with 199 days remaining. ... 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...



Track listing

1 Titles 3:33
2 Five Circles 5:20
3 Abraham's Theme 3:20
4 Eric's Theme 4:18
5 100 Metres 2:04
6 Jerusalem (trad.) 2:47
7 Chariots Of Fire 20:41

Album credits

Vangelis all instruments
Ambrosian Singers choir (track 6)
John McCarthy choir director (track 6)
Raphael Preston engineer
Raine Shine engineer
John Walker engineer

In addition to Vangelis' original music, the album includes a traditional piece, "Jerusalem", sung by the Ambrosian Choir, as was performed at the 1978 funeral of Harold Abrahams, the event which bookends and presumably inspired the making of the film. Harold Maurice Abrahams (December 15, 1899 - January 14, 1978) was a British and (English) athlete. ...

Vangelis was accused of plagiarising the main theme from a song by fellow Greek composer Stavros Logarides called "City of Violets". Vangelis won in court [5]. Vangelis convinced the judge by taking his setup to the court and demonstrating his method of composing by improvising new music [7].

The album reached #1 in the sales charts of various countries, including the U.S. In total, the album stayed 97 weeks in the sales charts, selling 3 million copies in the first year alone [1].

The single, featuring "Titles", was also #1 in a number of countries. In the U.S., the single stayed at the top for two weeks in May before being dethroned by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder's "Ebony and Ivory" [8]. It was Polydor's first-ever #1 single in the U.S.[9]. Only one other instrumental track, 1985's "Miami Vice Theme", by Czech musician Jan Hammer, had also topped the U.S. chart as of 2006. A video clip of "Titles" has Vangelis playing acoustic piano in front of a projection of the film. Ebony and Ivory is a song that was performed by jon egil larsen and Paul McCartney. ... Polydor Records is a record label once headquartered in Germany. ... The song Miami Vice Theme was released in September 1984 and was created and performed by Jan Hammer as the theme to the television series Miami Vice. ... Jan Hammer (born 17 April 1948, in Prague, Czechoslovakia) is a composer and musician. ... 2006 is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Video clips are short video segments, often excerpted from a larger whole. ...

Despite Vangelis public performances being rare, he played Chariots of Fire live in Los Angeles, USA (November 7, 1986), Rome, Italy (July 17, 1989, as encore), Rotterdam, Netherlands (June 18, 1991), and Athens, Greece (Mythodea concerts of July 13, 1993 and June 28, 2001, as encore, and August 1, 1997)[10] November 7 is the 311th day of the year (312th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 54 days remaining. ... 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... July 17 is the 198th day (199th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 167 days remaining. ... 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... June 18 is the 169th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (170th in leap years), with 196 days remaining. ... 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Mythodea, or to give it its full title, Mythodea: Music for the NASA Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey, is an album by the artist Vangelis, released in 2001. ... Insert non-formatted text here July 13 is the 194th day (195th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 171 days remaining. ... 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and marked the Beginning of the International Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (1993-2003). ... June 28 is the 179th day of the year (180th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 186 days remaining. ... 2001: A Space Odyssey. ... August 1 is the 213th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (214th in leap years), with 152 days remaining. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Uncountable cover versions of "Titles" have been recorded in all styles by all manners of artists, like John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra, the electric guitars of The Shadows or the acoustic guitar of Bronn Journey, the 150-BPM house by Trance Opera, the popular piano of Richard Clayderman, the pan flute of Zamfir, or the jazz of Doc Powell. "Titles" has even been sung more than once: by Italian female soprano Gioaria, by Mireille Mathieu, and by Demis Roussos, with lyrics by Jon Anderson.[11][12] The Boston Pops Orchestra was founded in 1885 as a subsection of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. ... This article needs cleanup. ... Beats per minute (bpm) is a unit typically used as either a measure of tempo in music, or a measure of ones heart rate. ... House music is a style of electronic dance music, the earliest forms of which originated in the United States in the early- to mid-1980s. ... Richard Clayderman Richard Clayderman (born Philippe Pagès on December 28, 1953, Paris, France) is a French pianist who has released numerous albums, including renditions and arrangements of popular music, French chansons, and popular piano works of Beethoven, Chopin and Mozart. ... The pan flute (also known as panpipes, syrinx, or quills) is an ancient musical instrument based on the principle of the stopped pipe, consisting usually of ten or more pipes of gradually increasing length (and, at times, girth). ... Gheorghe Zamfir (born April 6, 1941, in Găeşti, Romania) is a famous Romanian musician who is a virtuoso on the pan pipes. ... Mireille Mathieu (album) Mireille Mathieu (born July 22, 1946) is a French singer, who besides being very successful in her own country, became a star of international stature, recording in several languages. ... Demis Roussos in his 40s Artemios (Demis) Ventouris Roussos (born June 15, 1946) is a Greek singer. ... Yes co-founder Jon Anderson Jon Anderson (born October 25, 1944) is a British musician, best known as the lead singer of the progressive rock band Yes. ...

In 2000, the album was remastered by Vangelis and relaunched on CD with improved sound.[5]

Tracks from the album have been included in the following official Vangelis compilations: To the Unknown Man (1982), Themes (1989), Best Of Vangelis (1992), Portraits {So Long Ago, So Clear} (1996), and Odyssey - The Definitive Collection (2003).[13]



  • Vangelis' father, himself a sprinter, died just before Chariots of Fire was released; the album is dedicated to him. [1]
  • Vangelis did not travel to Los Angeles in 1992 to attend the Academy Awards ceremony where he eventually won an Oscar. He was sleeping when he received a phone call at 4 a.m. informing him he had won. [14]
  • "Titles" was used as the theme for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.[2]
  • Commercials that have used music from Chariots of Fire include: a newly recorded version by Vangelis himself in Ridley Scott's "Citroen Xantia" commercial in 1993 [2], and a Nike commercial in 2005 [15].
  • "Titles" is often used for slow-motion sequences and parodies of the sports genre. It is used in the soundtrack of National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), Good Burger (1997) (uncredited), Bruce Almighty (2003), and Madagascar (2005), in all cases in parodic slow-motion sequences.
  • Other films released in theaters crediting Chariots of Fire are: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (2000), Old School (2003), and Kicking & Screaming (2005).
  • On TV, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "Dead Ringer" uses music from Chariots of Fire.
  • In March 2006, U.S. magazine Variety put Chariots of Fire at #18 in the "The Gorgeous 100, the best moments in film music". Vangelis' score for Blade Runner fared even better at #16, making Vangelis the only composer to appear twice in the top 20. [16]

The 1984 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XIV Olympic Winter Games, were held in 1984 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia. ... National Lampoons Vacation is a 1983 comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and starring Chevy Chase and Beverly DAngelo. ... Good Burger is a 1997 comedy film directed by Brian Robbins and starring Kel Mitchell, Kenan Thompson, Sinbad, Shar Jackson, Abe Vigoda, George Clinton, and Jan Schweiterman. ... Bruce Almighty (2003) is a high-grossing comedy movie directed by Tom Shadyac and written by Steve Koren, Mark OKeefe and Steve Oedekerk. ... How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a 2000 live-action film, based on the 1957 Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Due to additions made to the storyline so that it could be brought up to feature-length, it was considerably less faithful to the original book, creating... Old School is a comedy motion picture released by DreamWorks SKG in 2003, about three thirty-somethings who seek to re-live their college days by starting a fraternity, and the tribulations they encounter in doing so. ... Promotional poster for Kicking & Screaming Kicking & Screaming is a 2005 comedy film, directed by Jesse Dylan. ... CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is a popular Alliance Atlantis/CBS police procedural television series, running since October 2000, about a team of forensic scientists. ...


  1. ^ a b c d Daily Telegraph newspaper, November 21 1982
  2. ^ a b c Dennis Lodewijks' Elsewhere
  3. ^ Vangelis interview to Music Maker magazine, September 1982
  4. ^ Vangelis interview to American Film magazine, September 1982
  5. ^ a b c Dennis Lodewijks' Elsewhere
  6. ^ Vangelis interview to Neumusik magazine, issue 5, August 1981
  7. ^ Dennis Lodewijks' Elsewhere
  8. ^ Cashbox magazine top singles charts - 1982
  9. ^ Vangelis interview to Keyboard magazine, December 1992
  10. ^ Dennis Lodewijks' Elsewhere
  11. ^ Dennis Lodewijks' Elsewhere
  12. ^ Dennis Lodewijks' Elsewhere
  13. ^ Dennis Lodewijks' Elsewhere
  14. ^ Vangelis interview to Rolling Stone magazine, May 13 1982
  15. ^ Dennis Lodewijks' Elsewhere
  16. ^ Dennis Lodewijks' Elsewhere



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