Yiannis Spanos, Greek Composer and Lyricist of the New Wave, Has Died

The late composer and musician Yiannis Spanos. (Photo by Eurokinissi)

ATHENS – Yiannis Spanos, composer and lyricist of the Greek New Wave, has passed away at the age of 85.

He began his music career as a pianist and eventually moved to Paris where he accompanied French performers including like Cora Vaucaire, Serge Gainsbourg, Béatrice Arnac, and Juliette Gréco.

Spanos wrote his first songs in Paris and in French, including the song Sidonie, which was sung by Brigitte Bardot in the film A Very Private Affair. When he returned to Greece, Spanos was a key figure in the Greek New Wave genre and continued to compose music to the present day.

Born in Kiato, Greece, in 1934, he was inspired by his sister’s piano lessons to go into music though his father, a dentist, had wanted him to pursue science. At 17, he moved to Athens and studied piano at the National Conservatory.

Spanos’ began his recording career with the song Mia Agapi Gia to Kalokairi performed by Kaiti Homata. Other albums and hits included Ekino to Kalokairi, San Me Kitas, Odos Aristotelous, Spasmeno Karavi, Mia Fora Thymamai agapouses, Markiza, Eipa na Fygo, Vrohi kai Simera, Tha me Thymithis, Stin Alana, and Mia Kyriaki, among many more.

Spanos composed music for lyrics by Lefteris Papadopoulos and George Papastefanou, as well as for poems by Vasilis Rotas, George Vizyenos, Myrtiotissa, Nikos Kavvadias, and Miltos Sachtouris. His songs were sung by well-known singers including Arleta, Yiannis Parios, and Haris Alexiou.

Spanos passed away on October 31. Details of the funeral arrangements were not available at press time.