Giannis Poulopoulos, Popular Greek Singer, Dies at 79

ATHENS – The popular Greek singer Giannis Poulopoulos passed away on August 23 at the age of 79, Kathimerini reported. He will be remembered for his many hits songs from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s and collaborating with the most important Greek composers of the 20th century, including Mikis Theodorakis, Giannis Spanos, and Mimis Plessas. He also appeared in numerous films, during the golden age of Greek cinema in the 1960s, Kathimerini reported.

Poulopoulos was born on June 29, 1941 in the village of Kardamili, in Messinia, but shortly after his parents moved the family to the Saint Ierotheos neighborhood in Peristeri, near Athens. When he was just five years old, his mother passed away and he was raised, along with his younger brother Vasili, by his father Giorgios.

Poulopoulos began singing at a young age and worked as a builder, played soccer in Saint Ierotheos and Atromitos, and also painted in oils.

At age 19, Poulopoulos auditioned for Mikis Theodorakis, Apostolos Kaldaras, Vassilis Tsitsanis, and Giannis Papaioannou. Theodorakis was impressed and arranged for Poulopoulos to sing three songs in a theatrical production with Nikos Kourkoulos and Tzeni Karezi in Iakovos Kambanellis's play, The Neighborhood of Angels.

In 1965 he was the first performer of four songs written by Manos Loizos. It was also about the same time he also had a successful hit with Mi mou thymonis matia mou (Don't be angry with me, my love) composed by Stavros Kouyioumtzis.

By 1966, his records gained considerable popularity and his songs were featured in popular Greek films. In Oi Stigmatismenoi (The Stigmatized), which starred Giorgos Foundas and Maro Kodou, he sang two songs including a duet with Helen Kladi. In O Tetraperatos (The Clever One) with Kostas Hatzichristos, he sang In Piraeus, in Piraeus by Giorgos Katsaros, and in the romantic comedy Tzeni-Tzeni, he and Tzeni Karezi performed a song by Giannis Markopoulos.

Poulopoulos also performed regularly in the famous nightclubs of the time alongside other popular singers, including Marinella, Tolis Voskopoulos, Doukissa, Stratos Dionysiou, and Beba Blans.

His work with Mimis Plessas began in 1966 leaving a legacy of unforgettable songs and albums including O Dromos (The Road) by Plessas and Lefteris Papadopoulos in 1969 which was banned but over the years managed to become the most successful selling album in the history of Greek discography, reaching 3,000,000 copies, a record that to date no other Greek album has approached, the Athens News Agency reported.

By 1970, Poulopoulos was the biggest name in Greek music, the "golden singer," according to a poll that year in a magazine of the time, rating the publicity and public response to contemporary singers, Poulopoulos was ranked first among many other big names.

Poulopoulos also published two collections of poetry, entitled Notebook (1971) and Journey to the Center of the Night (1983), in which we see another aspect of the artist, which illuminates his own inner landscapes and some essential aspects of the thinking man. At the same time, he was involved in painting and etching, having acquired some knowledge from his friend, singer and painter, Stavros Pasparakis.


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