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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 17 December 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 17 DECEMBER 2016 19 ARTS Frank Zappa Alexis Korner Maria Callas George Michael The Andrews Sisters Cat Stevens Demis Roussos Onassis, her one-time love. Maria would grace the cover of Time and many publications of the 1950s. #5 The Andrews Sisters, featuring LaVerne, Maxine and Patty, were born to a Greek father, Peter Andreos, and a Norwegian mother. Before the advent of rock and pop, the world was treated to the swing, harmony, jazz and boogie woogie of the sisters. Their fact file contains 600 recordings with almost 100 million sales globally and 46 Top Ten placings. They were active mainly before Billboard officially counted sales and radio play. This reason, and the fact there was less competition before Elvis and the Beatles, keeps them no higher than #5 on the list. # 4 Frank Zappa is one guitarist, singer and songwriter that time will never forget. With an incredible 62 albums released during his lifetime and more than 40 since his 1993 passing (not even 2Pac had that many posthumously), there is little more we can add. Except to say he is consistently mentioned in the same breath as Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and Stones. His heritage is from Naples and a Greek village in Sicily. #3 Cat Stevens, aka Steven Demetre Georgiou, was born a London lad, with a career in the ‘70s that made him a superstar. Like many a Greek, I have felt (fleetingly) disappointed he converted to Islam, however, his humanitarian work and belief in people makes religion a moot point. Very pleased to hear how he refers to his Greek Cypriot roots and culture. Accumulating 14 studio records and 26 singles, this extraordinary talent has created some classics. #2 Demis Roussos, the flamboyant and extremely talented singer, passed away in 2015, and the world lost one of its best. His 70 million records sold tell only part of the story; the Alexandria-born Demis was a genius of the 1970s, with charisma and a sound matched by few in the industry internationally. Turn on the radio and his music played. He started his career in the 1960s with the acclaimed Afrodite's Child, which had a number of hits abroad and at one time featured composer Vangelis. Demis owned the decade that followed, with classics including Forever and Ever and My Friend the Wind. With 38 albums to his credit, many of his songs charted in the Top Ten. Arguably the first true male Greek superstar. # 1 George Michael, like Cat Stevens, has Greek Cypriot heritage and a music catalogue that quite simply is timeless. Even if his career stopped with Wham!, between 1982 to 1986, he would be remembered. The fact is he went on to not only outsell his pop duo group, but matured and became a genius of the highest order. Turn on the radio, sit in a bar or switch on a music show and chances are you will hear one of his tunes. His ‘Faith’ offering alone sold a staggering 25 million copies and his very average ‘Songs from the Last Century’ sold well internationally, which proves his poularity around the world. Whether you are Too Funky or simply after a Careless Whisper, chances are you will be singing along. Honourable mentions: the charismatic Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand, Everclear, Elena Paparizou, who had many hits in Europe and previously with her band Antique, Johnny Otis from the 1950s, opera singer Mario Frangoulis, Marina and the Diamonds from Wales, Romanianborn Iannis Xerakis and rapper Diam. *Billy Cotsis is the author of The Many Faces of Hellenic Culture.
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