One of the greatest Greek singers in the history of popular Greek music, Giannis Poulopoulos died on Sunday night. He was 79.
It’s understood that the singer had been in intensive care at Attikon Hospital in Athens for serious health problems.
Poulopoulos was one of the biggest stars in Greek music, with a back-catalogue of hits spanning throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s before noting a brief 1990s revival.
In terms of album sales, he is the fourth biggest-selling Greek artist of all time.
His popularity grew with a unique and distinctive melodic vocal tone and ‘elafrolaiko’ romantic style.
Giannis’ songs during the 1980s were to dominate LGR playlists, such as ‘Agape Me’ and ‘Mi Mou Thymonis Matia Mou’. Other hits included ‘Ola Dika Sou Matia Mou’, ‘Tha Pio Apopse To Feggari’, ‘Mia Fora Monaha Ftanei’, ‘Kamaroula Mia Stalia’ and ‘Pia Nyhta S’Eklepse’, amongst other songs.
Perhaps his most enduring hit was ‘To Agalma’, (The Statue), who remembers him first meeting his love and how the statue starts crying when it hears about his heartache and her wrong-doing.
He collaborated with some of Greece’s biggest composers such as Mikis Theodorakis, Giannis Spanos, Mimis Plessas, Manos Loizos amongst others.
His album ‘O Dromos’ by Mimis Plessas and Lefteris Papadopoulos in 1969 was to become the most successful selling album of all-time, selling in excess of three million copies, a feat that no other Greek album has approached to date.
Poulopoulos also appeared in several films, during the golden age of Greek cinema in the 1960s, such as ‘Oi Stigmatismenoi’, which also starred Giorgos Foundas and Maro Kodou; ‘O Tetraperatos’ with Kostas Hatzichristos; ‘Piraeus’ by Giorgos Katsaros, and in the romantic comedy ‘Tzeni-Tzeni’, where he performed with Tzeni Karezi.
Giannis Poulopoulos was born on 29th June 1941 in the village of Kardamili, in Messinia. His parents moved the family to the Saint Lerotheos neighbourhood in Peristeri, near Athens.
When he was just five years old, his mother died and he was raised, along with his younger brother Vasili, by his father Giorgios.
He started singing at a young age and worked as a builder, played soccer in Saint Lerotheos and Atromitos, and also painted.
At the age of 19, Giannis 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.’ He was signed to Columbia Records.
After leaving Columbia in 1964, he completed compulsory service in the army and was discharged two years later, where he started singing in small clubs in Plaka and recording songs again.
In 1966, he sang in a Mikis Theodorakis concert at the AEK stadium in Nea Philadelphia, together with Grigoris Bithikotsis, Maria Farantouri and Dimitris Mitropanos. In the same year he relaunched his recording career.
He retired from music in 1999, and was regularly approached with substantial proposals to sing in clubs and record again, however, the singer declined all offers.
Giannis Poulopoulos leaves behind a legacy of timeless classics and everyone at LGR is saddened to hear of his passing.
London Greek Radio will pay tribute to him from Monday 24th August to Sunday 30th August. May he rest in peace.
Giannis Poulopoulos 1941 – 2020.