Heaven and Hell (Vangelis album)

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Heaven and Hell
Vangelis Heaven and Hell.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 1975[1]
RecordedSeptember 1975
StudioNemo Studios, London
GenreElectronica, classical
LabelRCA (Original)
Windham Hill (Reissue)
Esoteric Recordings (2013)
Vangelis chronology
L'Apocalypse des animaux
Heaven and Hell
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Heaven and Hell is a studio album by Greek electronic composer Vangelis, released in December 1975[1] on RCA Records. It is the first album recorded at his Nemo Studios in London that he used until 1987. It is a concept album based on duality.[2]

The album marks Vangelis' departure from the progressive rock sound on his previous album Earth (1973), with adoption of a more classical synthesized sound, as well his UK chart debut.[3]


In 1975, Vangelis moved to London where he set up his own Nemo Studios. The album was his first record made at the studio. He recalls that "I was trying to put together the studio while recording my first album, Heaven and Hell, at the same time. In fact, the studio was Hell because there was unmixed concrete everywhere, builders all over the place making a lot of noise, and next to all that, there I was, trying to finish my album. There was no limit as to how much time I could spend working on the album, but I felt I just had to do it, and in any case, the only way you can complete the construction of a studio quickly is to start working in it before it's actually finished".[4]

Vangelis recalls "I don't like to prepare for a long, long, long time an album. It's more exciting for me to sit down and to play whatever comes. So this is the way that Heaven and Hell happens. I spent six weeks to make this album but I spent maybe two weeks to put down the first tracks". Vangelis played all the instruments except the choir.[3]

The album marked Vangelis' first collaboration with singer Jon Anderson, who sings on "So Long Ago, So Clear", the closing section of Part One.[5] Vangelis recalls how they "sat down one day and I start to play the melody and he felt so comfortable that immediately he started to write the words".[3]


Heaven and Hell reached #31 in the UK Albums Chart on January 10, 1976.[6] The album gained further recognition when "Movement 3" became the theme for the American television documentary series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan.[3] In 1981 it was released as a single titled "Heaven and Hell (Theme from 'The Cosmos')", and reached #48 in the UK Singles Chart on 18 July 1981.[6]

In 2011 the album was included along with Albedo 0.39 and Spiral in a 3-CD box set series "Original Album Classics" by Sony, RCA and Legacy Recordings.[7] In 2013 the album was released as a remastered and reissued digipak edition by Esoteric Recordings.[8] The same label in September 2014 released a remastered gatefold vinyl limited edition.[9]


It is one of the most important works by Vangelis as it demonstrated for the first time his combination of synthesizer, percussion and a chorus in a rich orchestral style of electronic music. It is one of many thematic albums by Vangelis, contrasting images of Heaven, expressed with a more tranquil sound, and Hell, which sounds more avant-garde.[10]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[11]

Steven McDonald of AllMusic described it as a "dark, thundering album" which "massed Gothic choirs and a musical depiction of all the tortures of the damned, with an impressive amount of string-driven shrieking", concluding "... it's a brilliant piece of work that should not be absent from any Vangelis collection".[11] Henri Stirk from Background Magazine rated the 2013 edition by Esoteric Recordings 3/5 stars.[12]

Track listing[edit]


Note: Early pressings of the LP include a more detailed track listing. "So Long Ago, So Clear" is listed separately on the sleeve in all editions, as opposed to the other listed tracks.

Side one
  1. "Heaven and Hell Part I"
  • "Bacchanale" — 4:40
  • "Symphony to the Powers B" (Movements 1 and 2) — 8:18
  • "Movement 3" (from "Symphony to the Powers B") — 4:03
  • "So Long Ago, So Clear" — 5:00
Side two
  1. "Heaven and Hell Part II"
  • "Intestinal Bat" — 3:18
  • "Needles & Bones" — 3:22
  • "12 O'Clock" (in two parts) — 8:48
  • "Aries" — 2:05
  • "A Way" — 3:45


  1. "Heaven and Hell Part I" — 21:58
    • includes "So Long Ago, So Clear" — 4:58
  2. "Heaven and Hell Part II" — 21:16


  • Vangelis — producer, arranger
  • Alan Lucas — sound engineer
  • Geoff Halpin — logo design
  • Mike Doud — sleeve concept
  • Paul Wakefield — photographer

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Vangelis | A musical journey | (Page 2 of 15) | Vangelis Papathanassiou". NemoStudios.co.uk. Archived from the original on December 16, 2017. Retrieved March 9, 2019. The first studio album to emerge from Nemo Studios was entitled 'Heaven and Hell', which was released in November 1975.
  2. ^ Dali De Clair (June 1979). "An interview with Vangelis". Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "Vangelis Makes His UK Chart Debut". uDiscover. January 10, 2016. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  4. ^ Dan Goldstein (November 1984), "Soil Festivities Vangelis Speaks", Electronics & Music Maker, retrieved August 22, 2016
  5. ^ Review: "Vangelis: Heaven and Hell (remastered)" - Sea of Tranquility
  6. ^ a b "Vangelis" (select "Albums" and "Singles" tab). Official Charts Company.
  7. ^ "Vangelis – Heaven And Hell / Albedo 0.39 / Spiral". Discogs. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  8. ^ "Heaven And Hell (Official Vangelis Supervised Remastered Edition)". Cherry Red Records. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  9. ^ "Heaven And Hell: Gatefold Vinyl Edition". Cherry Red Records. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  10. ^ "Vangelis – Heaven and Hell". Synthtopia. January 3, 2004. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Allmusic review".
  12. ^ "Vangelis - Background Magazine Review". Background Magazine. Retrieved August 20, 2016.

External links[edit]