Greece’s Leading Rock Guitarist Yannis Spathas Dies at 69



Yannis Spathas. Source: Wikipedia

Considered one of the top guitarists in Greece and one of the founders of the Socrates music band, Yannis Spathas, passed away on Saturday at the age of 69.

Yannis Spathas (November 30, 1950 -July 6, 2019) was a Greek guitarist, founding member of the rock band Socrates Drank the Conium (or simply Socrates), and one of the most famous Greek electric guitar players.

Born in 1950 in Paxos, Yannis came in contact with music through his father and uncles. He learned how to play the small accordion, drums, and the guitar. In Pireas, where he grew up, he formed the band Persons (1966-1969), with Antonis Tourkogiorgis and Ilias Asvestopoulos, and later on formed the Socrates band again with Tourkogiorgis.

In 1983, after the split of the Socrates band, Spathas collaborated as an orchestra and guitarist with artists such as: Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hadjidakis, Maria Farantouri, Yannis Markopoulos, George Dalaras, Haris Alexiou, Manolis Lidakis, Nikos Antypas, Lina Nikolakopoulou, Dionysis Savvopoulos, Manos Loizos, Eleni Karaindrou, and others. He also composed the three albums for Vasilis Lekkas.

In 1999 he released his first personal album, in which Haris Alexiou participated in. According to Spathas, his greatest influences were Jimi Hendrix and Anastasios Chalkias.

During the Socrates era, when Spatha’s would play the electric guitar he would be compared with Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple.

He is considered to be one of the most important guitarists of the Greek rock scene from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s.

Spathas. Source: Wikipedia

Matt Barrett Econopouli, said that for young people in Greece, Spathas was one of their guitar heroes.

Brent Lambert’s sound engineer at the Kitchen Mastering studio, claimed that if Spathas was recording in the 1970s in America, his name would have been known all over the world.