On this day in 2012, Greek music legend Mitropanos passes away

Dimitris Mitropanos

Dimitris Mitropanos

Dimitris Mitropanos is one of Greece’s most legendary and loved musicians. He was born on April 2nd, 1948, in the city of Trikala in northwest Thessaly where he lived until the age of 16. He began his incredible music career in 1964.

Mitropanos worked with some of the best known Greek composers, such as Mikis Theodorakis, Stavros Xarhakos, Madra Mandicencio, Manos Hadtzidakis, Marios Tokas and Thanos Mikroutsikos and had been one of the top performers of Greek popular music for over four decades.

Mitropanos was known to be a heavy smoker, which some say is evident from the way his voice progressively changed over the course of his career.

From an early age, Mitropanos, worked summers to help his family financially. First as a waiter in his uncle’s restaurant and later cutting wood. After the third grade of junior high school, in 1964, he went to Athens to live with his uncle. Before finishing high school he began working as a singer.

At the same age, after the encouragement of Grigoris Bithikotsis, whom he met at a gathering of his uncle’s company, where he sang, he visited Columbia. There, Takis Lampropoulos introduced him το Giorgos Zampetas, with whom will work alongside at “Ksimeromata”.

Dimitris Mitropanos considers Giorgos Zampetas as a great teacher and a second father to himself. As Mitropanos stated, “Zambetas is the only man in music which helped me without expecting anything. With all my other colleagues they got something and gave something."

In 1967, Mitropanos recorded his first album with the song “Thessaloniki”. This followed the recording of “Chameni Paschalia”, a song that was censored by the Greek military junta, thus it was never released.

1972 was a milestone. The composer Dimos Moutsis and the lyricist and poet Manos Eleftheriou released “Agios Fevrouarios” with Mitropanos and Petris Salpeas as the song’s performers, marking a milestone in Greek music.

During his long career in the Greek music industry, Dimitris Mitropanos collaborated with leading artists of the Laïko and Éntekhno music including Giorgos Zampetas, Mikis Theodorakis, Dimos Moutsis, Apostolos Kaldaras, Takis Mousafiris, Christos Nikolopoulos (“Pare Apofaseis” with lyrics by Lefteris Papadopoulos) and Yannis Spanos.

In 2010, Mitropanos toured North America. During his tour, he performed at the Radio City Music Hall in front of a near capacity crowd. He sung many of his famous songs that were written in the earlier stages of his career, as well as the more recent songs that continue to be popular among Greeks, such as “Ρόζα”, “Πάντα γελαστοί”, "Tα Λαδαδικα” and many more. Mitropanos concluded his concert with a passionate performance of his famous song “Αλίμονο,” with all in attendance giving him a standing ovation as he walked off the stage.

He sadly passed away on April 17, 2012 after suffering from a heart attack and pulmonary edema.

He will always be remembered as one of Greece’s most recognisable voices and legend of the rebetika genre.