Manos Hatzidakis is known as one of Greece’s absolute legends in the music industry. He was a Greek composer and theorist of Greek music– perhaps modern Greece’s greatest composer and songwriter, rivaled only by Mikis Theodorakis.
He was born in the northern town of Xanthi, Greece, on October 23, 1925. He started piano lessons at age four, and later learned the violin and accordion as well.
Hatzidakis helped usher in a new era of Greek music in the post-WWII era, elevating the earthiest strains of Greek folk and popular song into respected art forms. In the process, he found tremendous popular success in Greece, chiefly through his work as a pop songwriter, and became familiar to international audiences through his movie soundtracks. In 1960 he received an Academy Award for Best Original Song for his song ‘Never on Sunday’ from the film of the same name.
He also composed contemporary classical pieces for ensembles small and large, often inspired by Greek poetry, and wrote for theatre and ballet. Many of his songs, larger compositions, and recordings are considered classics in Greece, and cornerstones of the country’s modern popular music.
Hatzidakis remained a highly respected intellectual and cultural figure in Greece up until his death in 1994. He passed away on the 15th of June in Athens at the age of 68, from fluid in the lungs.
In 1999 the City of Athens dedicated Technopolis Museum in his memory.