Born in 1949 in Corfu, the talented daughter of Greek singer, musician and composer Leo Leandros, Vicky moved to Germany aged five. By the time she was 13 she was an accomplished musician singer, dancer and released her first hit single “Messer, Gabel, Schere, Licht.”
Two years later as Vicky, she represented Luxembourg at the Eurovision Song Contest and although she did not win with “L’amour est bleu”, the song went on to become a million seller. Sandie Shaw was the winner on that occasion with "Puppet on a String" (music and text by Bill Martin - William Wylie Macpherson - and Phil Coulter).
This was the beginning of an extraordinary career for Vicky and her manager father. A polyglot, fluent in Greek, German, English and French, sang in eight different languages and her records subsequently sold all over the world. From Japan to Canada, from Australia to South Africa her hit making ability was unsurpassed and during the 70s she became one of the most popular singers, in the world. Vicky Leandros was back in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1972 and this time swept the panels away with “Après Toi". ("Come What May"). She recorded the song in seven languages and subsequent sales meant Vicky has outsold all her Eurovision Song Contest rivals, including Sir Cliff Richard with her two songs.
“Après Toi" topped over 10 million sales and her fans snapped up her nest two singles "Ich Hab' Die Liebe Geseh'n " and (my favourite) “When Bouzoukis Played ".
By the middle of the 70s her fame spread and Japanese audiences began to pay attention. She became a huge star there with her records selling in the millions. Vicky mastered Japanese sufficiently well enough to sing and produces albums in Japan. She had a massive hit with "Watashi no Sukina Chocolate"! ( I Like Chocolate).
Her management also promoted Vicky in the US and she went to Tennessee and Miami to record country rock and soul rhythms which was a departure from her established style. This met with definite critical acclaim by Vicky despite signing with CBS was uncomfortable and returned to Europe. In 1979 "Oh Mi Mama" and “Tu Me Has Hecho Sentir" became surprise hits in Spanish speaking countries but CBS were not pleased with Vick Leadros and refused to release her much anticipated album.
The singer took time off to start a family. "Verlorenes Paradies" re-established Vicky as a star performer and chart topper.
Careful marketing and clever targeting throughout the 80s reinforced Vicky’s popularity across Europe, Canada and Japan. Her fans had not forgotten her and when her Greek fans rediscovered their lost daughter, Vicky’s career was complete. In 1994 she sang a duet with Tony Christie called “We're gonna stay together" and continued to record and produce top class albums which sold incredibly well. Vicky had more chart success across the globe and even sang in the German pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest.
In 2000, Vicky Leandros started producing her own records and on her first album Jetzt ! she received critical praise especially for Separate Tables with Chris De Burgh
Vicky Leandros continues to record and experiment with different styles.
Worth a listen:
Messer, Gabel, Schere, Licht. (1965)
L’amour est bleu (1967)
When Bouzoukis Played (1973)
Verlorenes Paradies (1982)
Don't Break My Heart (2006)
Puppet of an string (1967)