Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Top 37-Alec R Constandinos The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1978
Alec R. Costandinos, (born Alexandre Kouyoumdjian in 1944 in Cairo, Egypt) has long been considered one of the original catalysts of the French disco scene of the 70's. He was also intimately involved as a writer, publisher and musician in the development of Aphrodite's Child with Vangelis and Greek-born pop singer, Demis Roussos. On the disco front, he contributed to the debut album of Crystal Grass, which featured the club hit "Crystal World", released on the Philips label in France. Alec was also the publisher of hits for various artists including French chanteuse Dalida. Aside his name, he has also written under the pseudonym R. Rupen.
His father was Armenian and his mother was Greek.
He is known for his outstanding collaborations that assisted in the development of French disco drummer Cerrone. During Cerrone's tenure with John Kongos and later fusion act Kongas, their collaboration "Anikana-O", led to the solo release of Cerrone's "Love In C Minor". The 17 minute disco opus was an instant disco hit and sent shock waves through the club circuit, echoing Donna Summer's ode to love from a male perspective. Four cuts were featured on the complete album, including the spectacular "Midnite Lady".
After parting company with Cerrone, Constandinos launched his own project, the aptly titled Love & Kisses. Released initially on the Barclay distributed Rei Vera label in France, his two song album, featuring "Accidental Lover" and the instant classic "I've Found Love (Now That I've Found You)" rocketed up the Billboard Disco Charts. Sung by the late Joanne Stone (also known as Joanne Williamstone), with a chorus rumoured to be a collective of Sunny Leslie & Sue Glover, it was the genesis of Alec's foray into the U.S. disco market. It also featured a provocative cover, with four hands ripping the t-shirt of a scantily clad model. Casablanca Records immediately snapped up the American rights to the album, the first of a long term collaboration of projects. "Accidental Lover" was also covered in America, and released on the Salsoul imprint owned by Tom Moulton.
Costandinos collaborated for a 2nd time with French arranger Raymond Donnez, aka Don Ray on an additional project, in the form of a re-telling of Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet". Using the same ensemble cast as with Love & Kisses, it also rocketed to # 1. This project was composed completely by Alec himself, delivered in five pieces of in "suite" form, with parts 1 & 2 being the "hit single" elements and the "B" side being more of a downtempoed "morning music" flavour. The project was released under the name Alec. R Costandinos & The Synchophonic Orchestra.
Several other concept albums were produced by Alec. The story of Judas Iscariot was presented in the form of "Simon Peter" on the album Sphinx. Paris Connection, was essentially an album of previously recorded songs such as "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" framed around newly created elements. The gem of this project was a blissful re-interpretation of Barry Ryan's 1965 hit "Eloise" as the key selection. He has also scored international movies such as "Trocadero Bleu Citron". Perhaps the best of his more "underground" or "cult" recordings was "Golden Tears" by Sumeria. The story of a man who falls to earth to become part of the human race, it features hits such as "Dance (And Leave It All Behind You). Loosely, it also appears to foreshadow a few ABC television series developed around the same time: Mork & Mindy.
Love & Kisses made additional chart appearance with singles such as "How Much, How Much I Love You", as well as the title track from the Casablanca filmworks feature film Thank God It's Friday. "You're The Most Precious Thing In My Life" was also included on the soundtrack. Extended versions were shipped to disco DJ's as part of a promotion-only set. Under the name of Alec. R. Costandinos & The Synchophonic Orchestra, additional projects were released without significant hit results.
After his days at Casablanca, he recorded for RCA France, having had success with tracks such as "Something's Cookin'" and "Americana". He also released additional singles in French on the Carrere label. He also produced Tina Turner's debut solo album on EMI, which featured the disco hit "Love Explosion".