Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Socrates Drank The Conium: Discography

Socrates will probably never get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But while other

groups were becoming well known in the free world, this Hendrix-style blues band was playing to standing-room-only crowds in a small club in Athens, during Greece's military dictatorship, a period when even Rolling Stone albums were hard to find, and for a time illegal.

Socrates sounded like several bands that were popular at the time, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Deep Purple, Blue Cheer, and Black Sabbath come to mind now when I hear their music from that early

period, though the majority of their material was original. There were songs that were crowd favorites such as "Close the Door and Lay Down" (or what we called "Do It To The Rythm"), "Starvation" ("Give Them Some Bread") and "Underground", but often the highlight of the evening was when they did their Hendrix songs like "Voodoo Chile", "Message of Love" and "Red House" or jammed on songs like "Kansas City" with singer Jimi Quidd (later of the NY Dots) and Greek-American blues guitarist John Kronis.

John Spathas played a Fender Strat, long straight hair hanging down almost to the guitar, he was motionless except for his hands which effortlessly ripped out the most fluid, solos and riffs. He always

hooked the chord to his amp over the bottom cutaway so he would not step on it and pull it out during a solo, I suppose. It was sort of his trademark in a way and we would watch him tune up and wait for him to do it which meant to us that the music was about to begin. He would play some mind-boggling riff to make sure the volume was right or the guitar was in tune and they would be off. Antonis Tourkoyorgis played bass and sang and if Spathas gave the appearance of being introverted he was the complete opposite. He was also a great bass player.

The powerful sound this little three-piece band with their stacks of Marshalls  put out in the Kittaro club kept us coming back night after night. In all honesty I have to say that to this day I have not heard any band, three-piece or more, fill as much musical space. Seeing the Who in 1976 I

found myself comparing them to Socrates. OK, the Who is the Who. But apart from the personalities, the songs I knew and the flamboyance, were Townshend, Entwhistle and Moon as good a band as Socrates? No way. Led Zepplin? Nope. You'd have to ask someone who had seen Hendrix or Cream to make the judgement about those bands but I can't imagine anyone being better than Socrates on a good night and as far as those nights in the Kittaro went I don't think they ever had a bad night. They were too good to have a bad night.

What made them so remarkable was the guitar playing of John Spathas. Even today listening to the solos he played in 1972 I still can't believe the music he was making. Brent Lambert of Kitchen

Mastering, quite a guitar player himself, after hearing several Spathas solos from thirty years ago said "If this guy had come to America he would be a guitar hero and everyone would know his name." If you liked the way Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore, Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen play you will love Spathas and if you play guitar yourself you will wonder "If this was thirty years ago and he is still playing how good must he be now?"

Vangelis Papathanasiou, otherwise known as Vangelis joined them for an album or two and made

them more of a progressive-rock band with lots of keyboard, synth and guitar interweavings. But the three-piece version of the band's first two albums and the original rock-blues style was probably their best shot at world fame.

John Spathas (30 November 1950 – 6 July 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.

Matt Barrett's  


Οι Socrates είναι το καλύτερο και το πιο ιστορικό Rock συγκρότημα της χώρας μας, κυρίως στη δεκαετία του '70. Το ιστορικό και αξεπέραστο αυτό συγκρότημα δημιουργήθηκε στα τέλη των 60's,

από δυο συμμαθητές τους Γιάννη Σπάθα και τον Αντώνη Τουρκογιώργη (στον Πειραια). Το απόλυτο Ελληνικό Rock group που σφράγισε με το πέρασμα του όλη την πορεία της Ελληνικής Rock σκηνής, ήταν η εποχή της μεγάλης μουσικής έκρηξης σε παγκόσμιο επίπεδο στο χώρο της Rock. Μιας έκρηξης που ξεπήδησε από το κίνημα των hippies και την γενιά της αμφισβήτησης και είχε σαν αποτέλεσμα την εμφάνιση στο μουσικό στερέωμα, καλλιτεχνών που έμειναν αξεπέραστοι και κλασικοί.

Οι Socrates έπαιξαν ένα κράμα ανάμεσα σε Rock - Hard Rock - Blues Rock - Progressive Rock και Heavy Psychedelic Rock. Οι κοινή αγάπη για την μουσική έκανε τους Socrates, από ερασιτεχνικό σχήμα σε πραγματικό επαγγελματικό συγκρότημα, καθώς και σημείο αναφοράς για πολλούς. Πριν τους

Socrates, ήταν στο ερασιτεχνικό σχήμα Persons μαζί με τον Ηλία Ασβεστόπουλο, (2002 GR), οι Persons ήταν λοιπόν ο προπομπός των Socrates αφού έπαιζαν σε αυτούς οι: Σπάθας - Τουρκογιώργης - Μπουκουβάλας, σαν Persons κυκλοφόρησαν 3 σπάνια (πια) singles. Οι Socrates ήταν μια από τις καλύτερες στιγμές του Ελληνικού Rock. Ακολούθησαν το ρεύμα της εποχής τραγουδούν Αγγλικά, συνδυάζοντας με τον καλύτερο τρόπο το Hard Rock με στοιχεία Ελληνικής παραδοσιακής μουσικής. Σ' αυτό συνέβαλε και η πολύ καλή τεχνική τους, γεγονός που τους καθιστά ακόμη και σήμερα περιζήτητους sessions μουσικούς.

Στα τέλη του 1968 αρχές 1969 ξεκινούν παίζοντας συνθέσεις των Cream, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix,

(ακούν τα τραγούδια σε juke-box και μετά τρέχουν στο σπίτι να τα προβάρουν, αφού δεν είχαν pick-up και δίσκους). Τότε οι Socrates Drank The Conium, (και αργότερα χάριν συντομίας Socrates), ήταν οι εξής: Αντώνης Τουρκογιώργης - vocals/ bass, Γιάννης Σπάθας - guitar και Ηλίας Μπουκουβάλας - drums.

Αντώνης Τουρκογιώργης [Antonis Tourkoyorgis] (bass, vocals),
Γιάννης Σπάθας [John Spathas] (guitar),
Ηλίας Μπουκουβάλας [Elias Boukouvalas] (drums, 1969-72),
Johnny Lambizzi (guitar, 1971),
Κώστας Δουκάκης [Gus Doukakis] (guitar, 1972-73),
Γιώργος Τρανταλίδης [Yiorgos Trantalidhs] [Giorgos Tradalidis] (drums, 1972-76)
Νίκος Αντύπας [Nikos Antypas] (drums, 1980-81)


Socrates Drank the Conium – 1971
Taste of Conium – 1972
On the Wings – 1973
Phos – 1976
Waiting for Something – 1980
Breaking Through – 1981



Socrates Drank The Conium – Socrates Drank The Conium
Label: Polydor – 523605 2
Format: CD, Album, Reissue, Remastered  1994
Country: Greece
Released: 1971
Genre: Rock
Style: Hard Rock, Classic Rock


01. Live In The Country    3:40
02. Something In The Air    3:15
03. Bad Conditions    3:59
04. It's A Disgusting World    6:50
05. Close The Door And Lay Down    3:10
06. Blind Illusion    3:30
07. Hoo Yeah!    3:35
08. Underground    4:40
09. Starvation    3:45

Bass, Vocals – Antonis Tourkogiorgis
Drums – Elias Boukouvalas
Lead Guitar – John Spathas
Written-By – D. Wood (3) (tracks: 2, 8), Elias Boukouvalas (tracks: 4), John Spathas, Antonis Tourkogiorgis

Flac  Size: 213 MB


Socrates Drank The Conium – Taste Of Conium
Label: Polydor – 5318722
Format: CD, Album, Reissue, Remastered 1996
Country: Greece
Released: 1972
Genre: Rock
Style: Classic Rock, Hard Rock


01. Wild Satisfaction   13:00
Written-By – E. Boukouvalas, J. Spathas, K. Richards, M. Jagger, A. Tourkogiorgis
02. Good Morning Blues   2:25
Written-By – E. Boukouvalas, J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis
03. See See Rider   3:10
Arranged By – Elias Boukouvalas, John Spathas, Antonis Tourkogiorgis
Written-By – M. Rainey
04. Door Of The Dream   4:30
Written-By – J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis
05. Waiting For The Sun   2:55
Written-By – J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis
06. A Trip In The Sky   3:22
Written-By – J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis
07. It's O.K   1:45
Written-By – J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis
08. Born To Be Free   2:30
Written-By – J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgi
09. She's Gone Away    4:20
Written-By – J. Spathas, A. Tourkogiorgis

Bass, Vocals – Antonis Tourkogiorgis
Drums – George Tradalidis
Lead Guitar – John Spathas

Flac  Size: 242 MB



Socrates Drank The Conium – On The Wings
Label: Polydor – 531871-2
Format: CD, Album,  1997
Country: Greece
Released: 1973    
Genre: Rock
Style: Hard Rock, Classic Rock


Who Is To Blame    3:50
02. Destruction    4:35
03. Naked Trees    5:00
04. Death Is Gonna Die    3:32
05. This Is The Rats    2:50
06. Lovesick Kid's Blues    2:52
07. On The Wings Of Death    2:25
08. Breakdown    3:05
09. Tripping In A Crystal Forest    2:48
10. Regulations (If I Were A President)    2:40

Flac  Size: 218 MB


Socrates With Vangelis O. Papathanassiou – Phos
Label:Vertigo – 518738 2
Format:CD, Album, Reissue, Remastered 1993
Style:Prog Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock


01. Starvation    3:43
02. Queen Of The Universe    4:58
03. Every Dream Comes To An End    5:52
04. The Bride    3:35
05. Killer    2:25
06. A Day In Heaven    4:30
07. Time Of Pain    3:26
08. Mountains    7:28

Drums, Percussion – George Tradalidis
Executive-Producer – Vangelis Papathanassiou
Keyboards, Percussion – Vangelis Papathanassiou
Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – John Spathas
Vocals, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass – Antonis Tourkogiorgis
Written-By – Vangelis Papathanassiou (tracks: 3), John Spathas, Antonis Tourkogiorgis, George Tradalidis (tracks: 2, 3, 8)

Flac  Size: 204 MB


Socrates – Waiting For Something
Label: Minos – 7243 4 80748 2 9
Format: CD, Album, Remastered 1995
Country: Greece
Released: 1980
Genre:  Rock
Style: Hard Rock, Classic Rock


01. Mr. W.C.   4:05
02. Most People I Know       3:59
03. Endless   3:23
04. Mountains   7:02
05. Lady   4:26
06. Threw The Dice   4:12
07. Valley Of Glory   4:44
08. Magic Mirror       6:18

Bass – George Zikoyannis
Drums, Percussion – Nikos Antypas
Keyboards – Pavlos Alexiou
Lead Guitar – John Spathas
Lead Vocals, Guitar – Antonis Tourkoyorgis
Producer – Mikis Corinthios
Recorded By, Mixed By – Kostas Fassolas

Flac  Size: 220 MB


Socrates – Breaking Through
Label: Minos-EMI – 7243 4 80912 2 2
Series: Minos EMI CD Club
Format:    CD, Album 1995
Country: Greece
Released: 1981
Genre: Rock
Style: Hard Rock, Classic Rock


01. Don't You Like    3:07
02. Falling Angel    2:55
03. Born Again    2:54
04. Hot Blooded Blues    6:26
05. More And More    3:54
06. Jenny And Penny    3:20
07. Master Of Disaster    3:39
08. Breaking Through    3:25

John Spathas (Γιάννης Σπάθας)
Antonis Tourkogiorgis (Αντώνης Τουρκογιώργης)
Nick Antypas (Νίκος Αντύπας)
Nick Politis (Νίκος Πολίτης) (tracks: 8)
Design [Cover] – Yanis Vavouras

Flac  Size: 168 MB 


  1. Hey, what a GREAT post. I'm very happy. There is a lot of interesting things to discover here. I only have 2 of them. The second from 1972 and phos(76). I just didn't pursue it further. This is a big help for me now is already in the shopping cart and will be ordered on April 1st along with many many others. ( Get a double salary).
    Cd still not arrived ? This is starting to worry me. If i get something from Greece it goes very quickly.
    By the way how nice you made this entry with all those photos. A sympathetic band also in appearance. I especially like the one on the stairs. Strongly reminds your of your own truth. Thank you for everything.

    1. Don't worry my friend. The CD arrived just today. Many thanks Josef.

    2. I will listen very carefully the CD and I will write my opinion. But I am sure that it will be amazing because I trust you very much. We love the same music and this is great 😍

    3. So it's Kostas, we love the same music. I'm sure you like it.

    4. Thank you Josef, once again.

    5. Hello Josef. 2CDs arrived: Various: Ready For Take Off and The Beatniks: On A Blue Day. I will listen to them very carefully, after my trip in Italy. Thank you.

    6. That's amazing for me that you get the Beatniks. I actually only commissioned the sampler. Not that i didn't want to sent them to you, i just don't think they're particularly good. A very obscure Austrian beat band, well. Just like your time listening. I wish you a nice stay in Italy.

    7. After consultation with the friend. He included it with you as a bonus cd. ( Beatniks)

  2. Ευχαριστώ για το post! Αν και κάτι εντελώς διαφορετικό από αυτό που όλοι γνωρίζουμε ως Socrates, υπάρχει περίπτωση να ανεβεί στο μέλλον ο δίσκος που παρήγαγαν το 1982 στην Αγγλία, ως Plaza;

    1. Δεν αγόρασα ποτέ αυτό το άλμπουμ, ούτε σε βινύλιο ούτε σε CD. Το έχω μόνο σε MP3 στο αρχείο μου.

  3. Dear Kostas ,about Brain Polish & Socrates the Microsoft Defender inform that there is a virus on FLAC.(Accept Taste of...}

    1. This is not true. It's nonsense. There is no virus in the links. Don't worry. Some antivirus programs try to protect you without a reason. I have the same problem with some internet pages. Don't trust Microsoft Defender.

    2. OK.! KOSTAS GO ON...!