Stelios Kazantzidis was born on August 29, 1931. When he was 13, his father who was a resistance fighter died during the Nazi occupation of Greece.
As a young boy, his live was full of difficult times. As a teenager he worked as a baggage handler in Athens Omonia Square, sold roasted chestnuts at the open market (laiki agora) and worked as a laborer at the New Ionia textile mills.
He also served in the military on Makronissos island.
His life changed after his military service when the owner of a factory in the Perissos working district gave him a guitar. He spend hours playing and channeled his feelings into music. He mainly sung about the difficulties of the hardworking factory workers and the Greek people who were forced to emigrate abroad to seek a living.
Kazantzidis made his first nightclub appearance in the early 1950s in Kifissa. In 1952 he made his first studio recording, covering a song by the famous composer Apostolos Kaldaras.
Soon afterwards he had his first commercial success "The Suitcases" which was composed by Yannis Papaioannou.
Throughout his career he worked with some of the best known composers in Greece, including Hiotis, Yiorgos Mitsakis, Tsistanis, Loizos, Hatzidakis, Theodorakis and Xarhakos.
He abandoned the nightclub scene and stopped making live appearances in 1965. During his career he released over 120 albums. He stopped recording in 1976 and spend his time fishing which was his favorite hobby. He said he felt freedom and tranquility fishing with his friends.
He was diagnosed with lung cancer in April 2001 and was hospitalized at the Athens Medical Center. He received treatment in Germany before returning to the hospital in Athens. He passed away at the age of 70 on September 14, 2001.