Makulis was born in Athens on April 12, 1935. He made a name for himself in Greece with songs such as "Αντίο" (Adio), "Ένα φιλάκι είναι λίγο" (One kiss is not enough), "Πετούν" (They fly), "Tina" and "Κιθάρες παίζουν μες στη σιγαλιά" (Guitars are playing in the silence).
In the late 1950s Makulis left Greece for Germany to launch his singing career abroad. In 1961, he became the first Greek singer to participate in the Eurovision song contest (he represented Austria) singing "Sehnsucht". His greatest hit abroad was "Gitarren Klingen Leise Durch Die Nacht", which was his older Greek hit "Guitars are playing in the night", sung in German.