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Aphrodite's Child. L-R: Loukas Sideras, Demis Roussos and Vangelis.
|Genres||Progressive rock, psychedelic rock|
|Associated acts||Irene Papas|
|Past members||Vangelis Papathanassiou
Anargyros "Silver" Koulouris
Aphrodite's Child was a Greek progressive rock band formed in 1967, by Vangelis Papathanassiou (keyboards), Demis Roussos (bass guitar and vocals), Loukas Sideras (drums and vocals), and Anargyros "Silver" Koulouris (guitar).
Papathanassiou and Roussos had already been successful in Greece (playing in the bands Formynx and Idols respectively) while they got together with Sideras and Koulouris (born 26 January 1947, Piraeus, Greece) to form a new band. Their band's name was derived from the title of a track from another Mercury act, Dick Campbell, from his Sings Where It's At album.
Their first recording as a band was for George Romanos' album In Concert and in Studio where they played on four songs and were credited as "Vangelis and his Orchestra". In the same year they recorded a two-song demo and submitted it to Philips Records. It was probably Vangelis' idea that the still-anonymous band should be relocated to London, which would be a more suitable environment for their music, as their country had entered a right-wing dictatorship in 1967. This decision, however, was not problem-free. Koulouris had to stay in Greece to fulfill his military service, while the band, on their way to London, got stuck in Paris partially because they did not have the correct work permits and partially because of the strikes associated with the May 1968 events.
Paris, and their first album
In Paris they signed to Mercury Records and were christened "Aphrodite's Child" by Lou Reisner, releasing their first single "Rain and Tears", a reworking of Pachelbel's Canon in D major. With this song the band became an overnight sensation in France and several other European countries in which the single charted well, despite the song being sung in English and not French. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. In October of the same year, the band released their first album End of the World. The album contained an equal amount of psychedelic pop songs and ballads in the vein of Procol Harum or The Moody Blues.
The band began touring around Europe, and in January 1969 they recorded a single in Italian for the Sanremo Festival, in which they did not participate. Their next hit single was "I Want to Live", an arrangement of the song "Plaisir d'amour".
Recording in London and their second album
For their second album, the band traveled to London to record at the Trident Studios. The first single from the album, "Let Me Love, Let Me Live" was released in November, while the album It's Five O'Clock came out in January 1970. It featured more successful ballads (like the title song), but also songs that crossed many musical genres including country rock.
After their second album, the band begun touring again, this time without Vangelis who preferred to stay in Paris and record the music for Henry Chapier's film, Sex Power. Vangelis was replaced on stage by Charris Chalkitis. The year 1970 went by with the band promoting their latest album and Vangelis working on his first film project. To keep the steady flow of hits, the band released another single in August 1970, "Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall".
Their third album – 666, and their breakup
The band began to record late in 1970: a musical adaptation of the biblical Book of Revelation, entitled 666. Koulouris, having finished his Greek army duty rejoined the band. However, relations between all the band members were not good at the time, and continued to worsen during the methodically slow process.
Essentially, the album was Vangelis' concept, created with an outside lyricist named Costas Ferris. The music that they were creating for the album was much more psychedelic and progressive rock oriented than anything the band had done before. This did not sit well with the other band members, who wished to continue in the pop direction that had brought them success. Furthermore, Roussos was being groomed for a solo career, having recorded and released his first solo single We Shall Dance (with Sideras on drums) and his first solo album On the Greek Side of My Mind, whereas Vangelis recorded the score for the 1970 French TV documentary L'Apocalypse des animaux and worked on a single with his girlfriend at the time Vilma Ladopoulou, performing with Koulouris using the pseudonym "Alpha Beta".
By the time the double album finally was released almost two years later in June 1972, and despite having sold over 20 million albums, the band had already split. Both Vangelis and Roussos pursued successful solo careers: Roussos had a thriving solo career as a pop singer, and Vangelis was now scoring – using strictly electronic music – movie soundtracks, which made him a successful film score composer to come for the next more than 30 years, having crafted such titles as 1982's Ridley Scott's Blade Runner and 2004's Oliver Stone's Alexander among many others.
Koulouris worked with both on occasion, and Sideras pursued a less successful solo career, releasing an album and the single "Rising Sun" after the break-up. As of 2013, he still lives in Greece and still playing live with his band.
Influence and legacy
Despite their short existence and lack of hit singles outside of Europe, the band is respected as a cult band, and their album 666 is often considered their masterwork in addition to being one of rock music's first concept albums. The album caught the attention of many in the progressive rock field, including Yes frontman Jon Anderson, who would later collaborate with Vangelis. Contemporary progressive rock acts such as Astra have also cited the band as an influence.
Covers and adaptations
- Italian heavy metal band Death SS covered "The Four Horsemen" on their 2006 album The 7th Seal.
- The Verve's song "The Rolling People" (from their 1997 album Urban Hymns) borrows its title from "Altamont", while also containing musical elements of "The Four Horsemen". Frontman Richard Ashcroft reportedly mentioned 666 as a strong influence on his music.
|1968||"Rain And Tears"||1||29||2|
|1969||"End Of The World"||8||-||-|
|1969||"Valley Of Sadness"||-||-||-|
|1969||"Lontano Dagli Occhi"||-||-||-|
|1969||"I Want To Live"||5||-||1|
|1969||"Let Me Love, Let Me Live"||20||-||-|
|1970||"It's Five O'Clock"||1||-||12|
|1970||"Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall"||1||-||12|
|1971||"Such a Funny Night"||-||-||9|
- Best of Aphrodite's Child (1980)
- Aphrodite's Child's Greatest Hits (1995)
- The Singles (1995)
- The Complete Collection (Aphrodite's Child) (1996)
- Babylon the Great：An Introduction to Aphrodite's Child (2002)
- The Singles+ (2003)
- Dinos Dimatatis, Get That Beat: To Elliniko Rock, 1960s–1970s. Thessaloniki: Katsanos, 1998.
- Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 1027. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 234–235. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- Murrels, Joseph (1978). British Hit Singles & Albums (2nd ed.). London: The Book of Golden Discs. p. 234/235. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.