Aphrodite’s Child

From: Greece

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). 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. 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 to form a new band. 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.

History

It was probably Vangelis’ idea that the still-anonymous band should be relocated in London which would be a more suitable environment for their music. Greece 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.

In Paris they signed to Mercury Records, christened “Aphrodite’s Child” and released 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”. 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 soft porn film, Sex Power. Vangelis was replaced on stage with Harris 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”.

666

The band began to record their next outpouring 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 album’s creation.

Essentially, 666 was Vangelis’ concept, created with an outside lyricist, Costas Ferris. The music that Vangelis was creating for 666 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, and recorded 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 L’Apocalypse des animaux and worked on a single with his girlfriend Vilma Ladopoulou, performing with Koulouris using the pseudonym ‘Alpha Beta’.

By the time the double album 666 finally was released in June 1972, and having sold over 20 million albums, the band had already split. Both Vangelis and Roussos pursued successful solo careers, Roussos as a pop singer and Vangelis first in electronic music, then in movie soundtracks, which made him a successful film score composer of the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s (decade), having penned 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. Sideras pursued a less successful solo career, releasing an album and the single Rising Sun after the break-up then disappearing into obscurity. ~ from Wikipedia

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1968 single Philips 40536

  • Other People
  • Plastics Nevermore

From the 1970 single Polydor PD 15005

  • Magic Mirror

From the 1968 album End Of The World

  • The Shepherd And The Moon

From the 1969 album It’s Five O’Clock

  • Funky Mary

From the 1972 album 666

  • Altamont
  • The Four Horsemen