Aphrodite’s Child

TrackAlbum
Rain And TearsEnd Of The World
End Of The WorldEnd Of The World
The Shepherd And The MoonEnd Of The World
It's Five O'ClockIt's Five O'Clock
AnnabellaIt's Five O'Clock
Good Time So FineIt's Five O'Clock
Babylon666
The Four Horsemen666
Aegian Sea666
All The Seats Were Occupied666

spotify-logo-primary-horizontal-dark-background-rgb-sm

 

Contributor: Ian Ashleigh

Aphrodite’s Child was a Greek progressive rock band – not the sort of thing you read every day!

The band formed in 1967, when the Greek/Egyptian vocalist and bass-player Artemios Ventouris Roussos (Demis Roussos) and drummer Loukas Sideras had arranged to meet the multi-instrumentalist Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou (Vangelis) in London. All three had been in successful bands in Greece. It is said that Roussos and Sideras did not have the correct permits to enter the UK to work and when customs officers discovered photos and tapes in their luggage, they assumed the musicians intended to stay and work and prevented them from entering the country.

The three musicians joined up in Paris with guitarist Anargyros Koulouris (Silver Koulouris) with the idea to form a band to mix traditional Greek music with Western pop and psychedelia.

Soon after the birth of the band, Silver Koulouris had to leave because he was called up for his Military Service in Greece and only re-joined for the recording of their last album 666. During that period Roussos played both guitar and bass.

The band recorded three albums between 1968 and 1970, although release of the final album was delayed by the record company and was issued after the band members had gone their separate ways.

The first album, End Of The World, was recorded in Paris and released in 1968 to some acclaim on continental Europe. It spawned two hit singles outside of the UK. Rain And Tears reached number 1 in Italy and is very much of its day; based on Pachelbel’s Canon, it is a very typical late 60s pop song without much of the Greek influence the band intended. End Of The World reached number 8 in the Italian chart and pointed towards the themes the band would explore on their third album. After the opening piano crash, this is ‘europop’ that morphs into a strange, and almost random prog-rock effect, then back again. I am not familiar enough with traditional Greek music to draw out that influence. The Shepherd And The Moon has aspects that could have been from the Greek tradition with the imagery in the lyric.

The second album, It’s Five O’Clock, released in January 1970, was recorded in London and had a more commercial feel to it. It brought further single success on continental Europe, the title track being one of these. Annabella was not a single but has a mystical air about it. Good Time So Fine is an interesting song in that all the vocals are by Demis Roussos; not that you’d know as it does not have his trademark timbre.

Following a tour to promote the album, the band went into Studio Europa-Sonor in Paris in late 1970 to record what would be their third and final album.

Based on The Revelation of John Chapters 13 to 18 (sometimes known as The Apocalypse), 666 takes some of its musical inspiration from Sgt Pepper, some from Tommy and some from a strange Turkish fruit drink called sahlep. The band co-opted Costas Ferris as lyricist, who had written a book using the same biblical passages as its source. The record company didn’t release the album for twelve months after its recording; they were uncomfortable that it was a double album, the music was too experimental, and the subject matter controversial. They considered the track ∞ (infinity symbol) as blasphemous, it being a five minute simulated orgasm sung by the Greek actress, Irene Papas.

Tensions within the band were at breaking point during the recording of the album; it is said the only time the individual members communicated was when they were playing the music itself. By the time the album was released, Vangelis was working on his first film music project, Demis Roussos had released his first solo album and the band had disintegrated.

The album is a contiguous piece of music so I chose four segments to illustrate the influences and styles on show. It is available in its entirety on YouTube here.

After the break-up of the band, Vangelis released a number of solo albums and composed music for a variety of films such as Chariots Of Fire and Blade Runner.

Sources indicate that Demis Roussos made 38 albums and released 154 singles and EPs in a number of languages before his death in January 2015. He will also forever be remembered as the subject of an argument between two characters in the Mike Leigh play, Abigail’s Party.

Loukas Sideras released two solo albums but has worked as a producer and as a member of a number of bands, most notably Diesel between 1987 and 1997.

Silver Koulouris worked with Vangelis on his solo projects but not much else is known. Indeed, in 2010, a Facebook discussion started, ‘Whatever happened to Anargyros “Silver” Koulouris?’ – with no definitive answer.

Aphrodite’s Child did not open the doors to a raft of Greek rock bands but they did launch the careers of two internationally successful Greek musicians who touched the lives of millions in remarkably different ways.

Aphrodite’s Child International Discography

Elsewhere: The Independent Vangelis Website

Demis Roussos and Aphrodite’s Child unofficial fan club

Aphrodite’s Child biography (iTunes)

TopperPost #452

1 Comment

  1. Simon Sadler
    Jun 18, 2015

    Four Horsemen is worth the entrance fee alone. It should be on every “classic rock” compilation in my book. I also love The Lamb, the track after it on 666. I have an inadvertently funny copy of the Rain and Tears album, as it appears to have been a bingo prize (according to the sticker on the front!) Might have to dig that album out again for another listen, I recall Mr Thomas being a fun song.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

↓