Aphrodite's Child

Aphrodite's Child

Aphrodite's Child. Demis Roussos (at center), Harris Chalkitis (left) and Lakis Vlavianos (right), who joined the band after Vangelis and Loukas Sideras left.
Background information
Origin Greece
Genres Progressive rock, psychedelic rock, baroque pop
Years active 1967–1972
Labels Mercury, Vertigo
Associated acts Irene Papas
Past members Vangelis Papathanassiou
Demis Roussos
Loukas Sideras
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 Silver Koulouris (guitar).[1]



Papathanassiou and Roussos had already been successful in Greece (playing in the bands Formynx and Idols respectively) when 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 partly because they did not have the correct work permits and partly 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 Reizner, releasing their first single "Rain and Tears", a reworking of Pachelbel's Canon in D major.[1] 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. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[2] In October of the same year, the band released their first album End of the World. The album contained equal amounts 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.[1] Vangelis was replaced on stage by Harris Halkitis. 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

Main article: 666

The band began to record, late in 1970, a musical adaptation of the biblical Book of Revelation, entitled 666.[1] Koulouris, having finished his Greek army duty, rejoined the band. However, relations between the band members were declining, and things continued to worsen during the methodically slow recording process.

Essentially, the ambitious double album was Vangelis' concept, created with an outside lyricist, Costas Ferris. The music Vangelis composed 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. Meanwhile, Vangelis turned his attention to recording the score for the 1970 French TV documentary L'Apocalypse des animaux, and worked on a single with his then-girlfriend Vilma Ladopoulou, performing with Koulouris under the pseudonym "Alpha Beta". By the time 666 was finally released almost two years later in June 1972, the band had already split up, despite having sold over 20 million albums and remaining very popular throughout Europe.[1][3]

Both Vangelis and Roussos pursued successful solo careers: Roussos had a thriving solo career as a pop singer, and Vangelis went on to become a highly regarded electronic music artist. The latter's work composing movie soundtracks brought him much success for the next three decades, including an Oscar for Chariots of Fire. Vangelis' other soundtracks include Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982), to which Roussos contributed vocals, and Oliver Stone's Alexander (2004).

Koulouris worked with both Roussos and Vangelis on occasion, while Sideras pursued a less successful solo career, releasing an album and the single "Rising Sun" after the break-up. As of 2013, he still lived in Greece and performed with his band. Roussos died in 2015.

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




Year Name IT UK[4] NL
1968 "Plastics Nevermore" - - -
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 - -
1969 "Marie Jolie" - - 4
1970 "It's Five O'Clock" 1 - 11
1970 "Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall" 1 - 12
1971 "Such a Funny Night" - - 10
1972 "Break" - - 30

Compilation albums



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 1027. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
  2. Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 234–235. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  3. "Elsewhere: Interviews, La Repubblica, March 28, 1989". Elsew.com. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
  4. Murrels, Joseph (1978). British Hit Singles & Albums (2nd ed.). London: The Book of Golden Discs. p. 234/235. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.

External links

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