Dust Bin Aphrodite’s Child - 666
posted by June 5 at 13:25 PMon
I’m now correcting an egregious lapse in the musical knowlege of a select few writers on staff here.
A few weekends ago, while carpooling to Sasquatch with a number of Stranger writers and bloggers, I came upon the unfathomable gap in our understanding of prog, when I got blank stares from everyone in the car to my query:
“Don’t you guys love the Aphrodite’s Child album 666!?!?”
“Aphordite’s Child! You’ve never heard of Aphrodite’s Child?!?”
Aphrodite’s Child: A pre-666 history.
Original Band Members: Vangelis O. Papathanassiou, Demis Roussos, Lukas Sideras and Anargyros Koulouris
Formed in Athens in 1967 Aphrodite’s Child recorded a two song demo and sent it to the Philips label, then a bastion of European prog and psyche bands. Philips invited the band to London to record and album, but due to Koulouris needing to fulfill his military service requirements and due to general unrest in Paris, en route, the band decided to stay put in the city of light and record their first album, End Of The World. Part Psyche-Pop and part Symphonic Pop in the vein of Procol Harum.
The hit off the album was a rock reworking of Pachabel’s Canon called Rain And Tears.
Aphrodite’s Child - Rain And Tears
In 1969, growing in popularity the band was invited to London’s Trident Studios to work on their second album, once again without Koulouris, It’s Five O’Clock. The album spawned lots of pop songs and ballads most notably the Moody Blues / Procol Harum sound-alike title song.
Aphrodite’s Child - It’s Five O’Clock
The band went on tour, without Vangelis, who didn’t like how the band sounded live. He holed himself up in his Paris studio and started work on what would become one of the most monumental monoliths of Prog Rock, 666.
Working in Paris with a different lyricist, Costas Ferris, the band began to fall apart as the album was being recorded. The rest of the band wanted to head in a more pop vein and try for world domination, but Vangelis had come up with his most psychedelic work to date. 666 is a modern re-working of the Book Of Revelations. Koulouris, was able to join the band again and his crazy rocking guitar work is all over the album. And lyrically the album is more a set of mantra’s or short poems then anything resembling “songs”. Upon delivery, the record company executives were aghast at how different the album was. From the odd “live” tune, to songs like Do It which wholly consists of amped up drum solos and fuzzy guitar reverb, and tracks of nothing but an old man speaking bizarre gobblety-gook.
The track that really made them scared was Infinity, in which famous Greek actress Irene Papas repeats the mantra, “I am. I am to come. I was.” over and over as she has an orgasm. (Myth has it that the original track is almost 40 minutes and was cut down to just over 5 minutes for the album.) The grunting, moaning and audible thrashing (in awesome stereo, mind you) was nearly too much for the exec’s to take.
They delayed the album. Roussos, Vangelis and Sideris had all released solo projects in 1971, and due to their popularity the last Aphrodite’s Child album was finally released. Even though, by now, the band had totally broken up.
Post Aphrodite’s Child:
Demis Roussos would go on to become one of Europes most famous crooners, eventually working on a few tracks with Vangelis later in the ‘70’s.
Vangelis, of course became, VANGELIS. He would release one more prog album before becoming one of the worlds best selling artists. He would also go on to virtually create the genre we now call New Age. He worked again, twice, with Irene Papas on albums of Greek Odes put to music.
Koulouris worked with both Vangelis and Roussos during their solo careers.
Sideris tried to have a solo career, but his never really took off.
So. There you go, music staff.
For samples from 666, go to my blog here.