The band’s first two albums, End of the World and It’s Five O’Clock, combined a very ’60s sounding Euro-pop-rock with Greek folk music elements. The former album featured the song “Rain and Tears”, a reworking of Pachelbel’s Canon in D major. The song was a minor hit in the United Kingdom, but did far better in France, where the band was based, as well as the rest of Europe. Other European hits included “Marie Jolie”, “I Want to Live”, and “Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall” from 1969 and 1970 respectively.
The band began to record their crowning achievement in 1970: a musical adaptation of the biblical Book of Revelations, entitled 666 - The Apocalypse of St. John. Relations between Roussos, Vangelis and Sideras were not good at the time, and continued to worsen before the album’s creation. However, the group was contractually obligated to release a third album, and went into the studio in 1970 to create 666.
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. Further, Roussos was being groomed for a solo career, and pressure from the record company for the band to produce another hit single did not help. In essence, the band broke up during the completion of 666. Vangelis finished the album primarily on his own with assistance from studio musicians.
Immediately afterwards, Vangelis engaged in a long fight with Mercury over the content of the album. The record company, in particular, objected to the song “∞” (infinity), which consisted of actress Irene Papas chanting the words “I was, I am, I am to come” in various stages of orgiastic ecstasy, while Vangelis accompanied her on percussion. However, the double-album length of 666 and the musical experimentation, as well as the subject matter, also exacerbated Mercury’s ire. After Roussos and Sideras had already embarked on solo careers, Mercury finally agreed to release 666 two years after its completion, and it came out in 1972.
Strangely enough, 666 was the only Aphrodite’s Child album to make any impact in America. The blood-red cover with the letters 666 prominently displayed in black and white was striking, and brought immediate accusations of occultism from various quarters. Any suspicions of occultism could be dispersed by simply reading the lyrics, which were fairly faithfully based around the Book of Revelations, but the accusations undoubtedly helped sell the album in the United States. The album met with less controversy overseas and sold reasonably well on its own merits.
The music itself was an impressive display of Vangelis’ abilities, combining psychedelic and progressive rock with ethnic instruments, choral chanting, recitations, and very advanced use of synthesizers and keyboards for the time. In time the album became recognized as one of the most important early progressive rock works, and a defining example of the concept album. 666 also made Vangelis an underground name to watch, and earned him an offer from Jon Anderson to join Yes. Vangelis turned down the offer in order to concentrate on a solo career. However, he and Anderson later created several duet albums in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
After the band split, both Vangelis and Demis Roussos pursued successful solo careers, Roussos as a pop singer and Vangelis as one of the pioneers in progressive eletronic music. Kolouris worked with both on occasion. Lucas Sideras pursued a less successful solo career, releasing the single “Rising Sun” after the break-up.
End of the World (1968)
It’s Five O’Clock (1969)
666 (The Apocalypse Of John,13/18) (1971)
Best Of Aphrodite’s Child (1980)
Aphrodite’s Child’s Greatest Hits (1995)
The Complete Collection (Aphrodite’s Child) (1996)
Babylon the Great (2002)
“Four Horsemen”, from the album 666, was a minor hit on FM radio in the United States, receiving AOR airplay to this day. “Babylon”, from the same album, was released as a single, and found similar acceptance on AOR radio in the 1970’s. “Hic and Nunc” and “Break”, from the same album, were also tried out as singles but did not chart well at the time.
“Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall” - the final single before the release of 666 and the last of the band’s singles to chart significantly in their European home base.
“Rain and Tears” - based on Pachelbel’s Canon in D major, this song was probably their biggest hit as a single release.
“It’s Five o Clock” and “Such a Funny Night” also charted in Europe. All of the above songs can be found on various compilation/greatest hits discs. The band’s singles were aimed squarely at the pop market, and do not bear any significant resemblance to the music on 666.
The story of the “666” album is here (lotsa background information) >>>
Edited by EpicSoundtracks on 2 Jul 2011, 06:59
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