Aphrodite's Child Biography

Formed in Greece during 1967, the Papathanassiou Set comprised Demis Roussos (Artemios Ventouris Roussos, 15 June 1946, Alexandria, Egypt; vocals), Vangelis Papathanassiou (b. Evanghelos Odyssey Papathanassiou, 29 March 1943, Volos, Greece; keyboards), Anargyros ‘Silver’ Koulouris (guitar) and Lucas Sideras (b. 5 December 1944, Athens, Greece; drums). After recording two demos for the Greek branch of Philips Records, the group was invited to record an album in England. Minus Koulouris, who was obliged to stay in Greece to complete military service, they set off for London but were trapped in Paris by a transport strike. However, the local Philips producer Pierre Sbarro recorded the trio’s adaptation of Johann Pachelbel’s baroque piece ‘Canon’. Renamed Aphrodite’s Child, they enjoyed a massive European hit with this track, ‘Rain And Tears’, a haunting ballad memorable for Roussos’ nasal, almost sobbing, falsetto. In France, the single spent 14 weeks at the top of the charts. The single made little impression in the UK, but in Europe their subsequent releases, including ‘I Want To Live’ and ‘Let Me Love, Let Me Live’, were massive hits. The group did court a cultish popularity in Britain, particularly in the wake of a second album, It’s Five O’Clock.

Following the album’s release, Papathanassiou began to spend more time in the studio writing television and film scores, exploring new sounds on the synthesizer. He took control of the band’s final release, 1972’s 666: The Apocalypse Of John, which saw the return of original guitarist Koulouris. A double set based around The Book Of Revelations, the album was applauded for its ambition and execution. ‘Break’ almost became a hit later that year, but by then the band had gone their separate ways. Roussos subsequently found international fame as a purveyor of sweet, MOR material while Papathanassiou achieved notable solo success under the name of Vangelis. His instrumental and compositional dexterity reached its zenith with the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning UK film, Chariots Of Fire.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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