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Aphrodite's Child - Greatest Hits CD (album) cover

GREATEST HITS

Aphrodite's Child

 

Symphonic Prog

3.91 | 3 ratings

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Trotsky
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This Greek group that spawned two global stars in Demis Roussos and Vangelis (Papathanassiou) produced a fair amount of interesting music during their four years together (1967-71). While the epochal concept double album 666 will be of most interest to the average progger, Greatest Hits does provide a substantial overview of an eclectic band that was capable of dishing out the sublime and the mundane in equal measure.

Initially a quartet comprising Roussos (lead vocal/bass), Vangelis (keys), drummer Loukas Sideras and guitarist Silver Koulouris, Aphrodite's Child was forced to record as a trio after Koulouris was called up to military service just as the band planned to set off for the UK to attempt to make their fortune there.

Visa problems meant that the lads were stranded in France in 1968, but it was there that they were signed up and recorded one of the greatest singles of the late 60s. Based on Pachelbel's Canon, the baroque-pop classic Rain and Tears was a million-selling single that summer. I have loved this song since I was a child and frequently put it on multiple repeat when I put the CD on (Incidentally, Demis' first solo single - We Shall Dance also does the same thing to me) ... Demis' slightly hysterical vocals may not be too everyone's taste, but I love them, especially when surrounded by harpsichords, strings, flutes and the like.

On the occasions when I do get past the brilliant Rain and Tears, the rest of Greatest Hits proves a tasty selection of tunes from their three albums End Of The World, It's Five O'Clock and 666, as well the odd single B-side. Highlights include the lovely organ-drenced It's Five O'Clock, (which bears certain similarities to Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade Of Pale), the eerie pscyhedelic pieces The Grass Is No Green and Day Of The Fool, the folky Valley Of Sadness (that's Mediterranean folk, not English folk, by the way!), the distinctly 60s-flavoured rocker Let Me Love, Let Me Live (written and sung by Sideras) and all four pieces from 666, with Babylon and the hypnotic The Four Horsemen standing out.

It's not all top-drawer stuff ... I have a particular dislike for big Mediterranean ballads in the style of It's Now Or Never (O Sole Mio) ... and Aphrodite's Child have a fair number of songs like this. End Of The World and Marie Jolie among them. There's also a misfiring attempt at British music hall in Mister Thomas.

By and large, though this is an ideal introduction to one of the pioneers of European symphonic prog. ... 74% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 4/5 |

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