Album Review, Aphrodite’s Child- 666
Looking for great music for the end times? Well if you haven’t heard this album before, its high time you discovered it. Aphrodite’s Child, 666, this psychedelic concept album from 1971 marked an abrupt departure from the previous music of this 1960s Greek pop trio, and was the last album they made together.
In this marvelously crafted work, originally released as a double LP, Aphrodite’s Child gave us one of the best concept albums ever recorded. Clocking in at just under 90 minutes, 666 testifies to the fact that we had longer attention spans in those days. 666 plays more like a movie without pictures, than a collection of songs, making it well worth the time it takes to listen to it.
I think part of the reason 666 remains somewhat obscure, is its uniqueness. It sounds very different from Aphrodite’s Child’s earlier work, and must have alienated many listeners. While Aphrodite’s Child enjoyed reasonable popularity in Europe, the solo careers of the original members long ago eclipsed the popularity of the band. So, 666 remains something of an orphan.
Singer Demis Roussos has been wooing back those old Aphrodites Child listeners, as well as making many new fans, as a pop singer in Greece, where he is a huge star.
Synthesizer wizard Vangelis Papathanassiou dropped the cumbersome Greek last name after Aphrodite’s Child split, and gained international acclaim with instrumental albums like Albedo 0.39, Spiral, and Hypothesis, now regarded as seminal works in electronic music. Vangelis eventually became a household word, globally, for the soundtrack to Chariots of Fire.
Librettist Costas Ferris went on to prolific career in cinema and television in Europe.
Neither Demis Roussos’ pop hits, nor Vangelis’ new agey synthesizer music bears much resemblance to the guitar heavy, rhythm driven band that recorded 666. 666 may well be their best work, but it remains disconnected from both the artists’ earlier, and later work.
The strikingly simple red and black cover, prominently bearing the “mark of the beast” sets this record apart as well. 666 was never released on vinyl in the U.S. If you find a copy of this rare and sought after double LP, snag it. Give it a listen and you’ll know why it has such a strong cult following.
The libretto of this album very closely follows the story of the apocalypse from the Book of Revelations in the Bible. While the biblical story doesn’t make any more sense when set to music, Aphrodite’s Child sure makes it more entertaining. I don’t recommend reading the bible, or taking any of it too seriously, but you owe it to yourself to dust off this old fossil, and listen to Aphrodite’s Child, 666, at least once during the apocalypse, preferably on LSD in a dark room.
The album does not include a picture of the band. Before Youtube, I had never seen a photograph of these guys, let alone a video. Today you might find a video for every tune on 666, as well as a dozen other old Aphrodite’s Child songs on Youtube. Check them out, but you really must hear 666 in its entirety, at least once, before the end of civilization.
Here’s a few more old Aphrodite’s Child videos: