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Camel

Camel never achieved the mass popularity of fellow British progressive rock bands like the Alan Parsons Project, but they cultivated a dedicated cult following. Over the course of their career, Camel experienced numerous changes, but throughout the years, Andrew Latimer remained the leader of the band.

Formed in 1972 in Surrey, Camel originally consisted of Latimer (guitar, flute, vocals), Andy Ward (drums), Doug Ferguson (bass), and keyboardist Peter Bardens, previously of Them. By the end of 1973, the group signed with MCA and released their eponymous debut. In 1974, the band switched record labels, signing with Decca's Gama subsidiary, and released Mirage. In 1975, Camel released their breakthrough album The Snow Goose, which climbed into the British Top 30. The band's English audience declined with 1976's Moonmadness, but the album was more successful in America, reaching number 118 -- the highest chart position the band ever attained in the U.S. Following the release of Moonmadness, Ferguson left the band and was replaced by Richard Sinclair (ex-Caravan); at the same time, the group added saxophonist Mel Collins. Latimer and Bardens conflicted during the recording of 1977's Rain Dances and those tensions would come to a head during the making of 1978's Breathless. After Breathless was completed, Bardens left the band. Before recording their next album, Camel replaced Bardens with two keyboardists -- Kit Watkins (Happy the Man) and Jim Schelhaas (Caravan) -- and replaced Sinclair with Colin Bass.

By the time Camel released their 1979 album, I Can See Your House From Here, rock & roll had been changed by the emergence of punk rock, which resulted in less press coverage for progressive rock, as well as decreased record sales. Camel suffered from this shift in popular taste -- I Can See Your House from Here received less attention than any of the band's releases since their debut. Latimer returned to writing concept albums with 1981's Nude. In 1982, drummer Andy Ward was forced to leave the band after suffering a severe hand injury. Camel's 1982 album, The Single Factor, was a slicker, more accessible affair than previous Camel records, but it failed to chart. Stationary Traveller (1984) was another concept album.

After the release of the 1984 live album, Pressure Points, Camel entered a long period of hibernation that lasted until the early '90s. In 1985, Decca dropped Camel from its roster. Latimer wasn't able to find a new label because he was embroiled in a difficult legal battle with Camel's former manager Geoff Jukes; Camel eventually won the lawsuit in the late '80s. Throughout this period, Camel produced no new music. In 1988, Latimer sold his home in England and moved to California, where he founded the independent label Camel Productions. By the time Camel recorded their follow-up to Stationary Traveller in the early '90s, the band was, for most intents and purposes, simply Andrew Latimer and a handful of session musicians. Dust and Dreams (1991) was the first release on Camel Productions. In 1993, PolyGram released a double-disc Camel retrospective, Echoes. In early 1996, Camel released Harbour of Tears. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Zig Zag EP

Comments

I was exposed to Camel in 1975 when I purchased the album Mirage in Houston Texas at a Tower record store at midnight after a long day of attitude adjustment. I bought the album based solely on the cover. Once I listened to it I was sold. I'm surprised there is no mention of that LP in the . bio. I also saw them live the same year, maybe 1974, not sure, It was cerebral. By 1980 I had every LP they had out until that time.Truely a great gathering of top flight musicians.
Read the book. Read it while listening to the album! Am only 13! Lucky me!!
Ive heard them in the late 70s and iam still impressed, with all there music
Got turned onto moon madness in the mid 70s. Still love it,know every note and lyric by heart. Musicians music for sure. My 15 year old son thinks it's awesome as well. Rock on Camel!
lets be honest; As a early fan of Camel myself, they just did not compair to the likes of Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Genesis and the rest of the prog elite. Any Steve Hackett release blows them out of the picture.
Air Born is pretty f**king epic
gchristie686
Looking forward to catching them this Spring in Europe. Grant Christie
I`ve seen them a few times. I saw the Farewell tour in Santa Cruz, CA. They are my favorites! Just read about the Retirement Sucks tour. Can`t wait. I hope all is well with Andy`s health issues(why the band retired).
Rhylander goes to town is cool.....fun lead near end with a perfectly splendid end.....(wen t to town had dinner.....a date? then a campy hollywood picture show......ye a h , cool song.....
berkshiremus i c
Camel announced a tour in the Fall of 2013 dubbed the Retirement Sucks Tour. Ten years after the Farewell tour, this is pretty remarkable. Stay tuned!
Camel is one of my very favorite progressive rock bands. I wish they were all still living. God bless them.
Forty years later their music still resonates with me. Camel's music intersected with moments of my life numerous times.
This is my favorite secular band of all time. I've seen them live and have 12 of their albums. The best progressive rock back band ever. Complex, thought provoking story telling and music at it's best. Over achievering and under appreciated. Their music stands the test of time. Andrew Latimer is off the charts.
I've been a camel fan since the late 70's, such an awesome band, wish they could have gained the recognition they deserved. would love to hear more from The Single Factor on here....
some great music. Rain Dances was my fav. That sax is awesome.
billhippenst e e l
Moon Madness, Rain Dances, Breathless, never heard an album by them I didn't like.
I'd like to see more of their 80s works here, like Stationary Traveler, The Single Factor, etc.
one hump or two
under appreciated. . . .
Wow I cannot believe no one has made any comments about this band - it ws the 70s I guess you had to be there - they came out with some nice music - mel collins on flute and sax - I first heard them on an underground college radio station in the 70s in atlanta along with groups lk Gong and hatfield and the north - I guess you had to be there to understand - open your ears people.
One of the best bands ever....shou l d have been as big as zeppelin
love the snow goose my first album was I CAN SEE YOUR HOUSE FROM HERE
cowniew
Agree that this is an under appreciated and under played band. They're has to be a reason for that though and I don't know what it is. It just seems that they were always in the background and overlooked by many.
cdwathen8
I was lucky enough to see Camel in Pacific Beach CA in the mid 70's at an old movie theater. Their best works were in the 70's.
The superlative Camel. Bardens and Latimer
craptasticat
good ol camel how under rated you are
Just read reztab's comment - you were right - Andy Ward is totally still alive! That made my day! Now who the hell am I thinking about that died???
What nobody still followes more current stuff, all Camel is great, what about, Rajaz and A Nod and a Wink.
rjstpa i can t think of one album camel did that wasn t great pandora more camel.
jack--fromba c k in the day to today, i've got to reach for the volume control when rain dances is on
I love the cover art of their album "I can see your house from here"
reztab
Uhh...as far as I know Andy Ward is still alive and well. He played with Marillion in the early 80's and I know that there were afew albums with Pete Bardens and Mel Collins under the name of Mirage, all live gigs. He was a great drummer with Camel. And I agree tottaly with B's comment to Pandora to GET MORE CAMEL!!!
You know, I could never bring myself to listen to anything Camel made after Andy Ward (orig. drummer) died in 1981. For me, I think he was at least in part, the soul of Camel. I haven't given all of their later albums a chance, but the ones from the 70s all ROCK! Pandora: Get more Camel!!! That's not a request - it's an ORDER!
PANDORA! you are missing camel, big time!
rlgoater
Camel is still one of my favorite bands to listen to after all these years. True progressive rock at its best. Mirage, Moonmadness, a n d Nude are my favorites. Also Breathless with the addition of Mel Collins and his truely outstanding sax playing.
fbardol
mega
Camel is one of those bands that is a part of you or not. When I am happy or sad , I always turn to them to give me direction .... The GODS of music
Camel and Yes were my intro to progressive music in the early 70's. The genre will never die.
i had my first camel album in the early 70s,the snow goose,my favorites are definitely,m o o n m a d n e s s , a n d mirage,i have all 3 now mint condition albums,and i saw them live back in the day,awesome music...
i saw camel in 1979 in a very small club in san francisco and it was one of the best live shows i have ever seen. moonmadness, mirage, the snow goose and rain dances are all fantastic albums
The Snow Goose is arguably their master piece. I do however like most of Camel's catalog. They are a great band. Although they are progressive rock, many people listening to them think they are jazz. I really do like the fact that the "jazz" aspect of their music is in the foreground. I have their "essentials" : "Camel", "Mirage, "The Snow Goose", and "Moonmadness " . I have been apprehensive about purchasing their later works. I am sure they are good, but are they blow your mind good?
jacobbadalia n
I agree with Thomas W. Coyne. A Nod and a Wink was also a decent album, written in memory of Pete Bardens' passing. Andrew's health has not been well as of late.
It is a disgrace that Pandora doesn't have at least The Snow Goose. What a great album. Breathless was a really good one, too. Even Camel's first album was great.
I can't believe they didn't mention 2005's Rajaz, one of the finest albums Camel ever made. If you haven't heard it, get it now.
Have you ever noticed how much Andy Latimer looks like Bob Denver?
Play more CAMEL Por Favor!!!
I really love "Lunar Sea" as well. Machuey catch "Dunkirk" off of the Snow Goose album. These guys are flat wonderful musicans. Man, do they execute...
machuey
I first heard Camel with Flijght of The Snowgoose, I played in a local Prog Rock band in Houston Tx and we used to cover a few of their songs.....my favourite was "Lunar Sea".......a w e s o m e band
Followed their Keyboard player Peter Bardens since the 70's. Love their sound. Pure jazz rock and you will float with these guys... The late Peter Bardens has a special history in Rock & Roll. Not only was he the keyboard player for Camel. He also played keyboards for Them. You want to float with Peter listen to "Rhyander Goes To Town" (Camel). Outstanding!
utwog
Camel is AWESOME! One of the most enjoyable bands ever. I agree that there is so much more Camel to be played on here. C'mon Pandora, let's get MORE Camel on here. The same for Jade Warrior!
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