Monday, May 7, 2007


@ Wiki
Camel is an English progressive rock band formed in 1971

History - 1970s
Camel was formed in 1971 when Andrew Latimer (guitar), Andy Ward (drums) and Doug Ferguson (bass) who had been playing as a trio called The Brew, recruited Peter Bardens (keyboards). After an initial gig to fulfill a Bardens commitment on 8th October in Belfast, Northern Ireland under the name of On, they changed their name to Camel and their first gig was at Waltham Forest Technical College, London supporting Wishbone Ash on 4 December.

In August 1972 Camel signed with MCA Records and their eponymous debut album was released six months later. The record was not a success and the band moved to Decca Records.

In 1974 they released their second album, the critically acclaimed Mirage on which Latimer showed he was adept on flute also. Although failing to chart at home, it gained success on the U.S. west coast, prompting a three month tour there.

The instrumental, orchestrated concept album The Snow Goose 1975, inspired by the Paul Gallico short story of the same name, was the breakthrough which brought Camel wider attention. Gallico, who loathed smoking, thought the band were related to the cigarette brand and threatened to take legal action. Camel avoided this by adding the prefix 'Music inspired by...' to the album's cover. The album's success led to a prestigious sell out concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London, with the London Symphony Orchestra in October 1975.

A fourth album, Moonmadness in 1976, continued the success, but was the last to feature the original line up. Mel Collins' saxophone augmented the band for the subsequent tour, beginning an eight year association. Drummer Ward was pushing for a more jazz direction and the demand for this on Ferguson led to his departure in early 1977.

Richard Sinclair (previously in Caravan) replaced Ferguson and this line-up released Rain Dances (1977) and Breathless (1978). The latter the last album to feature Bardens, who announced his departure before the supporting tour. He was replaced by two keyboard players: Dave Sinclair (cousin of Richard and also from Caravan) and Jan Schelhaas (who, some years later, was to join Caravan). The Sinclair cousins both left the band after the tour, replaced by Kit Watkins and Colin Bass.

This line up recorded the more commercial I Can See Your House from Here (1979), an album which caused problems for the advertisers due to its irreverent cover, displaying a crucified astronaut looking at earth. Despite some fans' reservations about commercial leanings, the album concludes with a ten minute instrumental 'Ice', showcasing Latimer's lead guitar skills.

Camel returned to the concept album for their next recording. Nude (1981), is based on a true story about a Japanese soldier found on an island many years after World War II had ended, not realising the war was over. Duncan MacKay provided most of the keyboards in lieu of Watkins and Schelhaas, who were involved in other projects, but returned for the tour. This was the first album to feature lyrics by Latimer's future wife Susan Hoover. In mid-1981, Ward stopped playing drums due to alcohol and drug abuse and Camel quietly disbanded. Years later it emerged that Ward had made a suicide attempt.

Without a band, but a contract to fulfill and pressure from Decca for a 'Hit Song', Latimer was joined by an array of guest and session musicians, including David Paton, Chris Rainbow and Anthony Phillips at Abbey Road studio in early 1982. The resultant album, ironically entitled The Single Factor, was a far cry from the band's early hard rock/progressive sound, but it scraped the lower regions of the charts and enabled a successful Tenth Anniversary Tour, featuring Paton, Rainbow, Watkins, Stuart Tosh (drums) and Andy Dalby (guitar) accompanying Latimer. Legal wranglings over royalties then began with their former manager which took five years to resolve.

Ton Scherpenzeel (formerly of Dutch prog-rock band Kayak) joined Latimer as Camel's new keyboardist with Paul Burgess on drums for 1984's Stationary Traveller. Bass returned (for good) to fill the bass position for the tour, which also included Rainbow and Richie Close on backup keyboards. (Close died a few years later from Legionnaires' disease.)

After the release of the live Pressure Points in late 1984, Camel disappeared without trace as far as the public was concerned. Finishing the contract with Decca, Latimer was unable to interest other British record companies and eventually moved to California when the lawsuit ended (successfully for him).

After a seven year hiatus, Latimer revived the Camel name and with Bass, Burgess, Scherpenzeel and seven guests recorded the largely instrumental Dust and Dreams, a musical evocation of John Steinbeck's classic novel The Grapes of Wrath. It was released under Latimer's own label Camel Productions and, whilst according to some it was a triumphant return to their progressive roots, to others it was a disappointingly middle-of-the-road effort.

Mickey Simmonds played keyboards on the 1992 World comeback tour from which in 1993 a double live CD, recorded in Holland, Never Let Go, was released. In 1994, former members Bardens, Ward and D. Sinclair and former guest musician Jimmy Hastings formed Mirage: the band played numerous Camel pieces in their live set, but folded within a few years.

Latimer and Hoover then wrote Harbour of Tears (nickname for Cobh (pronounced 'cove') harbour in Ireland from which many sailed off to the USA during the Potato Famine) under the Camel name, which was released in 1996.

In 1997 Camel again toured the west coast of the U.S., Japan and Europe (as they had in 1992) with Latimer supported by Bass, Foss Patterson (keyboards) and drummer Dave Stewart. The tour resulted in Coming of Age, a live double-CD and DVD.

In 1999 Latimer, Stewart, Bass and guest Scherpenzeel, recorded Rajaz. Set in ancient times, Rajaz was a spontaneous composition inspired by the rhythm of the camel's footsteps to help the weary travelers reach their destination. Latimer was smitten with the idea that the rhythm of the camel would help people reach their journey's end, and this album truly took Camel back to their prog-rock roots.

Stewart left the band when he was offered the chance to manage a drum store in the north of England before the following live tour, to be replaced by French Canadian Denis Clement on Drums. The 2000 tour was augmented by Guy LeBlanc on keyboards. Latimer, Bass, LeBlanc and Clement then went to a tour of South America in 2001.

In 2002 this quartet released A Nod and a Wink, - a reflective, mellow album, prominently featuring Latimer's flute. The album was dedicated to Peter Bardens, who died in January 2002.

Following somewhat-troubled live tours of recent years, Camel Productions announced the 2003 tour to be Camel's "Farewell Tour". Guy LeBlanc had to quit shortly before going on the road due to illness to his wife, and was replaced by Tom Brislin (in the US) and Ton Scherpenzeel (European leg). The US leg of the tour was highlighted by a headline appearance at NEARfest, the world's most prestigious progressive rock festival.

Latimer started work on unplugged (acoustic) versions of old Camel material, but this was aborted. In 2006, Latimer accepted an invitation to audition for a guitar/vocal role on Roger Waters tour, the position eventually being filled by Dave Kilminster.

In October 2006 Latimer completed a move back to the UK with intentions of recording and releasing future Camel albums from his home country and completing a project started in 2003 with Andy Ward and Doug Ferguson.

* In The Breathless Tour program Latimer is quoted: "...At one stage I did think of calling the band Caramel!" (a reference to how a number of former members of Caravan had joined Camel).
* Doug Ferguson is credited with duffle coat on The Snow Goose. It was used to create the sound of flapping wings and can be heard briefly on the track Epitaph.
* Mikael Ã…kerfeldt from the progressive metal band Opeth cites Camel as a major influence on their music, and has admitted to the introduction to Camel's song 'Never Let Go' as being somewhat taken and changed slightly for their song 'Benighted' from Still Life.

Band members
Current line-up
* Andrew Latimer - guitar, vocals, flute, recorder, keyboards, bass guitar (1971-)
* Colin Bass - bass guitar, vocals, keyboard, acoustic guitar (1979-1981, 1984-)
* Denis Clement - drums, percussion (2000-)

Former members
* Doug Ferguson - bass, vocals (1971-1977)
* Peter Bardens - keyboards, vocals (1971-1978)
* Andy Ward - drums, percussion (1971-1983)
* Richard Sinclair - bass, vocals (1977-1978)
* Mel Collins - saxophones, flute (1977-1979)
* Jan Schelhaas - keyboards (1979-1981)
* Kit Watkins - keyboards, flute (1979-1982)
* Paul Burgess - drums, percussion (1984-1992)
* Ton Scherpenzeel - keyboards (1984, 1991, 1999, 2003)
* Dave Stewart - drums, percussion (1997-2000)
* Guy LeBlanc - keyboards, vocals (2000-2003)

Additional studio musicians
* 'Eddie' - congas on Camel
* Tony Cox - synthesizer on Camel
* Jimmy Hastings - flute on Mirage
* David Bedford - orchestral arrangements on The Snow Goose
* Martin Drover - trumpet on Rain Dances
* Malcolm Griffiths - trombone on Rain Dances
* Brian Eno - keyboards on Rain Dances
* Fiona Hibbert - harp on Rain Dances
* Dave Sinclair - keyboards on Breathless
* Phil Collins - percussion on I Can See Your House From Here
* Duncan Mackay - keyboards on Nude and The Single Factor
* Chris Green - cello on Nude
* Gasper Lawal - percussion on Nude
* Herbie Flowers - tuba on Nude
* David Paton - bass, vocals on The Single Factor and Harbour of Tears; vocals on Dust and Dreams
* Graham Jarvis - drums on The Single Factor
* Dave Mattacks - drums on The Single Factor
* Simon Phillips - drums on The Single Factor
* Anthony Phillips - guitar, keyboards on The Single Factor
* Chris Rainbow - vocals on The Single Factor and Stationary Traveller
* Haydn Bendall - keyboards on Stationary Traveller
* Francis Monkman - harpsichord synclavier on The Single Factor
* Tristian Fry - glockenspeil on The Single Factor
* Jack Emblow - accordion on The Single Factor
* Mae McKenna - vocals on Dust and Dreams and Harbour of Tears
* Christopher Bock - drums on Dust and Dreams
* Don Harriss - keyboards on Dust and Dreams
* Neil Panton - oboe on Dust and Dreams; oboe, soprano saxophone, harmonium on Harbour of Tears
* Kim Venaas - timpani, harmonica on Dust and Dreams
* John Burton - French horn on Dust and Dreams and Harbour of Tears
* Mickey Simmonds - keyboards on Harbour of Tears
* John Xepoleas - drums on Harbour of Tears
* Barry Phillips - cello on Harbour of Tears and Rajaz
* Karen Bentley - violin on Harbour of Tears
* Anita Stoneham - violin on Harbour of Tears
* Terry Carleton - drums, percussion, backing vocals on A Nod and a Wink
* JR Johnston - backing vocals on A Nod and a Wink

Touring Musicians
* Andrew Latimer - Peter Bardens - Andy Ward - Doug Ferguson 1971 - 1976
* Andrew Latimer - Peter Bardens - Andy Ward - Doug Ferguson - Mel Collins 1976
* Andrew Latimer - Peter Bardens - Andy Ward - Richard Sinclair - Mel Collins 1977
* Andrew Latimer - Andy Ward - Richard Sinclair - Mel Collins - Jan Schelhaas - Dave Sinclair 1978 - 1979
* Andrew Latimer - Andy Ward - Colin Bass - Jan Schelhaas - Kit Watkins 1979 - 1981
* Andrew Latimer - Kit Watkins - David Paton - Chris Rainbow - Stuart Tosh - Andy Dalby 1982
* Andrew Latimer - Colin Bass - Paul Burgess - Chris Rainbow - Ton Scherpenzeel - Richie Close 1984
* Andrew Latimer - Colin Bass - Paul Burgess - Mickey Simmonds 1992
* Andrew Latimer - Colin Bass - Dave Stewart - Foss Patterson 1997
* Andrew Latimer - Colin Bass - Denis Clement - Guy LeBlanc 2000 - 2001
* Andrew Latimer - Colin Bass - Denis Clement - Tom Brislin 2003 (U.S.)
* Andrew Latimer - Colin Bass - Denis Clement - Ton Scherpenzeel 2003 (Europe)

* 1973 - Camel
* 1974 - Mirage
* 1975 - The Snow Goose
* 1976 - Moonmadness
* 1977 - Rain Dances
* 1978 - A Live Record (live, various venues 1974, 1975, 1977)
* 1978 - Breathless
* 1979 - I Can See Your House from Here
* 1981 - Nude
* 1982 - The Single Factor
* 1984 - Stationary Traveller
* 1984 - Pressure Points (live, 11 May 1984, Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK)
* 1991 - Dust and Dreams
* 1992 - On the Road 1972 (live, venue unspecified)
* 1993 - Never Let Go (live, 05 September 1992, Enschede, NL)
* 1994 - On the Road 1982 (live, Dutch radio, 13 June 1982, Congresgebouw, Den Haag, NL)
* 1996 - Harbour of Tears
* 1997 - On the Road 1981 (live, BBC radio, 02 April 1981, Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK)
* 1998 - Coming of Age (live, 13 March 1997, Billboard, Los Angeles, USA)
* 1999 - Rajaz
* 2000 - Gods of Light '73-'75 (live, various venues)
* 2001 - The Paris Collection (live, 30 September 2000, Bataclan-Club, Paris, France). Note: CD wrongly states concert as October 30th.
* 2002 - A Nod and a Wink

* 1981 - Chameleon - The Best Of Camel
* 1986 - A Compact Compilation
* 1986 - The Collection
* 1991 - Landscapes
* 1993 - Echoes
* 1997 - Camel - Master Series (25th Anniversary Compilation)
* 2001 - Lunar Sea

* 1973 - Never Let Go / Curiosity
* 1975 - Flight of the Snow Goose / Rhayader
* 1975 - The Snow Goose / Freefall
* 1976 - Another Night / Lunar Sea (Live)
* 1977 - Highways of the Sun / Tell Me
* 1978 - Breathless (Sin Respiracion) / Rainbows End (Spanish)
* 1979 - Your Love is Stranger Then Mine / Neon Magic
* 1979 - Remote Romance / Rainbows End / Tell Me
* 1981 - Lies (Dutch)
* 1982 - No Easy Answer / Heroes (Canadian)
* 1982 - Selva (Dutch)
* 1984 - Long Goodbyes / Metrognome (German)
* 1984 - Cloak And Dagger Man / Pressure Points
* 1984 - Berlin Occidental (West Berlin) Stereo Version / Mono Version (Mexican)

* 2002 - Coming Of Age (live, 13 March 1997, Billboard, Los Angeles, USA)
* 2003 - Pressure Points (live, 11 May 1984, Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK)
* 2003 - Curriculum Vitae
* 2004 - Footage
* 2005 - Footage II
* 2007 - Total Pressure (full version of 'Pressure Points' concert). =>>>>>>>>>>>

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Stephen Thomas Erlewine @ All Music
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. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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