Camel are an English progressive rock band formed in 1971 and an important part of the Canterbury scene.
They were originally known as The Brew, which consisted of guitarist Andrew Latimer, bassist Doug Ferguson, and drummer Andy Ward. They then hired keyboardist Peter Bardens and changed their name to Camel. They released four albums together as the original four. Andy Ward was pushing the band towards a more jazzier direction, which caused Ferguson to leave and be replaced by Richard Sinclair, an ex-Caravan member; Mel Collins of King Crimson also joined. After their sixth album, Breathless, Peter Bardens left. After the release of 1981's Nude, Andy Ward left as well, leaving only Latimer. Camel eventually fell into the same hole many progressive rock bands found themselves in; struggling to retain their roots while trying to appeal to pop and mainstream audiences. In 1981, Camel left the scene until about a decade later when Latimer formed his own record producing company, Camel Productions. They eventually returned to their prog-rock roots in Rajaz. In 2002, Peter Bardens died of lung cancer. Their latest album, A Nod and a Wink is dedicated to him. After a decade long hiatus from touring, the band has performed live fairly consistently since 2013, with Latimer, longtime bassist Colin Bass, Denis Clement on drums, and a rotating keyboardist.
They're often considered one of the most underrated progressive rock bands. More people started to check them out when Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth cited them as a major influence.
- Camel (1973)
- Mirage (1974)
- The Snow Goose (1975)
- Moonmadness (1976)
- Rain Dances (1977)
- Breathless (1978)
- I Can See Your House from Here (1979)
- Nude (1981)
- The Single Factor (1982)
- Stationary Traveller (1984)
- Dust and Dream (1991)
- Harbour of Tears (1996)
- Rajaz (1999)
- A Nod and a Wink (2002)
- Andrew Latimer - guitar, vocals, flute, recorder (1971–present)
- Colin Bass - bass (1979–81, 1984–present)
- Denis Clement - drums (2000–present)
- Andy Ward - drums (1971–81)
- Peter Bardens - keyboards (1971–78; died 2002)
- Doug Ferguson - bass (1971–77)
- Mel Collins - saxophones, flute (1977–79)
- Richard Sinclair - bass (1977–79)
- Jan Schelhaas - keyboards (1978–81)
- Dave Sinclair - keyboards (1978–79)
- Kit Watkins - keyboards, flute (1979–81)
- Chris Rainbow - vocals, keyboards (1982–91; died 2015)
- David Paton - bass (1982–84)
- Ton Scherpenzeel - keyboards (1984, 1991, 1999)
- Paul Burgess - drums (1984–92)
- Mickey Simmonds - keyboards (1991–92)
- Dave Stewart - drums (1997–2000)
- Guy LeBlanc - keyboards (2000–15; died 2015)
Harbour of Tropes:
- Concept Album: Quite a few:
- Music Inspired by the Snow Goose, a wholly instrumental album about the book The Snow Goose.
- Nude, the story of Hiroo Onoda, a popular story in Japanese culture.
- Stationary Traveller, an album about German refugees' attempts to cross the Berlin Wall.
- Dust and Dreams, which is based off the book The Grapes of Wrath.
- Harbour of Tears, a story of Irish immigrants and their trip to America.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The cover for the album Mirage looks very similar to Camel cigarette cartons.
- Epic Rocking: This is expected because they are prog-rock, but their most well known is the 13-minute epic, "Lady Fantasy". "Nimrodel", "Lunar Sea" and "Ice" are not far behind. The Snow Goose may be an example as well, since most of the songs segue together seamlessly.
- Greatest Hits Album: A whole bunch of them over the years, through most are out-of-print. The more recent ones have had the band try to avoid too much overlap by including lesser-known songs and live versions.
- I Am the Band: Andrew Latimer, also Face of the Band
- Don't forget Colin Bass, who's been the band's bassist and vocalist since 1979 and a part of the creative force of the band.
- Meaningful Name: The Single Factor refers to Andrew Latimer being the only band member left at the time.
- Revolving Door Band: From the 1980's on, Latimer and Colin Bass have been the only consistent members. Denis Clement's been the drummer since 2000.
- No Ending: The version of "Never Let Go" on the band's first live album abruptly ends, cutting out the final chorus and guitar solo.
- Shout-Out: The title of I Can See Your House From Here is one to a joke that was fairly popular back in 1979, where the crucified Jesus summons his disciple Peter, only to utter the titular line.
- Tick Tock Tune: "Metrognome", which segues into a complex meter after the metronome section.
- Uncommon Time: Duh. It's prog. Did you really expect something else?