Camel were a British progressive rock band formed back in 1972 by keyboards player Peter Bardens who had previously worked with such outfits as Them, Shotgun Express (alongside Rod Stewart) and Village, as well as recording several solo albums. He was joined in his new musical venture by Andy Latimer (flute, guitar and vocals), Doug Ferguson (bass), and Andy Ward (drums) who had all previously been in Phil Goodhand-Tait's backing group Brew.
Their first album as Camel was released in 1973 but was not a commercial success. It was followed by Mirage in 1974, but their third album The Snow Goose, a concept album based on Paul Gallico's The Snow Goose, the popular children's novel, was the one to elevate them to heights of success. It climbed into the British Top 30 album chart and remained there for several months; within weeks the band were appearing at London's prestigious Royal Albert hall, performing the album with the London Symphony Orchestra.
The band had two more Top 20 album sucesses in the Seventies, Moonmadness in 1976, and Raindances in 1977. Another album, 1978's Breathless, was a Top 30 hit. At the same time the band enjoyed some transatlantic success with their albums making the lower end of the US charts.
As with most other bands of the era, Camel underwent several changes in personnel. Doug Ferguson left the line-up to be replaced by bassist Richard Sinclair (formerly with Caravan). Mel Collins also joined the band as saxophonist but then Sinclair was replaced by Colin Bass. The biggest change came with the departure of founder member Pete Bardens who left to persue various musical directions including playing with Van Morrison again (resuming a working relationship first started with Them).
Camel were very much a Seventies progressive rock band. Their music was just right for the time, and they deserved their moments of fame. Their third album The Snow Goose is still a musical landmark of the era, and will probably still be enjoyed by music fans in the next century. In the meantime here's a Nineties reminder of the fine recordings that they produced two decades ago.