PETER BARDENS, BEGGAR'S OPERA & BIRTH CONTROL
BARDENS PETERPeter Bardens was born in London in 1945 and died in Malibu in 2002. He was the keyboardist and a founding member of “Camel”. In his career he worked with many famous musicians, and he participated in the best and more inspired period of Camel.
His career in music started in 1965 with “Them”. For a short period he was the keyboard player in Van Morrison’s first band. After that, he formed his own band called “Shotgun Express” together with Rod Stewart, Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood, and they tried to play soul music for a while before disbanding. In 1970 together with Peter Green he formed “The Village”, and they released one album named “The Answer”.
In 1971 he released another album, but this time under his name, and in 1972 he formed a new band. Camel were born! In Camel he was the keyboard player, and one of the two main songwriters. (The other one was Andrew Latimer). Together they wrote some of Camel’s best songs, and during his stay in the band, Camel released their most wonderful albums. (Mirage, The Snow Goose, Moonmadness etc).
In 1978 he quit Camel, and joined his old friend Van Morrison. Together they recorded “Wavelength”, (another very good album), and he followed Van Morrison on the album’s promotional tour.
In the ‘80’s he released a number of solo albums, which had a small success mostly in USA.
In the ‘90’s he formed one more band, under the name “Peter Barden’s Mirage”, together with Andy Ward (ex-Camel), and David Sinclair (ex-Caravan).
His last concert was in Los Angeles in the summer of 2001. (He had already been diagnosed with brain tumor). In this concert some special guests joined him on stage, such as John Mayall, Mick Fleetwood and Ben Harper.
He died from lung cancer in January 2002 in Malibu, at the age of 56. He is buried at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood California…
They were formed in Glasgow in 1969 by the guitarist Ricky Gardiner and the keyboard player Alan Park. Their name comes from a novel writen by the poet John Gray in 1728.
In 1970 they signed a contract with Vertigo, and they released their first album the same year with the name “Act One”. The single “Sarabande” from this record entered the singles charts in some European countries. After this album they recruited Virginia Scott as a second keyboard player, and they released their second album (Waters of Change) in 1971. The sound of this album was build around the dual keyboard players, and it became very famous in Germany, mostly because of the song “Time Machine”. After the release of this album the band spent enough time performing live in Germany in order to increase their popularity there.
Until the release of their third album (Pathfinder) in 1972, many members came and gone, and that continued during the next year as well. They actually reached a point that in their fourth and last album (Get Your Dog Off me) (1973), the band was a trio.
After this album they were disbanded, and Ricky Gardiner joined David Bowie for the recordings of the album “Low”, and later on joined Iggy Pop for the album “Lust for Life”. He also followed Iggy Pop in the tour which followed.
As for Alan Park, he worked successfully with Sir Cliff Richard as a musical director.
In the following years, some of the members of Beggar’s Opera made some reunions and they released a few albums, but without any significant success.
Birth Control was a German band known by their Progressive Hard Rock sound and the provocative album covers. They were formed in 1968 in Berlin from 2 other bands: The Earls & The Gents.
They released their first album in 1970 under their name in the German label ‘Metronome’, but it was nothing worth mentioning, except from the cover that shows a box of Birth control pills. (And a picture of the band in the middle)
After this album they moved from ‘Metronome’ to ‘Ohr’, a company specialized to underground German Rock scene. In their second album under the name “Operation” (1971) they managed to improve their sound a lot, but again they didn't achieved any regognition worth mentioning. Their sound in this album was a kind of Heavy Rock mixed with Jazz influences.
In 1972 they released “Hoodoo Man” with the weird cover (once more),in which was included their only famous song : The 9-minute long “Gamma Ray”.
After replasing some of their members, in 1973 they released “Rebirth”, maybe their most Prog album.
A second album comes out in 1973 with the name “Goldrock”, followed by a live album in 1974.
In 1975 they released “Plastic People” that was probably their second really Prog album.
In 1976 they released the concept album “Backdoor Possibilities” but it was more a Hard Rock album than Progressive, and it was a failure.
1977 was a very productive year. One live album, one “best of” and a new album with the name “Increase”
Same in 1978, they released another “best of” album (Vol.2), followed by 2 new albums: “Titanic” and “Rock on Brain”
Another Live album is being released in 1979, and the band released 2-3 more records before disbanding in the mid-‘80’s…
In 1993 some of the old members made a reunion, and since then they are releasing albums on a regular basis, and they are touring mostly in Germany.
On the following video you can listen to the song "Gamma Ray" performed live from 1974...