Peter Bardens with Camel at Volkshaus Zurich, 1975 – Photograph by Ueli Frey
19 June 1944|
Westminster, Central London, England
22 January 2002 (aged 57)|
Malibu, California, United States
|Genres||Rock, progressive rock|
|Occupation(s)||Keyboardist, pianist, songwriter, singer|
|Instruments||Hammond organ, Rhodes piano, Minimoog, Roland RS-202, vocals|
|Labels||Transatlantic, Arista, Capitol, Miramar, HTD, Castle Music|
|Associated acts||Them, Shotgun Express, Camel, Keats, Mirage|
Peter Bardens (19 June 1944 – 22 January 2002) was an English keyboardist and a founder member of the British progressive rock group Camel. He played keyboards, sang, and wrote songs with Andrew Latimer. During his career, Bardens worked alongside Rod Stewart, Mick Fleetwood and Van Morrison, and recorded solo albums.
Bardens was born in Westminster London to Dennis Bardens, a novelist and biographer, and grew up in Notting Hill. He studied fine art at Byam Shaw School of Art, and learned the piano, before switching to the Hammond organ after listening to Jimmy Smith. In 1965, he spent a brief spell as the keyboard player with Them after leaving The Cheynes. He moved on and formed Peter B's Looners which eventually morphed into Shotgun Express, a band that played soul music and featured Rod Stewart, Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood. Fleetwood later said Barden's recruitment into the band kick-started his musical career.
From August 1968 to February 1970, he formed The Village with featured future Elvis Costello and The Attractions bassist Bruce Thomas and Bill Porter (drums). They released a single "Man In The Moon"/"Long Time Coming"
In 1970, Bardens recorded The Answer, an album featuring Peter Green and Andy Gee. Bardens recorded an eponymous album in 1971 which was released in the United States as Write My Name in the Dust before forming Camel in 1972. He left Camel in 1978 to join Them bandmate Van Morrison's band. He recorded Wavelength with Morrison and appeared in the line up of the album's promotional tour. By the end of the 1970s, Bardens began exploring electronica and released the album Heart to Heart in 1979.
Bardens co-wrote "Looking for a Good Time" with Bobby Tench, featured as the B-side of the single "Chain Gang" (1982), which Tench had recorded as a tribute to Sam Cooke. During that era, Bardens also played with Alan Parsons Project. In 1984, he became a member of Keats (an Alan Parsons Project offshoot) and released an album with them. Bardens continued to release a number of solo electronic albums including Seen One Earth (1987), which found chart success in the United States. The first single from the album, "In Dreams", was met with commercial success as well. The song enjoyed heavy airplay on rock stations in the U.S. and Australia, where Brisbane rock station 4MMM, the most popular radio station in the country at the time, added it to their playlist. In 1988, he followed this with Speed of Light (1988) which featured Mick Fleetwood. "Gold" from this album was released in the U.S as a single and found some success on MTV.
He released Water Colours in 1991, an album that featured his former Camel bandmate Andy Ward and Caravan's Dave Sinclair. Bardens formed the band Mirage and released a new album Big Sky in 1994. His last concert, subsequent to being diagnosed with a brain tumour, was in Los Angeles in the summer of 2001. Other performers who joined him at his concert included Mick Fleetwood, John Mayall, John McVie, Sheila E. and Ben Harper.
Bardens died from lung cancer in Malibu in January 2002, at the age of 57 and is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. A double CD Write My Name in the Dust: The Anthology 1963-2002 was released after his death and included tracks recorded throughout his career.
Solo studio albums
- 1970 - The Answer
- 1971 - Peter Bardens ('Write My Name in the Dust' in the U.S.)
- 1976 - Vintage 69
- 1979 - Heart to Heart
- 1987 - Seen One Earth
- 1988 - Speed of Light
- 1991 - Water Colors
- 1993 - Further Than You Know
- 1994 - Big Sky
- 2002 - The Art of Levitation
- 2005 - Write My Name In The Dust: The Anthology 1963-2002
Studio Albums with Camel
- Camel (1973)
- Mirage (1974)
- The Snow Goose (1975)
- Moonmadness (1976)
- Rain Dances (1977)
- Breathless (1978)
- The Single Factor (1982) (guest)
Live Albums with Camel
- Greasy Truckers Live at Dingwalls Dance Hall (1974) (Camel + Various Artists. Includes 19 minute version of Camel's 'God of Light Revisited')
- A Live Record (1978) (live, various venues 1974, 1975, 1977)
- Pressure Points: Live in Concert (1984) (live, 11 May 1984, Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK)
- On the Road 1972 (1992) (live, venue unspecified)
- Gods of Light '73-'75 (2000) (live, various venues)
- 1971 - "Homage to the God of Light"
- 1987 - "In Dreams"
- 1988 - "Gold"
- 1988 - "Whisper in the Wind"
- 1991 - "A Higher Ground"
- "Find A Grave:Peter S. Bardens". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 2015-04-04.
- "Peter Bardens Discography at Discogs". www.discogs.com. Retrieved 2015-08-26.
- Salewicz, Chris (31 January 2002). "Peter Bardens - Obituaries - News - The Independent". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
- "Peter Bardens Biography". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
- "Peter Bardens - Chart history". www.billboard.com. Retrieved 2015-08-26.