Behind My Camel

Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Behind My Camel"
Song by The Police
from the album Zenyatta Mondatta
Released2 October 1980
GenrePost-punk, instrumental rock
Composer(s)Andy Summers
Producer(s)The Police

"Behind My Camel" is the eighth track from the 1980 album Zenyatta Mondatta by the British rock band The Police. The song was written by guitarist Andy Summers and was the first one to be composed solely by him during his career in The Police. It won the Grammy Award of 1982 (awarded in 1982, but for accomplishments in late 1980 or 1981) for the Best Rock Instrumental Performance.[1]

The song features a simple, yet eerie guitar melody, which is quasi-Arabic in style (hence the title), a repetitive bass riff played by Summers himself because of Sting opting out,[2] drums played by Stewart Copeland, and atmospheric keyboards rather deep in the mix.

Response of other band members[edit]

"Behind My Camel" was not very popular with the two other band members, especially Sting.

I hated that song so much that, one day when I was in the studio, I found the tape lying on the table. So I took it around the back of the studio and actually buried it in the garden.

— Sting, Revolver 4/2000[2]

Stewart Copeland was not in favour of the song either:

As hard done by as I ever felt in this band, I could always take comfort in the fact that Andy got shafted even worse than I did on that little instrumental. Sting didn't even bother to play on it. Andy played all the bass and guitars, and I only played on the song because there wasn't anyone else to play drums.

— Stewart Copeland, Revolver 4/2000[2]

In Chris Campion's Police biography Walking on the Moon, Police producer Nigel Gray believes that the title was an in-joke by Andy Summers:

He didn't tell me this himself but I'm 98% sure the reason is this: what would you find behind a camel? A monumental pile of shit.

— Nigel Gray, Walking On The Moon [3]

Primus version[edit]

"Behind My Camel"
Song by Primus
from the album Rhinoplasty
ReleasedAugust 11, 1998
GenreAlternative rock
Composer(s)Andy Summers
Producer(s)Primus, Toby Wright

"Behind My Camel" was covered by the funk metal band Primus, for their 1998 EP of cover songs, Rhinoplasty.

In an interview, Primus bassist and vocalist Les Claypool commented on covering the song:

I've always wanted to cover a Police song. We've jammed on several of their tunes but Sting's vocal parts are, to say the least, a bit too challenging for me. An instrumental seemed the logical option to choose. Brain plays exceptionally well on this tune.

— Les Claypool[4]


  1. ^ "1981 Grammy Awards". Infoplease. Retrieved 2007-10-09.
  2. ^ a b c Garbarini, Vic (Spring 2000). "I think if we came back...", Revolver.
  3. ^ Campion, Chris, 'Walking On The Moon: The Untold Story Of The Police And The Rise Of New Wave Rock, Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2009 ISBN 978-0-470-28240-3
  4. ^ Rhinoplasty - A Word From Les Claypool