Only the self-titled debut album was issued by Kama Sutra in 1967. Their second LP, “The Miraculous Hump Returns from the Moon” was released by Reprise in 1973 – two years after the band reformed. The third LP, which was recorded in 1973, was not released until 2001. Strange as it seems, Kama Sutra credited the band as “The Sopwith ‘Camel’” on the single releases and “Sopwith Camel” on the album.
The band’s only hit was the 1967 nostalgic sounding “Hello Hello.” Reminiscent of the Vaudeville/Music Hall era, “Hello Hello” was one of several songs that elicited these long forgotten musical styles to make it to popular radio. Others the evoked this nostalgia included The New Vaudeville Band’s “Winchester Cathedral,” Peter and Gordon’s “Lady Godiva,” and Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe through the Tulips.”
Other popular acts also used a similar style on their albums. Some examples include The Beatles’ “When I’m Sixty-Four,” Cream’s “A Mother’s Lament,” and Arlo Guthrie’s take on “Ukulele Lady” – especially if you find the longer version that was issued on the 1972 “Warner/Reprise Loss Leader” sampler: “The Whole Burbank Catalog.” I’m sure there are many others that I’m forgetting at the moment.
While peaking at #26, “Hello Hello” wasn’t the biggest hit in 1967. It was, however, the first single in the Top 40 by a San Francisco band. Oddly enough, you might occasionally hear it today on oldies radio.
“Would you like some of my tangerines?”