Gordon Haskell

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Gordon Haskell
Haskell on the cover of The Lady Wants To Know (2004)
Haskell on the cover of
The Lady Wants To Know (2004)
Background information
Born(1946-04-27)27 April 1946
OriginVerwood, Dorset, England
Died15 October 2020(2020-10-15) (aged 74)
GenresRock, folk, jazz, country, blues
Occupation(s)Musician, song writer, vocalist, music producer, etc.
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, bass guitar
Years active1965–2020
LabelsWilderness Records, East West Records, etc.
Associated actsThe Fleur de Lys, King Crimson, Cupid's Inspiration, Joe
Websitehttp://www.gordonhaskell.com/

Gordon Haskell (27 April 1946 – 15 October 2020) was an English musician and songwriter. A pop, rock, jazz, country and blues vocalist, guitarist, and bassist, he was a school friend of King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp, the two first working together in Fripp's mid-1960s teenage group the League of Gentlemen (not to be confused with Fripp's later new wave band). Haskell first gained recognition as bass player for the British band The Fleur de Lys, and subsequently spent a short period in King Crimson, singing one of the songs on their second album and both singing and playing bass on their third album. After departing from King Crimson, he continued his musical career as a solo musician, finally gaining international recognition in 2001 with his hit song "How Wonderful You Are", followed by his platinum-selling album Harry's Bar.

1960s[edit]

During the late 1960s Haskell moved from Dorset to London (for a brief period, sharing a flat with Jimi Hendrix). While playing bass in the psychedelic pop band the Fleur De Lys, who were hired by Atlantic Records as a full-time session band, Haskell recorded a few singles with the group to minimal success but achieving a No 1 and No 3 in South Africa and Australia as a songwriter with his song "Lazy Life". During the two years at Atlantic he worked with Isaac Hayes and David Porter (who wrote many songs for the Atlantic stable, including Sam and Dave) and worked with a variety of producers namely Glyn Johns, Donnie Elbert, Arif Mardin and George Martin. His debut solo album Sail in My Boat was recorded for the U.K. division of CBS Records in 1969 but the album did not chart. A song from the album, Zanzibar, was covered by Wanda Arletti, and reached No 1 on the singles chart in South Africa.[citation needed]

1970s[edit]

When King Crimson parted company with original singer Greg Lake, Haskell was asked to be the bassist and vocalist in the transitional King Crimson line-up of 1970. He appeared on the albums In the Wake of Poseidon (although just for one song, Cadence and Cascade) and Lizard. However, Haskell's preference for Nat King Cole and Ray Charles songs led to frustration in Fripp's band, and his folk and blues-oriented interests were in conflict with Crimson's more complicated progressive rock musical style. Haskell left the band acrimoniously following the recording of Lizard, during rehearsals for planned live work. He objected to his vocal contributions being manipulated, using distortion and by being sped up, feeling it would damage his reputation.[1]

Haskell subsequently auditioned for Atlantic Records head Ahmet Ertegün, who had signed Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin which led to Arif Mardin producing Haskell's 1971 solo album It Is and It Isn’t. The album has guest appearances from top session musicians, notably John Wetton, who would join King Crimson in late 1972. Again, the album was not a commercial success. As the 1970s progressed, Haskell found himself playing supporting stints with Cliff Richard and Tim Hardin. For a short time in 1974 he rehearsed with the group Stackridge. Though Haskell decided not to join the group, Stackridge did record a song from It Is and It Isn’t. Originally called "Worms", the version on the 1975 album Extravaganza was re-titled, "No One's More Important Than the Earthworm".

1980s and 1990s[edit]

Haskell arrived at the doorstep of the 1980s deeply in debt and dissatisfied with the music business. He left for Denmark in 1984, playing "seven nights a week to drunks in bars." During this time his voice became a lot stronger. His debt eventually eliminated, he returned to England and continued playing solo and small-band gigs in tiny pubs and clubs. "I was trapped," Haskell recalls, "but the time wasn't wasted. I was practising. I was in the wilderness for a long time. But I met a lot of really interesting characters in bars, and that's where my songs tend to come from. I was self-contained, self-supporting, and I didn't really have anything to do with the recording industry."[citation needed]

His single "Almost Certainly" Covered by Judy Boucher reached number one in South Africa in 1990. An album called Hambledon Hill followed. It did well on airplay with BBC Radio 1's DJ, Bob Harris saying he "loved it" and become record of the week in BBC radio Scotland .[citation needed] A single of the same name was planned but the distributor went bankrupt and the deal fell through. However, in 1994, the Voiceprint record label re-issued the album.

Success[edit]

After releasing the album Butterfly in China in (1996), he then did a small tour of America which delighted King Crimson fans even though he was only there to do solo material and see if he could get a record deal. This never happened and he went back to England to continue performing in bars. He then became introduced to Robbie Mcintosh by Ken Watkins about performing together. This is where he released All in The Scheme of Things (2000). Seeing an opportunity, he was approached by manager of Robbie McIntosh, Ian Brown about recording opportunities. Haskell accepted, but specified that he wanted to make his record the old-fashioned way: live, no overdubs, and grounded in solid songwriting and classically styled performances.[2]

The album that was made in February 2001, called Look Out contained a jazz-tinged ballad entitled "How Wonderful You Are". After being sent on tour with Hamish Stuart & Robbie Mcintosh to Germany in June 2001.[3] Look Out was released to no or little press. Gordon thought otherwise and so the Song "How Wonderful You Are" was given to Johnnie Walker of BBC Radio 2 the day before 9/11. Even before its release as a single in late 2001, Haskell's song surpassed the Beatles’ "Hey Jude" and Frank Sinatra's "My Way" to become the most-requested song on BBC Radio 2.[4][5] Despite limited promotion, it charted as the Christmas number two in the UK Singles Chart. Although appearing on Top of the Pops that week, the broadcast was delayed for 14 months due to pressure from EMI Records, Robbie Williams' Management (David Enthoven who had managed him in King Crimson) and the City of London Bank who were arranging a 42 million pound deal with Williams. It is generally accepted that had he been broadcast he would have taken the No 1 from Williams and no explanation or apology was ever given by the BBC Executive Producer. It went on, however, to sell more than 400,000 copies.[6]

As "How Wonderful You Are" scaled the UK singles chart, the British press began to pay attention to the story of its unsung creator. Haskell was quoted as saying, "Suddenly, after all these years, there's all this attention. But I've been living on skid row for so long that if I make a million now, it's back pay." As a result of the success of the single Haskell was offered a multimillion-dollar recording contract from the UK label East West Records, distributed by Warner Bros. Records. The album Harry's Bar was released on 7 January 2002. It peaked at number 2 in the UK Albums Chart,[6] and found similar success in Europe. Later on that year Shadows on the Wall was released, but only made Number 44 in the UK Albums Chart.[6] Warner Bros fired him when he called the MD an android in a music magazine and cancelled his contract. Haskell has no regrets. He stated that it was not he who signed to Warners but his manager, who signed himself instead, so felt there was no loss as the whole thing was a fabrication. He merely stated the truth, something that continued to serve him well in his later years as he continued to tour and write and record.

His next album reached Number 14 in the Polish album charts. Called The Lady Wants To Know, it contained eleven tracks, was produced by Hamish Stuart and featured Tony O'Malley and Robbie McIntosh. A DVD, "The Road To Harry's Bar", was released in 2005 and Haskell also published his autobiography under the same title, with the foreword written by David Nobbs, creator of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.

After commuting from the Greek island of Skopelos for eight years he returned to the UK in 2017 for a British tour with Hannah's Yard, and planned to continue touring and recording as and when he chose. He was a resident of the UK.

Death[edit]

Haskell died from cancer on 15 October 2020 at the age of 74. His death was announced on 18 October through his Facebook page, and confirmed via his agent's website the following day.[7][8][9]

Discography[edit]

Fleurs De Lys[edit]

Singles : The singles noted here only include those with Gordon Haskell as bassist and singer :

  • 1966 : "Circles" / "So Come On" - Immediate Records IM 32
  • 1966 : "Mud In Your Eye" / "I've Been Trying" - Polydor Records 56124
  • 1967 : "I Can See The Light" / "Prodigal Son" - Polydor Records 56200
  • 1968 : "Gong with the Luminous Nose" / "Hammer Head" - Polydor Records 56251
  • 1967 : Shyster "Tick Tock" / "That's a Hoe Down" Polydor – 56202

Compilations :

  • 1996 : Les Fleurs De Lys
  • 1997 : Reflections - Blueprint Records (4) – BP256CD
  • 2002 : Les Fleurs De Lys - Reedition of the first compilation album
  • 2013 : You've Got To Earn It - Acid Jazz Records AJXLP324

Cupid's Inspiration[edit]

  • 1968 : " I Want To Give It All To You" Written Song on Album Yesterday Has Gone and played bass

King Crimson[edit]

  • 1970 : In the Wake of Poseidon - vocals on "Cadence and Cascade"
  • 1970 : Lizard - bass and vocals throughout, except for "Prince Rupert Awakes" (sung by Jon Anderson)

Joe[edit]

  • 1977 Minoru Muraoka And His Group with Joe (188) – Memories Of Chi Yo
  • 1978 Joe - How Can I Resist/ Sweet Annabelle (Written both Songs and played bass)

Solo[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certification
UK
[10][11]
FIN
[12]
FRA
[13]
GER
[14]
NLD
[15]
POL
[16][17][18]
SPA
[19]
Sail In My Boat
  • Released: 1969[20]
  • Label: CBS (original) Voiceprint Records (re-issue)
  • Formats: LP, CD, Digital Download[21]
It Is And It Isn't
  • Released: 1971
  • Label: Atco Records (original release), Wounded Bird Records (reissues)
  • Formats: LP, CD, digital download[22]
Serve at Room Temperature
  • Released: 1979
  • Label: Evangel Records
  • Formats: LP, CD, Digital Download [23]
Hambledon Hill
  • Released: 1990
  • Label: Voiceprint Records/BMG
  • Formats: LP, Cassette CD Digital Download [24]
It's Just a Plot to Drive You Crazy
  • Released: 1992[25]
  • Label: Voiceprint Records/Blueprint
  • Formats: CD, Digital Download [26]
Butterfly in China
  • Released: 1996[27]
  • Label: Wilderness Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download [28]
All In The Scheme Of Things
  • Released: 11 September 2000[29]
  • Label: Wilderness Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download [30]
Look Out
  • Released: 2001
  • Label: Flying Sparks Records
  • Formats: CD
Harry's Bar
  • Released: 14 January 2002[31]
  • Label: East West Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download[32]
2 7[33] 30 38[34] 24 5
  • Silver UK
  • Gold UK[35]
Shadows On The Wall
  • Released: 14 October 2002[36]
  • Label: Flying Sparks Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download[37]
44 18[33] 8
The Lady Wants To Know
  • Released: 4 October 2004[38]
  • Label: Hypertension / Rand M Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download[39]
14
One Day Soon
  • Released: 24 September 2010
  • Label: Fullfill Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download[40]
The Cat Who's Got The Cream
  • Released: 24 January 2020
  • Label: Zoo Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download[41]
35

Singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifcations
UK
[10]
NLD
[42]
PLD HUN ALBUM
"Boat Trip" 1969 Sail in my Boat
"Oo La Di Doo Da Day" 1970
"Sitting By The Fire" 1972 It is It's isn't
"I Need Your Love So Much" 1980 Serve At Room Temperature
"Castles In The Sky"
"5-10-15" 1981 non-album single
"Hambledon Hill" 1990 Hambeldon Hill
"The Right Time" 1991
"More Yin Than Yang" 1996 Butterfly In China
"How Wonderful You Are"[43][44] 2001 2 90 1[45] Harry's Bar Silver [46]
"There Goes My Heart Again" 2002 133
"All the Time in the World" 2002 15[47]
"The Music Played" [48]
(Gordon Haskell & Maarit)
2003 Shadows On The Wall (Finnish Edition)
"Whole Wide World"[49] 2003 38[50] Shadows on the Wall
"The Lady Wants To Know" 2004 The Lady Wants To Know
"All In The Scheme Of Things"
(Kasia Skrzynecka & Gordon Haskell)[51]
2005 Koa
"Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven" 2006 non-album single
"Take My Breath Away"[52] 2008 non-album single
"Forevermore"[53] 2010 One Day Soon
My Bike Featuring Gordon Haskell "tiger"[54] 2013 My Bike
"I'm Letting Everybody Know"[55] 2015 I'm Letting Everybody Know
"W Rio" with Pitor Salata[56] 2016 PS
"it's Me and You and Them and Us "[57][58] 2018 The Cat who's got the Cream
"I'm Still Mad about You"[59] 2019 19
"How Wonderful You Are 2019"[60] 2019
"I'm Still Trying to Figure Out"[61] 2020
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

EPs[edit]

Title Album details
Voiceprint Radio Sessions
  • Released: 24 October 1994
  • Label: Voiceprint
  • Formats: CD

Live albums[edit]

Title Album details
Gordon Haskell w Szczecinie Live!
  • Released: August 2008[62]
  • Label: Polskie Radio Szczecin
  • Formats: CD
The Road To Harry's Bar, All Hits Live
  • Released: 25 November 2008
  • Label: Metal Mind Productions
  • Formats: CD, digital download[63]

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
UK
[10][64]
PL
[10][64]
All My Life
  • Released: 27 April 2002
  • Label: Union Square Music
  • Formats: CD, digital download[65]
154
The Collection: 18 of His Finest Songs
  • Released: 22 October 2002[66]
  • Label: Metro Music
  • Formats: CD
The Right Time: A Collection
  • Released: 1 November 2002
  • Label: Crimson Productions
  • Formats: CD
How Wonderful You Are (The Best Of)
  • Released: 2003
  • Label: Warner Music Poland
  • Formats: CD, Cassette
15

Video albums[edit]

Title Album details
The Road To Harry's Bar
  • Released: 7 November 2005[67]
  • Label: Metal Mind Productions
  • Formats: DVD

Collaboration[edit]

Covers of Gordon Haskell Songs[edit]

  • "You Won't Be seeing Me anymore" - B side Sad Simon Lives Again sung by Tim Andrews
  • "Lazy Life" on the album Sad Simon Lives Again by Quentin E. Klopjaeger with the Gonks No 1 South Africa 21-06-1968
  • "Lazy Life" on the album Lazy Life / Crazy How Love Slips Away by William Kimber
  • "Lazy Life" on the album Four Jacks And A Jill – The Sunny Side Of Four Jacks And A Jill
  • "Lazy Life" on the album Backstreet.... And Other Great Hits! by The Oulet
  • "Lazy Life" on the album Heart 'N' Soul – Lazy Life (single) No 4 Australia
  • "Zanzibar" on the album Zanzibar Single by Wanda Arletti No 2 in South Africa 01 -01- 1971. Sold £100,000 copies
  • "Worms" on the album Extravaganza by Stackridge.
  • "Almost Certainly" on the album Almost Certainly by Judy Boucher. No 1 in South Africa (1990)
  • "Voodoo Dance" on the album Oh! by Tony O' Malley.
  • "I Can See the Light" on the album Childhood's End by Ulver.
  • "Lazy Life" on the album ...At His Best (1984) by Billy Fury.
  • "Freeway to Her Dreams" on the Single Freeway To Her Dreams by [[Cathryn Craig & Brian Willoughby ]].
  • "Whole Wide World " on the Single Whole Wide World by Cathryn Craig & Brian Willoughby Featuring Righteous Brother Bill Medley.

Book[edit]

  • The Road to Harry's Bar: Forty Years on the Potholed Path to Stardom, 2006, Mainstream Publishing, ISBN 9781840189872
  • " The Importance of Salmon " Gordon Haskell (Author) Sue Haskell (Illustrator) Self Published 14 June 2019

References[edit]

  1. ^ In the Court of King Crimson, Sid Smith, Helter Skelter Publ., 2001, ISBN 978-1900924269
  2. ^ "Album: Gordon Haskell". The Independent. 11 January 2002. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  3. ^ Markus den Boer, Bericht von (29 June 2001). "Konzertbericht Robbie McIntosh/Hamish Stuart/Gordon Haskell". jiggler. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  4. ^ Eden, Richard (24 December 2001). "And then they go and spoil it all for Gordon Haskell". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  5. ^ "Haskell's 'old school' rules". BBC News. 13 January 2002. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  6. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 246. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  7. ^ "Former King Crimson Bassist and Singer Gordon Haskell Dies at 74". Billboard. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  8. ^ Smith, Sid. "Gordon Haskell RIP". DGM. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  9. ^ "Gordon Haskell: How Wonderful You Are singer dies aged 74". BBC News. 19 October 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
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  13. ^ "Lescharts : Gordon Haskell". Finnishcharts.com. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  14. ^ "charts.de". Officialcharts.de. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
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  16. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzeda¿y :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". Olis.onyx.pl. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
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  49. ^ "Whole Wide world Music Video". 20 November 2020.
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  53. ^ "iTunes - Music - Forevermore - Single by Gordon Haskell". iTunes. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  54. ^ "My bike Gordon Haskell Tiger". 20 November 2020.
  55. ^ "iTunes - Music - I'm Letting Everybody Know - Single by Gordon Haskell". iTunes. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  56. ^ "w rIO vIDEO". 20 November 2020.
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  59. ^ "I'm Still Mad About You (Swing Version) by Gordon Haskell". Apple Music. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  60. ^ "How Wonderful You Are 2019 by Gordon Haskell". Apple Music. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
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External links[edit]