Gordon Haskell

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Gordon Haskell
Gordon+Haskell.jpg
Haskell on the cover of
The Lady Wants To Know (2004)
Background information
Born (1946-04-27) 27 April 1946 (age 71)
Origin Verwood, Dorset, England
Genres Rock, Folk, Jazz, Blues
Occupation(s) musician, song writer, vocalist, music producer, etc.
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass guitar
Years active 1965–present
Labels Wilderness Records, East West Records, etc.
Associated acts Les Fleur de Lys, King Crimson
Website http://www.gordonhaskell.com/

Gordon Haskell (born 27 April 1946, in Verwood, Dorset, England) is an English musician and songwriter. A pop, rock 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 beat band). Haskell first gained recognition as bass player for the British band Les 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'.

The 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. The album did not chart and today remains a rare collectible, valued by Record Collector in their 2016 "Rare Record Price Guide" at £125. A song from the album was covered by Wanda Arlitti making No 1 in the singles charts in South Africa.

The 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) 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".

The 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" 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".[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]

Look Out contained a jazz-tinged ballad entitled "How Wonderful You Are". This 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.[2][3] Despite limited promotion, it charted as the Christmas number two in the UK Singles Chart. Although appearing on the Top of the Pops show that week, the broadcast was delayed for 8 weeks 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.[4][citation needed]

As "How Wonderful You Are" scaled the UK pop charts, 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." He was approached by manager 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.[citation needed]

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,[4] 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.[4] Warner Bros fired him when he called the MD an android in a music magazine and cancelled his contract. Haskell has no regrets. He states that it was not he who signed to Warners but his manager, who signed himself instead, so feels there was no loss as the whole thing was a fabrication. He merely stated the truth, something that continues to serve him well 16 years on as he continues 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 8 years he returned to the UK in 2017 for a British tour with Hannah's Yard, and plans to continue touring and recording as and when he chooses. He is now resident in the UK.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
UK
[5][6]
FIN
[7]
FRA
[8]
GER
[9]
NLD
[10]
POL
[11][12][13]
Sail In My Boat
  • Released: 1969[14]
  • Label: CBS (original) Voiceprint Records (re-issue)
  • Formats: LP, CD
It Is And It Isn't
  • Released: 1971
  • Label: Atco Records (original release), Wounded Bird Records (reissues)
  • Formats: LP, CD, digital download[15]
Serve at Room Temperature
  • Released: 1979
  • Label: Evangel Records
  • Formats: LP, CD
Hambledon Hill
  • Released: 1990
  • Label: Voiceprint Records /BMG
  • Formats: LP, Cassete CD
It's Just a Plot to Drive You Crazy
  • Released: 1992[16]
  • Label: Voiceprint Records/Blueprint
  • Formats: CD
Butterfly in China
  • Released: 1996[17]
  • Label: Wilderness Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download
All In The Scheme Of Things
  • Released: 11 September 2000[18]
  • Label: Wilderness Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Look Out
  • Released: 2001
  • Label: Flying Sparks Records
  • Formats: CD
Harry's Bar
  • Released: 14 January 2002[19]
  • Label: East West Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download[20]
2 7 30 38 24 5
Shadows On The Wall
  • Released: 14 October 2002[21]
  • Label: Flying Sparks Records
  • Formats: CD
44 18 8
The Lady Wants To Know
  • Released: 4 October 2004[22]
  • Label: Hypertension
  • Formats: CD, digital download[23]
14
One Day Soon
  • Released: 24 September 2010
  • Label: Fullfill Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download[24]
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
UK
[5]
NLD
[25]
"Sitting By The Fire" 1970 non-album single
"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 Voiceprint Radio Sessions
"How Wonderful You Are" 2001 2 90 Harry's Bar
"There Goes My Heart Again" 2002 133
"The Music Played"
(Gordon Haskell & Maarit)
2003 Shadows On The Wall (Finnish Edition)
"The Lady Wants To Know" 2004 The Lady Wants To Know
"All In The Scheme Of Things"
(Kasia Skrzynecka & Gordon Haskell)
2005 Koa
"Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven" 2006 non-album single
"Take My Breath Away"[26] 2008 non-album single
"Forevermore"[27] 2010 One Day Soon
"I'm Letting Everybody Know"[28] 2015 I'm Letting Everybody Know
"—" 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[29]
  • 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[30]

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
UK
[5][31]
PL
[5][31]
All My Life
  • Released: 27 April 2002
  • Label: Union Square Music
  • Formats: CD, digital download[32]
154
The Collection: 18 of His Finest Songs
  • Released: 22 October 2002[33]
  • 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[34]
  • Label: Metal Mind Productions
  • Formats: DVD

Books[edit]

  • The Road to Harry's Bar: Forty Years on the Potholed Path to Stardom, 2006, Mainstream Publishing, ISBN 9781840189872

References[edit]

  1. ^ In the Court of King Crimson by Sid Smith, Helter Skelter Publ., 2002
  2. ^ Eden, Richard (24 December 2001). "And then they go and spoil it all for Gordon Haskell". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  3. ^ "Haskell's 'old school' rules". BBC News. 13 January 2002. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 246. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ a b c d "GORDON HASKELL". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "Chart Log UK". Zobbel.de. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  7. ^ "Finnish Charts : Gordon Haskell". Finnishcharts.com. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "Lescharts : Gordon Haskell". Finnishcharts.com. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "charts.de". Officialcharts.de. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  10. ^ "Dutch Charts : Gordon Haskell". Dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzeda¿y :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". Olis.onyx.pl. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzeda¿y :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". Olis.onyx.pl. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzeda¿y :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". Olis.onyx.pl. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "Sail in My Boat - Gordon Haskell - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "iTunes - Music - It Is and It Isn't by Gordon Haskell". iTunes. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "It's Just a Plot to Drive You Crazy - Gordon Haskell - Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  17. ^ "Butterfly in China - Gordon Haskell - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "All in the Scheme of Things - Gordon Haskell - Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "Gordon Haskell - "Harry's Bar"". Muzyka.onet.pl. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  20. ^ "iTunes - Music - Harry's Bar by Gordon Haskell". iTunes. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  21. ^ "Shadows on the Wall - Gordon Haskell - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  22. ^ "Gordon Haskell - "The Lady Wants to Know"". Muzyka.onet.pl. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  23. ^ "iTunes - Music - The Lady Want's to Know by Gordon Haskell". iTunes. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  24. ^ "iTunes - Music - One Day Soon by Gordon Haskell Hionides". iTunes. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  25. ^ "Dutch Charts : Gordon Haskell". Dutchcharts.com. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  26. ^ "iTunes - Music - Take My Breath Away by Gordon Haskell". iTunes. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  27. ^ "iTunes - Music - Forevermore - Single by Gordon Haskell". iTunes. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  28. ^ "iTunes - Music - I'm Letting Everybody Know - Single by Gordon Haskell". iTunes. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  29. ^ "Gordon Haskell w Szczecinie live!". Radioszczecin.pl. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  30. ^ "iTunes - Music - The Road to Harry's Bar by Gordon Haskell". iTunes. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  31. ^ a b "Chart Log UK". Zobbel.de. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2015. 
  32. ^ "iTunes - Music - All My Life by Gordon Haskell". iTunes. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  33. ^ "The Collection: 18 of His Finest Songs - Gordon Haskell - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  34. ^ "Gordon Haskell - "The Road To Harry's Bar"". Muzyka.onet.pl. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 

External links[edit]