Jimmie Haskell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jimmie Haskell (born Sheridan Pearlman;[citation needed] November 7, 1926 – February 4, 2016) was an American composer and arranger for motion pictures and a wide variety of popular artists, including Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Steely Dan, Billy Joel, and the Everly Brothers.[1][2][3][4] His career spanned over six decades.[5]


Haskell was born in Brooklyn, New York. He entered the music business in the 1950s doing arrangements for Imperial Records. His first professional arrangement was a chart of "Nature Boy", sold to Lionel Hampton.[6] He became the arranger of choice for Ricky Nelson, arranging and producing around 75 records for the artist, including such hits as "There's Nothing I Can Say" and "Hello Mary Lou". In 1960, he accompanied Elvis Presley on accordion on the "G.I. Blues" soundtrack.[7] Almost four decades later, he provided arrangements on Sheryl Crow's album The Globe Sessions.

In 1960, Haskell entered the motion picture soundtrack industry as an uncredited orchestrator for Dimitri Tiomkin's The Alamo. The following year he composed his first score, Love in a Goldfish Bowl. His composition "The Silly Song" became the theme song of American television's The Hollywood Squares. He composed a variety of film scores such as A.C. Lyles' Westerns and arranging "Weird Al" Yankovic's title song for Spy Hard.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Haskell was the arranger of choice for The Grass Roots.[8] He arranged the signature string section on Chicago's song "If You Leave Me Now", for which he won a Grammy award, and also provided horn and string arrangements for Blondie's 1980 album Autoamerican, including for the US and UK No. 1 hit "The Tide Is High". In the mid-1970s, Haskell worked with the band Steely Dan, providing orchestration on their 1974 album Pretzel Logic and arrangements and horn on their 1975 album Katy Lied.[9] In 2009, well into his eighties, he provided "a lovely, understated string arrangement" on David Rawlings' album A Friend of a Friend.[10]

In addition to composing and arranging, Haskell would often act as conductor and selected the musicians used.[11]

His birthday is widely reported as 1936 because he lied about his age, figuring he would get more work if people thought he was younger. A statement from his daughter published by The Musicians Union of Los Angeles gives the correct birthday in 1926.[12]


Haskell was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Special (Dramatic Underscore) for See How She Runs (1978) and has received two other nominations. He was awarded Grammies for his arrangements of "Ode to Billie Joe" recorded by Bobbie Gentry, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" recorded by Simon and Garfunkel, and "If You Leave Me Now" recorded by Chicago.[13]

Selected filmography[edit]

Television scores[edit]


  1. ^ "Only the good die young: Jimmie Haskell revisits hit records with Rick Nelson | by Jeremy Roberts | Medium". January 18, 2022.
  2. ^ "LondonJazz: TRIBUTE: Jimmie Haskell (1936- 2016)". Londonjazznews.com. 2016-02-07.
  3. ^ "Jimmie Haskell". IMDb.com. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  4. ^ Jimmie Haskell website, Jimmiehaskell.com. Accessed January 31, 2023.
  5. ^ "Jimmie Haskell discography - RYM/Sonemic". Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  6. ^ "Jimmie Haskell". tims.blackcat.nl. Retrieved January 31, 2023.
  7. ^ "Only the good die young: Jimmie Haskell revisits hit records with Rick Nelson | by Jeremy Roberts | Medium". January 18, 2022.
  8. ^ "Jimmie Haskell memories of The Grass Roots", The-grassroots.com, retrieved 2014-08-29
  9. ^ "Jimmy Haskell Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  10. ^ "Dave Rawlings Machine: A Friend of a Friend - PopMatters". www.popmatters.com. Archived from the original on 2019-01-25.
  11. ^ Billboard - Google Books. 1974-05-04. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
  12. ^ "Final Note: Jimmie Haskell". afm47.org. 2016-02-26.
  13. ^ Los Angeles (2004-08-27). "Jimmie Haskell: The Man Behind the Music - 2004-08-27 | News | English". Voanews.com. Retrieved 2012-02-20.

External links[edit]