Gordon Haskell Biography

27 April 1946, Bournemouth, Dorset, England. Somewhat of a journeyman musician, Haskell began his career by playing the length and breadth of the UK in pubs, clubs and holiday camps. After serving his musical apprenticeship, he broke into the mainstream when he was hired as bass player and vocalist with the League Of Gentleman, which supported various R&B outfits in the USA during the 60s. During this time Haskell also played bass guitar for touring artists including Otis Redding and Cliff Richard. As well as being a bass player for hire, Haskell worked with Liverpool-based band the Quotations and later in the decade the psychedelically inclined Les Fleur De Lys and Cupid’s Inspiration.

During the late 60s Haskell was also compiling a solo career for himself, signing a major label recording contract with CBS Records and releasing the singles ‘Boat Trip’ and ‘Oo La Di Doo Da Day’ and an album, Sail In My Boat, in 1969. It was after this modicum of success that his former League Of Gentleman colleague Robert Fripp invited Haskell to supply vocals for the latest incarnation of King Crimson. Despite performing on one song for 1970’s In The Wake Of Poseidon and appearing on most of the follow-up Lizard, Haskell never performed live for the band and left before the release of the latter album. He recorded an excellent solo set with Atlantic Records’ soul luminary Arif Mardin, 1972’s It Is And It Isn’t, and continued to work with artists such as Van Morrison, Alvin Lee and Cliff Richard.

During the late 70s, Haskell quietly moved away from the spotlight, relocating to Scandinavia and playing small gigs while recovering from the break-up of his marriage. It was not until the late 80s that Haskell, by now based back in his native Dorset, began recording again. His fortunes were restored when the Voiceprint label not only expressed interest in reissuing his old recordings, but financed 1993’s new studio album It’s Just A Plot To Drive You Crazy. A series of low-key folk rock albums followed throughout the decade including a belated release for a projected album for RCA Records recorded in 1979.

In the winter of 2001 Haskell signed with the Flying Sparks label and recorded Look Out. The album included the delightfully mellow love song ‘How Wonderful You Are’, which owing to the support of several disc jockeys went on to become the most requested record in BBC Radio 2’s history, selling over 150, 000 copies prior to release. The single reached number 2 on the UK charts but was pipped to the Christmas number 1 slot by Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman’s duet, ‘Something Stupid’. Look Out was re-released in 2002 with new artwork and a new title, Harry’s Bar. Haskell’s commercial renaissance has subsequently faded although he continues to please his loyal fanbase with regular studio albums.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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