In Memoriam: Gordon Haskell
More sad news to report: Former King Crimson bassist and singer Gordon Haskell has passed away from cancer. He was 74 years old.
“It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Gordon, a great musician and a wonderful person who will be sadly missed by so many,” his Facebook page posted.
Haskell was born in Dorset, England and was a high school friend to King Crimson founder Robert Fripp. The two played together in the mid-60s, but Haskell moved to London and joined the psychedelic pop group Fleur De Lys. The band was hired by Atlantic Records as a full-time session band with Haskell playing bass and singing. It was here he connected with important producers of the time including Glyn Johns, Arif Mardin, and George Martin. He would release a solo album to little acclaim.
In 1970, Fripp asked him to join the lineup for King Crimson after original bassist/vocalist Greg Lake quit. He sang on one song for In the Wake of Poseidon and played and sang for the entirety of Lizard. However, Haskell’s musical tastes of folk and blues did not gel with the progressive and aggressive direction the band was heading in. He left the group in the same year.
Haskell then launched his solo career with 1971’s It Is and It Isn’t, which would feature future Crimson bassist John Wetton on the low end. He spent the next 30 years releasing music with little to no commercial success. That all changed in 2001 when he scored a surprise hit with “How Wonderful You Are.” It scaled the UK pop charts and reinvigorated his music career.
The session featured Peter Stroud on acoustic bass guitar. “As a band with Sam Kelly on drums and guitarist Robbie Macintosh and Paul Yeung on sax, we appeared as a ‘seasoned’ band of musos on Top Of The Pops, but maybe slightly unknown enough (!) to stop Robbie Williams reaching number one pre Christmas,” Stroud told us via email. “Gordon managed the number two spot, not too bad at all! I believe he played bass at some point in Cliff Richards band too. He had a wry sense of humor and was always a pleasure to work alongside.” Haskell’s latest album, The Cat Who’s Got the Cream, was released earlier this year.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Gordon Haskell.