Happy Birthday to Gordon Haskell – born April 27, 1946, died October 15, 2020 | Gordon Haskell

Gordon Haskell (born in Verwood, 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.

The 1960s

During the late 1960s Haskell moved from Dorset to London and spent time on the fringes of the music scene there (for a brief period, sharing a flat with Jimi Hendrix). While playing bass in the psychedelic pop band the Fleur De Lys, Haskell recorded a few singles with the group to minimal success. 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.

The 1970s

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

Haskell subsequently auditioned for Atlantic Records head Ahmet Ertegün, 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

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.:”

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”.[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.


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. Despite limited promotion, it charted as the Christmas number two in the UK Singles Chart,[ selling 400,000 copies.

As “How Wonderful You Are” scaled the UK pop charts, the British press began to pay attention towards the story of its unsung creator. Haskell was quoted 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.

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]

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 came out in 2005 called “The Road To Harry’s Bar.” Most recently Haskell has been writing his autobiography with David Nobbs.


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


Studio albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions
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
All In The Scheme Of Things
  • Released: 11 September 2000[18]
  • Label: Wilderness Records
  • Formats: CD
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]
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.


Title Year Peak chart positions Album
“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.


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

Live albums

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

Title Album details Peak chart positions
All My Life
  • Released: 27 April 2002
  • Label: Union Square Music
  • Formats: CD, digital download[33]
The Collection: 18 of His Finest Songs
  • Released: 22 October 2002[34]
  • 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

Video albums

Title Album details
The Road To Harry’s Bar
  • Released: 7 November 2005[35]
  • Label: Metal Mind Productions
  • Formats: DVD
About the author


See my profile at www.jfmooreart.com.

Be the first to comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


Seo wordpress plugin by www.seowizard.org.