GORDON HASKELL (27 April 1946 - 15 October 2020)
After quitting King Crimson in acrimonious circumstances, Haskell continued his career as a solo artist. It Is And It Isn’t (1971) featured John Wetton and contained a song called Worms which would be later covered by Stackridge on their 1975 album Extravaganza, under the title No One’s More Important Than The Earthworm.
Though he continued to record sporadically, Haskell experienced times of great deprivation, including time spent as an entertainer on cruises, “playing to people too pissed to care”. Occasionally his King Crimson past would come back to haunt him with requests at solo shows to sing Cadence And Cascade, a song he grew to detest.
Haskell was invited to attend the annual reunion of his old ’60s group, The League Of Gentlemen. “I turned down the first one where they drank to my health like I’m sick or something but the second time I thought, well I’m really going to enjoy this with the old boys. Then Fripp comes waltzing down the passage shouting ‘Respect! Respect! Butterfly In China (Haskell’s 1996 album)’ like a lunatic. We hug each other and I say to him, ‘It’s just like the old days when we were kids,’ and he says, “Did you ever grow up?’”
When playing dates in the USA, Haskell found himself in Nashville and got in touch with Adrian Belew who had replaced Haskell’s vocal on Cadence And Cascade on the Frame By Frame boxed set. “We had a lovely chat. He told me he couldn’t do Cadence And Cascade as well as I did and I said that anybody could have done it better than me.”
Haskell hit something of a purple patch late in his career with Harry’s Bar. Released in 2002, it contained the song How Wonderful You Are which had been released the previous year and was narrowly denied the coveted Christmas Number One slot by Nicole Kidman and Robbie Williams, managed at the time by ex-King Crimson manager, David Enthoven.
Despite receiving a reputed £2.8 million advance from Warner Brothers Haskell ended up in debt to the record and management companies after his follow-up album, Shadows On The Wall (2002) failed to reach the top 30 in the UK. After being dropped by the company in 2006, Haskell published his autobiography The Road To Harry’s Bar – Forty Years On The Potholed Path To Stardom, detailing his life and treatment in the industry.
After spending several years living on the Greek island of Skopelos, he returned to the UK and released, It’s Me And You And Them And Us, and announced plans for a UK tour. Gordon, who released 13 solo albums between 1969 and 2020, released what would be the final studio record of his career, The Cat Who's Got The Cream, in January 2020. In October of that year, it was announced via his website that Gordon had died from lung cancer. He was 74.
Gordon Haskell with King Crimson
In The Wake Of Poseidon
Sailors' Tales (1970 - 1972)