Gordon Haskell, Unhappy Ex-Member of King Crimson, Dies

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Gordon Haskell in an undated photo via his Facebook page

Gordon Haskell, a British rock musician for over five decades, including a brief, unhappy tenure with King Crimson, died October 16, 2020, at age 74. His death was announced on Oct. 18 on his Facebook page. No cause of death was revealed.

From his website: Haskell joined the Southampton (U.K.) group the Fleur des Lys in 1965. After touring the U.K. and Germany, they recorded and released the single “Circles” (produced by Glyn Johns) and moved to London full-time where they became a session band for Stax Records where they were coached by Booker T & the MG’s.

In 1967 the Fleur des Lys – Haskell, Bryn Haworth and Keith Guster – appeared on John Peel’s Top Gear alongside Traffic, Procol Harum and Cream. By this time, Haskell had started to write his own songs…one of which, “Lazy Life,” has been covered by many artists.

In 1968, Gordon was offered £45/week to play bass for the Flower Pot Men and he left Fleur des Lys. He recorded his first album as a singer-songwriter in 1969.

In his bio, Haskell describes 1970 as the worst nine months of his career. He had completed a guest vocal overdub of “Cadence and Cascade” for his old school friend Robert Fripp, who was under huge pressure to reform his band King Crimson.

Fripp asked Haskell to join the band as a full member on bass and as lead singer but Haskell didn’t feel that he was musically compatible with Robert’s ideas and style, so he declined. Fripp persisted and in a moment of bad judgment, he said “yes,” playing bass and singing on their album, Lizard. After just nine months, the pair were at opposite ends of the musical spectrum and Haskell departed the band.

The bio notes Haskell remains curious as to why some 23 members to date have left the band – distinctly unharmonious.

Haskell continued a solo career for decades. However, it wasn’t until a 2002 album, Harry’s Bar, that he achieved significant success. Both the album and a single, “How Wonderful You Are,” both reached #2 in the U.K.

The announcement of his passing simply noted, “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.”

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