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Gordon Haskell

Information

Available as :  Solo or as a band.

Fee: Depending on set requirements and duration

Set length: Any duration up to 2 hours.

Style: Folk, Jazz, Blues, Rock

Sounds like: A brilliant mix of Bill Withers and James Taylor with the feel of J.J. Cale

Comments: Can do an original set

Available from June 2015

Biography

Gordon Haskell has been a musician and singer/songwriter for 50 years. He was born in a nursing home near Bournemouth, Dorset UK on April 27th 1946. His young mother had been widowed in 1943 when her husband Wing Commander Walter Ralph Haskell was shot down, leaving her with two small children. His father Harry Hionides was an American Greek pilot in the US Air force, who swept her off her feet at a local dance – where very aptly a jazz trio were playing. Gordon would not discover that Harry Hionides was his father until he was a teenager.

At a very young age Gordon was naturally drawn to music. He would play the family piano and pick out tunes on his sister’s boyfriend’s acoustic guitar. During his last years at Wimborne Grammar School his class mate Robert Fripp introduced him to the bass guitar and the two friends played together in The Ravens and the first incarnation of The League of Gentlemen. They played in youth clubs, small clubs and small village hall dances for two years up to leavingschool. School days for the classmates over, Robert went into his father’s estate agency as anapprentice and then onto business college. Gordon continued his apprenticeship in music and reformed The League of Gentlemen for a short time before being asked to join the Dowlands as bass player and began to earn some money as a musician.

In 1965 Gordon joined the Southampton group The Fleur des Lys, who were signed to ImmediateRecords in London. They gigged all over the country and spent a month playing in Germany. When they returned home they recorded and released the single ‘Circles’ produced by Glyn Johns and moved to London full time, where they became a session band for Atlantic (Stax) Records and were coached by Booker T & the MGs and worked with some of the greatest names in music. In 1967 The Fleur des Lys, with Gordon, Bryn Haworth and Keith Guster appeared on John Peel’s ‘Top Gear’ alongside Traffic, Procol Harum and Cream. Gordon had by this time started to write his own songs, one of which entitled ‘Lazy Life’ was covered by William E and topped the South African charts at no1. It also became a hit in Australia covered by Heart and Soul and reached the no2 spot in 1969. Radio Caroline DJ Johnnie Walker made ‘Lazy Life’ record of the week and Billy Fury also covered the song in 1984.

In 1968 Gordon was offered £45 a week to play bass for The Flowerpotmen and he sadly left his Fleur des Lys family, but his brothers in the band have remained among his closest friends to this day. During this time he also played bass for Cupids Inspiration before completing his first album as a Singer/songwriter in 1969 for CBS.‘Sail in my Boat’ became record of the week on BBC Radio 1 and Wanda Arletti a young girl singer covered a song from the album entitled ‘Zanzibar’ which gave Gordon his second no1 in South Africa. 1970 arrived and with it came the worst 9 months of his career. Gordon had done a vocal overdub of ‘Cadence and Cascade’ for his old school friend Robert Fripp, who was under huge pressure to reform his band King Crimson. He asked Gordon to join the band as a full member on bass and as lead singer, but Gordon didn’t feel that he was musically compatible with Robert’s ideas and style and so declined. Robert soon asked him again and in a moment of bad judgement, a lot of nudging from his then wife Sally and his loyalty to his old school chum Gordon said yes. He stayed with the band long enough to never live it down (which actually was was only 9 months!) Robert and Gordon were at opposite ends of the musical spectrum and Gordon’s personal and musical integrity would not allow him to stay. And from that day to this he has never sold his soul. It is also interesting to note that to date 23 members have left the band, which would seem distinctly unharmonious?

Now 25 and armed with his own songs and an acoustic guitar Gordon was asked back to Atlantic Records and was signed by the president Ahmet Ertegun. Ahmet was the most respected man in the industry at that time having signed such greats as Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles. It was 1971 and the album was ‘It is and It Isn’t’, which was an inspired title given that Gordon’s signing to Atlantic coincided with the corporate takeover of the entire music industry . The album reached No8 in the Luxembourg top 20 and Gordon completed a solo promotional tour for the album including two gigs at the Rainbow in London as well as opening for Mountain, Stackridge who had covered ‘Worms’ and Wishbone Ash. But the time wasn’t yet right for Gordon to be a full time solo artist and so he returned to his beloved bass playing with various bands and artists including  Cliff Richard, Alvin Lee, Tim Hardin, Jim Russell and Hiroshi Kato. These collaborations took him to Holland, Japan and America. In 1979 he signed to RCA for twoyears as a songwriter.

Gordon was now concentrating seriously on his writing and in 1982 whilst working on a project with Hansa Records he wrote a beautiful song called ‘Benny’. Sadly the record was never released as the record company went bankcrupt. He continued writing and recording and aseries of demos from this time were picked up and later released by Voiceprint as the album ‘It’s Just a Plot to Drive you Crazy’. Which in retrospect is highly predictive. In 1984 Gordon started his career as a solo live act, and travelled to Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden playing a circuit of bars, clubs and cruise ships seven nights a week. The work was gruelling, but the strength required to endure it gave Gordon his smooth, worldly rich voice and unique guitar style which would develop over the long haul. His popularity and the warmth he supplied to the Arctic Circle meant he was booked back again and again over nearly 14 yrs.

In 1989 during a well earned rest Gordon started his own label Wilderness Records and released the album ‘Hambledon Hill’ which achieved airplay and was highly rated. Judy Boucher covered a song from the album called ‘Almost Certainly’ which became a no 1 once again in South Africa. His next break from the ice produced his album ‘Butterfly in China’ in 1996 and having completed his marathon of the Arctic Circle he started to build up a circuit of gigs in the south of England. He released ‘All in the Scheme of Things’ in 1999 by which time he had established himself with a regular circuit of gigs seven nights a week. Gordon was now a true musician of the people, with his own unique warmth, humour, soothing golden voice and guitar style complete with his own guitar tapping and foot stomping percussion. His album ‘Look Out’ was released in 2001 and then came ‘How Wonderful You Are’ and Gordon was heard by a much wider audience. The single became the most requested record on Radio 2 and reached no 2 in the 2001 Christmas chart. Gordon was the people’s choice but not the choice of the corporates. Consequently No 1 wouldn’t be for him. Former Chairman of Warner Music Rob Dickens CBE told Gordon at the time ‘You have turned the music industry upside down’ His album ‘Harrys Bar’ also reached no 2 in the 2002 album chart and charted all over Europe. ‘Shadows on the Wall’ followed in 2002 and ‘The Lady Wants to Know’ in 2004. He then took a break from songwriting and wrote his autobiography The Road to Harry’s Bar before following an instinctive pull he had had all his life, and moved to Skopelos in 2007.

In 2010 Gordon released his politically motivated album ‘One Day Soon’ aptly written in the country where politics were invented. He has a new album of songs from which comes his new single ‘I’m Letting Everybody Know’ which was released in the UK on January the 5th 2015.

He will continue to write for as long as he has something to say and a message to share.

Email richard@musicindustrykey.com for prices and further information.

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