Former King Crimson singer and bassist Gordon Haskell has died aged 74

Gordon Haskell, former King Crimson bassist and singer, has died
(Image credit: James Emmett/Redferns)

Former King Crimson singer and bass player Gordon Haskell died aged 74 on October 16.

His passing was announced on his official Facebook page, which read, “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.”

No cause of death has been revealed.

Haskell began his music career as a bassist in the British psychedelic pop-rock band The Fleur De Lys (while living in London, he also reportedly shared a flat with Jimi Hendrix). The group was later hired as a as a full-time session band for Atlantic Records, which led Haskell to work with artists like Isaac Hayes and producers like Glyn Johns and Arif Mardin. He also recorded a solo album, Sail in My Boat, in 1969.

Haskell had also played bass on occasion for his school friend Robert Fripp’s pre-King Crimson teenage band, the League of Gentlemen, and when Greg Lake left Crimson in 1970, Fripp drafted him to fill the slot as bassist and singer. 

He handled lead vocals on Cadence and Cascade, from 1970's In the Wake of Poseidon, and contributed vocals and bass to the follow-up album, Lizard, released that same year.

But creative differences, in particular Haskell’s preference for R&B over the prog-rock at the heart of Crimson’s sound, led to his acrimonious exit from the band in September, 1970.

A tribute post on King Crimson's official Facebook page following Haskell’s death made reference to this fact: "Gordon Haskell's Facebook page is reporting that Gordon has died,” it read. “His time in KC wasn't a particularly happy part of his long career but his work on In the Wake of Poseidon and in particular, Lizard is much admired in the Crimson community."

Haskell later sued Crimson for royalties he believed he was owed from his work on Poseidon and Lizard.

Following his time in Crimson Haskell enjoyed a long solo career. He recorded a dozen studio albums, beginning with It Is and It Isn't, which was released on Atlantic Records in 1971 and featured a guest appearance from future King Crimson bassist John Wetton.

In 2001 he scored an unlikely hit with the single How Wonderful You Are, which reached No. 2 in the UK charts and sold more than 400,000 copies.

His most recent effort was 2020’s The Cat Who’s Got the Cream, which he called the “the best album of my life in every way” in an interview with It's Psychedelic Baby magazine earlier this year.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.