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Jimmie Haskell and His Orchestra


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Haskell got his first break in the music business through his mother, who knew Anita Steiman, who ran the publishing company for Lew Chudd, owner of Imperial Records. Steiman introduced him to Chudd, and Haskell eventually convinced Chudd to hire him. Chudd was a cut-throat operator who produced a steady stream of hits for Imperial by having Haskell copy the arrangement off of regional hits Chudd had sent to him from his network of local disc jockeys. It might not have been ethical, but as Haskell admitte later, ” knew how to make hit records.”

Among his best-known work for Imperial was with Ricky Nelson. Although Nelson is now recognized as a serious rock and roll artist, at the time he was very much under the control of his father, Ozzie. Haskell arranged and produced most of Nelson’s gold records, but Ozzie refused to give him production credits. When Nelson switched labels to Decca, he insisted on keeping Haskell as arranger, though he didn’t receive producer credits due to his continuing relationship with Imperial.
From the early 1960s to the present, Haskell has been among the premier arrangers in the business. The list of artists he’s accompanied includes many of the best-known names in pop, rock, and soul music. He’s racked up 4 Emmy nominations, 3 Grammys, and 3 Clio awards and has contributed to over 100 Gold and Platinum albums.
Haskell scored 30 films and contributed to dozens of others, including “Pulp Fiction,” “Grace of My Heart,” and “The Color Purple.” He wrote for television, working with Warren Barker and others on “Bewitched,” and wrote the themes for “The Hollywood Squares” and “The Krofft Supershow.


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