PETER JOHN \'OLLIE\' HALSALL (14 March 1949 – 29 May 1992) was an
English guitarist and vibraphone player, and is best known for his
The Rutles , the bands Timebox ,
Patto and Boxer , and for his
contribution to the music of
Kevin Ayers . He is also notable as one
of the few players of the vibraphone in rock music . He was known as
Ollie because of his distinctive way of pronouncing his surname with a
dropped 'h'. The OLLIE HALSALL
Archive was established in 1985, with
the aim of documenting and promoting the work of a unique musician.
* 1 Career
* 2 Legacy
* 3 Discography
* 4 References
* 5 External links
Ollie may not have been the best guitarist in the world, but he was
certainly among the top two. John Halsey, 1997
Halsall (ex Pete and the Pawnees, The Gunslingers, The Music
Students, all 1964, The Rhythm and Blues Incorporated, 1965), came to
London in October 1966 to play vibraphone with the pop rock outfit
Timebox (which included bassist Clive Griffiths and keyboardist
'Professor' Chris Holmes. Halsall took up guitar, they enlisted Mike
Patto on vocals and drummer 'Admiral' John Halsey .
In 1970, following the departure of Holmes, Timebox evolved into the
band Patto. They played a blend of progressive
Jazz rock featuring
Halsall's guitar work.
In 1973, Halsall left to join
Jon Hiseman 's Tempest . After less
than a year, he quit and did numerous sessions, including a track for
Kevin Ayers which led to a permanent position in Ayers' band The
Soporifics. He was briefly considered as a possible replacement for
Mick Taylor following his departure from the
Rolling Stones .
His UK session work included concerts and recordings with The
Neil Innes , Andy Roberts , Michael d\'Albuquerque
John Otway ,
John Cale and
Vivian Stanshall .
Patto staged a brief reunion comprising just three benefit
gigs. The reuniting of Halsall and
Patto sparked the formation of
Boxer during 1975. Boxer never reached its true potential, as Mike
Patto died in 1979 during the mid term of their contractual
obligations to the Virgin record label and are best remembered for
their debut album Below The Belt and its controversial sleeve design.
Somewhat ironically - since he was never fully credited - Halsall's
most commercially successful recording is his work on the album The
Rutles (1978), which reached the top 20 in the UK, on which he plays
many of the instruments and provides lead and backing vocals - most
notably on the tracks "Doubleback Alley", "With a Girl Like You" and
"Get Up and Go".
Eric Idle was cast in his place in the accompanying
film and Halsall only featured in a very minor cameo role as Leppo,
the fifth Rutle who became lost in
During 1976 Halsall had rejoined Ayers with whom he stayed for the
next sixteen years. For much of that time he frequented the town of
Deia in the north of the Spanish island of Mallorca, commuting to
Madrid on the mainland to produce and play for numerous Spanish
artistes, including his final work with
Radio Futura . In the 1980s he
was, together with vocalist Zanna Gregmar, part of a Spanish synthpop
band created by producer Julian Ruiz called Cinemaspop . They released
two albums - 'Cinemaspop' (1983), just a collection of synthpop covers
of classical movie tunes, and 'A Clockwork Orange' (1984) which
included some compositions by Halsall, as well as a bizarre electronic
The Troggs ' Wild Thing . In 1989, he replaced the ill
Enrique Sierra in
Radio Futura , another Spanish rock band.
A finished solo album, produced by
Robert Fripp , remains unreleased.
Halsall died from a drug-induced heart attack on 29 May 1992 at 43
Calle de la Amargura,
Halsall has been described as an influence by
Alvin Lee , Bill Nelson
Allan Holdsworth and
Cheap Trick 's guitarist
Rick Nielsen .
Andy Partridge cites Halsall as one of his top three influences,
saying "He made the guitar sound more like
Albert Ayler or John
Coltrane , more like a sort of fluid piano player."
* 1972 "Ollie ">
* ^ A B The
Ollie Halsall Archive
* ^ A B C Russell Hall (16 April 2012). "The Strange Case of Ollie
Halsall". Gibson - News - Lifestyle. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
* ^ "Chart Status - The Rutles". Retrieved 21 February 2013.
* ^ Sid Smith (10 July 2007). "Has Anyone Spotted The Blue