Of the original trio, only Alex Hassilev remains a Limeliter. Founding member Glenn Yarbrough left the group in the 1960s to pursue a successful solo career ("Baby the Rain Must Fall") and the other original Limeliter, Lou Gottlieb, passed away in July of 1996.
Alex Hassilev was born on July 11, 1932 in Paris, France, of Russian parents and educated at Harvard and the University of Chicago. He is an accomplished actor with many films and television appearances to his credit. Alex is also an unusually gifted musician, switching from the guitar to the banjo with the ease of a master. This plus his robust baritone voice are two reasons why, in the words of one critic, "the three voices and three instruments sound like twenty." As the Limeliters themselves have matured, so Alex now can produce a fantastic full-fledged Russian basso.
Alex speaks fluent French, Russian and Spanish, and has contributed many foreign language songs to The Limeliters' repertoire.
When the Limeliters first broke up at the height of their fame in 1963, Alex Hassilev turned to acting and operating a recording studio in his home, producing records for a variety of other artists as well as the Limeliters. He appeared in the 1966 movie "The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming" as Hrushevsky, a Soviet sailor. Today he continues to produce many of The Limeliters' recordings.
"Folk music has always happened [been popular] in America." Hassilev says. "The problem is the establishment has never been comfortable with folk music, for reasons that should be obvious from what's being sung, the topics being covered." Alex's song, "A Hundred Men" is an example of the anti-war spirit that is an example of what makes folk music so topical.Alex has served as longest-running core of The Limeliters, with great charm and presence. After 47 years in 2006 Alex Hassilev announced he is retiring. He will still make occasional appearances with the Limeliters® (including a Mexican Riviera Cruise in April of 2007). As of 2006, Andy Corwin, Mack Bailey and newest member Gaylan Taylor, will be carrying on the Limeliter® name and tradition.
Last update: November 6, 2006