Scott Walker Dead at 76
Scott Walker, who started out as singer with the Walker Brothers before establishing a reputation as a solo artist, died at the age of 76 on March 25, his record label confirmed.
“For half a century, the genius of the man born Noel Scott Engel has enriched the lives of thousands, first as one third of the Walker Brothers, and later as a solo artist, producer and composer of uncompromising originality,” 4AD said in a statement. “[A]udacious and questioning, he has produced works that dare to explore human vulnerability and the godless darkness encircling it.”
The Walker Brothers formed in 1964, and also featured John Walker and Gary Walker – real surnames Maus and Leeds respectively. They’re best remembered for their hit singles “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore).”
The Walker Brothers – “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)”
In 1976 Walker went solo, releasing 10 albums including Scott, Scott 2, Scott 3 and Scott 4 before the Walker Brothers reunited. Afterwards he returned to solo work, becoming increasingly more unconventional as time went by, with 1995’s Tilt and 2006’s The Drift notable successes. He collaborated with artists including Nick Cave, Sunn O))) and Bat For Lashes. His most recent release was the soundtrack to 2018 movie Vox Lux.
“I can rate them, the albums, as I go along,” Walker told the Guardian in 2018. “Not the early ones, because I’ve no idea any more, but I can say the success rate of, say, Tilt, was about – from what I wanted to get – 65%. And then the next album was 75%, and on and on until I hit Soused [his 2014 album with Sunn O)))], which was pretty perfect.”
He added: “I have to believe in what I’m doing. That’s the main thing. I know they did a Prom this summer, where they did my more accessible music. I realise how many people really like that. And I don’t hate those four albums at all. But it’s just that I’m in a different area now, and I’m not going to draw those kind of crowds. … I am writing for myself, but I’m writing for everyone else too.”
Scott Walker and Sunn O))) – “Brando”
Among those who acknowledged his influence were David Bowie, Radiohead, Baroness, Opeth and Steven Wilson. Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke tweeted: “So very sad to hear that Scott Walker has passed away, he was a huge influence on Radiohead and myself, showing me how i could use my voice and words. Met him once at Meltdown, such a kind gentle outsider. He will be very missed.” The band’s producer, Nigel Godrich, called Walker “truly one of the greats” while Scottish musician Midge Ure described him as “the man with the mahogany voice.”
“From teen idol to cultural icon, Scott leaves to future generations a legacy of extraordinary music,” 4AD said. “[A] brilliant lyricist with a haunting singing voice, he has been one of the most revered innovators at the sharp end of creative music, whose influence on many artists has been freely acknowledged.” Walker is survived by his partner Beverley, daughter Lee and granddaughter Emmi-Lee.