Perhaps one of the most overlooked pop forces
in the 1960s, singer/songwriter/bassist Scott Walker spent years
building a successful rock trio and a remarkable and long-lasting
solo career, paving the way for melancholic British pop lords well
before Morrissey's scowl brought the Smiths into the spotlight.
Born Scott Engel in California in 1943, Walker was the only child
of a rich oil tycoon and a housewife mother. His mother divorced
his father while Walker was still in high school, moving the family
to Hollywood. Forced to finish school there, Walker embraced the
theatrics of the community; a true lover of art, drama and music.
He began forming bands and playing bass in small clubs, eagerly
seeking a break. Finally, he formed the Walker Brothers with Gary
Leeds and John Maus. They were never brothers, never Walkers and
definitely not British, yet they headed to the U.K. in 1965 and
plunged themselves deep into the sounds of the British
Despite the fact that the British were
still deeply entrenched in Beatlemania and the hype surrounding the
Rolling Stones, the Walker Brothers gained their share of commercial
success with two Top 10 singles, "Make It Easy On Yourself" and "Sun
Ain't Gonna Shine."
When the band called it quits
in the late '60s, Walker refused to give up.He immediately embarked
on a solo career beginning with remakes of the French troubadour
Jacques Brel. He translated the songs and made them his own, while
also discovering his songwriting talents. He released Scott,
Scott 2 and Scott 3, back to back, and the critics
Still unable to come to terms with life in the public eye, Walker's
drinking continued along with a growing hatred of performing live.
By the time he released his fourth solo album, fans had given up and
the record proved to be a disaster that would last well into the
A series of cover albums, westerns and show tunes appeared
in the early '70s and did nothing to rekindle Walker's popularity.
Leeds and Maus had failed miserably on their solo endeavors, and in
1975, sought a Walker Brothers reunion. Walker agreed and the trio
earned a Top Five single with "No Regrets." No Regrets,
Lines and Nite Flites were soon released, but never
gained the commercial success of their previous recordings.
1980, the Walker Brothers had once again disbanded, leaving Walker
on his own. His talents were in great demand as Brian Eno and David
Bowie urged him to collaborate with them. However, Walker declined
and headed into isolation until 1984 when he released the powerfully
rendered singles on Climate of Hunger. He later agreed to
work with Eno and Bowie, but never preformed in public again.