Ignored Obscured Restored
The enigmatic Scott Walker died on Friday, March 22nd, although the news was not released until this week. Walker, who achieved more fame and fortune in the UK than here at home in the US, cultivated a 40-year career in three distinct phases.
The first was with his band, The Walker Brothers. They were sort of a mid-‘60s version of a boy band and had a couple of hits here and in the UK. “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” is a classic that often draws comparisons to the hits of the Righteous Brothers.
Starting in 1967, Walker released four solo albums, creatively titled Scott, Scott 2, Scott 3, and Scott 4. In this period, Walker moved toward a more crooning style of music featuring a mix of originals and covers – frequently favoring songs written by Jacques Brel.
“Jackie” was the lead track from Scott 2. It was written by Brel and was released as a single in late 1967.
Lyrics that referenced “authentic queers and phony virgins,” bordellos, whiskey, and opium, especially in ’67, made clear that Walker’s teen idol days were behind him.
Later, in the ‘90s, Walker moved even farther out of the mainstream and recorded works that would most aptly be described as avant-garde. This became increasingly evident with each album, culminating with his final release, Bish Bosch (2012).
A wonderful documentary of Walker’s career – Scott Walker – 30th Century Man – was released in 2006. It is available for rent on YouTube, Google Play and Amazon Prime. It is worth checking out.
David Bowie was the executive producer of the documentary. He often professed his admiration for Walker. Influence on Bowie’s more experimental recordings such as his final release, Blackstar, can be traced directly back to Walker – musically and the vocal style of their similarly matched baritone voices.
Enjoy… until next week.