Thursday, January 9, 2014

January 9: Scott Walker (Noel Scott Engel) of The Walker Brothers is 71-years-old today.

Scott Engel was known as Scotty Engel when he tried to establish himself as a "teen idol" recording star the late '50s and early '60s. Scott appeared several times under his real name on Eddie Fisher's TV show during that period and was promoted in the same vein of Fabian or Frankie Avalon.

Scott was among the first to adopt the electric bass guitar, mastering it to a proficiency to win regular session work in Los Angeles studios while still in his teens.

After playing in many bands in Los Angeles, In 1964 he joined with John Maus (John Walker) and Gary Leeds (Gary Walker) to form The Walker Brothers - even though they weren't named Walker - and they weren't brothers. Leeds had recently toured the United Kingdom with P.J. Proby and encouraged his bandmates to relocate to London. Ironically, they became a part of the "British Invasion."

The Walker Brothers arrived in London in early 1965 and attained worldwide popularity with pop ballads. The Walkers' '60s sound mixed Phil Spector's "wall of sound" techniques with symphonic orchestrations featuring Britain's top musicians and arrangers. Their first single, "Pretty Girls Everywhere," with John Maus as lead singer, made it onto the charts.

Their next single, "Love Her," featuring Scott's deep baritone, hit the British charts and executives at Philips, their UK record label, took notice of the American ex-pats.

The Walker Brothers' next release, "Make It Easy on Yourself," a Bacharach/David ballad, hit No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart (#16 in the U.S.) in August 1965. After hitting again with "My Ship Is Coming In" which hit # 3 in the U.K., the hit # 1 again (#13 U.S.) with "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" in 1966. At that point, their popularity was said to be higher than The Beatles in the UK and Europe.

(Continued below video and Amazon portals ...)

(Press album cover for direct link to the entire Amazon Website):
The Best of the Walker BrothersScott Walker: 30 Century Man

As their lead singer and principal songwriter, Scott Walker was the dominant artistic force in the group and attained pop star status. The Walker Brothers enjoyed a couple of years of massive success in the U.K. and the U.S.

Artistic differences, stress and tensions from overwhelming pop stardom led to the break-up of The Walker Brothers in 1967, although they reunited briefly for a tour of Japan the following year.

The group's last album was entitled Images. Afterwards, Scott Walker launched a hugely successful solo career in Britain built on the style that emerged in Images with a unique blend of orchestrated arrangements and lyrics about unusual subjects, including prostitutes, transvestites, suicidal brooders, plagues, and Joseph Stalin.

He added risqué recordings of Jacques Brel songs, translated by Mort Shuman - who was also responsible for the hit musical Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. Walker's own original songs of this period were influenced by Brel as he explored European musical roots while expressing his own American experience.

In 1968 Walker threw himself into intense study of contemporary and classical music, which included a sojourn in Quarr Abbey, a monastery on the Isle of Wight, to study Gregorian chant. His own songs gradually coursed into Lieder and classical musical modes.

Between 1967 -1969, his first three albums, titled Scott, Scott 2 and Scott 3, all sold in large numbers with Scott 2 topping the British charts. He became reclusive and somewhat distanced from his audience shedding his earlier teen appeal with a darker, more idiosyncratic approach that had been hinted at in songs like "Orpheus" on the Images album.

In 1969, he was given his own BBC TV series, Scott, featuring solo Walker performances of ballads, big band standards and introductions of his own and Brel compositions. By then, Scott was writing all of his material.

Although Scott 4 was considered by many to be his finest album, it was a commercial disappointment, and discouraged him from relying entirely upon his own material afterwards. It has been speculated that part of its failure might be due to Scott releasing the album under his birth name Noel Scott Engel. (Subsequent re-issues of the album have been released under his stage name.)

The '70s were a frustrating period for Walker, with sporadic record releases and a largely unsuccessful reunion with his "brothers" in the middle of the decade.

In 1984 he released the album, Climate of Hunter, that drew critical raves for a minimalism that showed him in-step with '80s rock trends. Then in 1995 he emerged again with a new album, Tilt. During the next several years, he contributed to soundtracks (To Have and to Hold, The World Is Not Enough, Pola X) and assisted with recordings by Ute Lemper and Pulp.

In October 2003, Walker was given an award for his contribution to music by Q Magazine. This award had been presented only twice before, to Phil Spector, and Brian Eno.

The release of a retrospective box set, 5 Easy Pieces, comprising five themed discs spanning Walker's work with The Walker Brothers, his solo career and two pieces composed for Ute Lemper, followed soon after.

The British independent label 4AD Records signed Walker in early 2004 and his first album in years, The Drift, was released in May 2006 to strong reviews. In 2009, the album Music Inspired by Scott Walker: 30 Century Man appeared featuring songs inspired by the film sung by such various female Walker-devotees as Laurie Anderson and others. Also in 2009, Walker sang a duet with British singer Natasha Khan (Bat for Lashes) on the song "The Big Sleep" on the album Two Suns.

Walker will write the score for the ROH2 production of Jean Cocteau’s 1932 play Duet for One which was staged in the Linbury Studio in June 2011.

Walker's new album Bish Bosch was released in December 2012.

For more about Scott, visit his Website at -


No comments:

Post a Comment