(the Godlike genius of scott walker)
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An intentionally spotty and quick Scott Walker
Scott Engel was born in Hamilton, Ohio, on January 9, 1944 (if
the bios on the back of record sleeves are to be believed.) He assumed the last name
"Walker" when joining The Walker Brothers, and the LP "Introducing..."
featured the hit track "Make It Easy On Yourself."
Other hits, such as "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore"
came, and when the Brothers disbanded, Scott went solo...and subsequently dropped
off the American radar.
Note the "American" qualifier, for Scott was enormous in his adopted home
of Britain. When his debut, titled simply "Scott," was released, it went
to Number Two...kept from the top spot by the fluke novelty record "Sgt. Pepper's
Lonely Hearts Club Band."
When the follow up, imaginatively titled "Scott 2" was released, there
was no Billy Shears in the way...it hit Number One. Scott then released...what else?.."Scott
3," which hit...well...Number Three.
And then...nothing. Well, not nothing, actually: "Scott 4" was his greatest
work to date. But the record buying public took no notice...maybe because there were
none of the Jacques Brel covers that Scott had become known for, maybe because he
had reverted to his given name Scott Engel, or maybe because the record buying public
were/are fickle swine who wouldn't know genius if it walked up to them on the street
and pounded them on the forehead with a sledgehammer.
But I digress. After the (purely commercial, I assure you) failure of "Scott
4," Mr. Engel once again became Mr. Walker, and the mostly brilliant "Til
The Band Comes In" (mostly because of the pedestrian covers all squished together
at the end of the record) was an attempt to recapture the record buying public. Sadly,
it was unsuccessful, and Scott Walker began releasing profoundly unremarkable records
consisting entirely of other people's songs. There were two Walker Brothers reunion
LPs: the thoroughly uninteresting "No Regrets," and "Nite Flights."
"Nite Flights" has four amazing Scott songs (One of which, the title track,
was covered by David Bowie on his "Black Tie/White Noise" LP.) The rest
of the LP is ungood.
Cut to 1981, when Julian Cope (at the height of his hipster influence) releases "Fire
Escape In The Sky: The Godlike Genius Of Scott Walker." Interest is predictably
Then, in 1983, Scott releases "Climate Of Hunter." Moody, dark, and downright
inaccessable, it is nonetheless the sound of Scott picking up where the good half
of "Til The Band Comes In" left off. (At this point, I feel the need to
mention that fans of the Walker Brothers' material are completely off the map...actually,
since "Nite Flights." Scott has adopted a thoroughly dark and abrasive
outlook which is the polar opposite of the lush pop of earlier efforts.)
Then nothing for twelve years. "Tilt" comes out in yet another resurgance
of interest, and reactions are mixed, to say the least. Some consider it a waste
of time, others (yours truly included) consider it one of the greatest records ever
made. My friend Zach put it best: "After I listen to it, everything else seems
like mere entertainment."
And here we are now. Scott has released a single, "I Threw It All Away,"
from the film "To Have And To Hold." It is a return to his torchier material,
which may or may not be attributable to the involvement of three of the Bad Seeds
(Nick Cave included.)
So far as personal material, frankly, I'm not interested. Mr. Walker unambiguously
desires his privacy, and I have no interest in thwarting him. Besides, his music
is based on a powerful, mythic draw, and digging for things like his favorite movie
or ice cream would only spoil that for me. If it wouldn't for you, check out the
links below: there's a plethora of information out there.
Some notes...Lasse Yngvesson was good enough to send me a copy
of "Climate Of Hunter," for
which I am eternally grateful. Thanks again, Lasse!
Click on the record that interests you...and thanks to Burk
Sauls, there's a page for The Walker Brothers' "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore"
LP. (Burk also runs a site that's unrelated to Scott, but is worth visiting...http://wm3.org.) Burk has also transcribed many
lyrics (which are highligted in their individual albums of residence.) If you're
looking for some that aren't there, check out Timi
Hagelburg's Lyrics Page.
Nilsson Martin was nice enough to inform me of a page
by a certain Mr. Chris Walter, who took photos for Scott
If you're looking for any of these Scott releases, might I humbly
suggest trying here...
Walker Brothers Stuff, Etc...
Join The Scott Walker Mailing List! Click here and put the word "subscribe" in
the message body.
A great lyrics page, by Timi Hagelburg.
A page by one Mr. Chris Walter,
who took the photos for "Scott 3."
(Thanks to Nilsson Martin for pointing this out for me.)
The lyrics on this site were transcribed by Burk
Sauls...he runs a site unrelated to Scott, but which is nonetheless worth checking out.
Scott stuff is hard to come by at the moment, but
I'd try here.
Other Scott Sites
A fan page (Thanks to Lee
Moore for tracking this down.)
Another fan page on xoom.com.
Yet another fan page.
Yet another fan page (it's getting
crowded out there!)
A Razor And Tie page for "It's Raining
A "Rough Guide" entry for Scott.
A Walker Brothers page.
Another Walker Brothers page.
One more Walker Brothers page.
The Ultimate Band List Pages for Scott and The Walker Brothers.
To Sandra Jenkinson, for running "Walkerpeople"
and keeping the flame
alive (and correcting my dumb mistakes!)
Lasse Yngvesson, for sending me copies of "Climate
Of Hunter" and
"Nite Flights" when all hope seemed lost!
Paul Bearer, for sliding me the cassette copy of
Burk Sauls, for transcribing the lyrics you see
Mr. Chris Walter, for taking the photos for "Scott
3," and keeping
me up to date on his page...
Lee Moore and Nilsson Martin for pointing me to
David Bates, without whom we just might be talking
purely in the past tense.
And, naturally, Scott, John, and Gary.
Did I miss anything? Let me know.
Back to my main page.