News

Scott Walker dies aged 76

Scott Walker has died aged 76, it has been confirmed. He first came to fame in the 1960s as part of The Walker Brothers with massive hit singles such as ‘Make It Easy On Yourself’ and ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’ but went on to enjoy success as a solo artist, influencing future generations of musicians in the process.

Walker’s bleak 1995 album Tilt was critically acclaimed and name-checked by artists like David Bowie (who had covered The Walker Brother’s Nite Flights on his 1993 album Black Tie White Noise). Tilt formed part one of a trilogy that was completed by 2006’s The Drift and 2012’s Bish Bosch.

In the first year of the new millennium Walker curated the Southbank’s Meltdown Festival, then produced Pulp‘s last studio album, 2001’s We Love Life. He also contributed vocals to ‘The Big Sleep’, from Bat For Lashes 2009 album Two Suns.

51 responses to Scott Walker dies aged 76

  1. Eric says:

    Does anyone knows if the soundtrack to “Vox Lux” (the digital download has been available since last december) is likely to be released in physical form?
    A reissue of the “Pola X ” soundtrack (1996) would be welcome too, as well as the ‘minor’ Mercury and Columbia LPs released between 1969 and 1974 and of course the June 2013 box set made up of “Scott 1”, “Scott 2”, “Scott 3”, “Scott 4” and “Til the Bands Comes in”…

  2. Blakey says:

    No mention of the albums from ‘Scott’ to ‘Scott 4’. Neither was his great work with Wally Stott/Angela Morley touched upon. Scott bringing Jacques Brel to a wider audience was not mentioned either. He deserves better than this. The man was a genius.

  3. -SG- says:

    R.IP.
    Brilliant artist who transcended through his scound. I appeciate all phases of his music. His influence was far reaching, beautiful and ugly. It could have been easy for him to play it safe, but he chose his own path, how can you not respect that?
    His album The Drift was the first record I really got into, gradually digging deeper. His sound followed a fascinating and strange trajectory that no one could have expected. A true original.

  4. JackC says:

    No artist other than Joni Mitchell post Hejira has given the middle finger to the audience that gave them a career than Noel Scott Engel. Neither Joni or Scott had the talent to pull off the off course nonsense they attempted. They both lost their core fan base and their sales reflected that.

    • mr_fact_checker says:

      Have you seen the chart position of Scott 4 upon release?
      You will find it hard to do so, as it didn’t chart.
      Or are you saying he lost his core audience from Scott 3 onwards?

    • kook says:

      I really don’t think I can agree with any of that.

    • Dr Volume says:

      I don’t think record sales were foremost in Scott’s mind when he was recording The Drift or Bisch Bosch or Soused. He made the records he wanted to make, he didn’t want to be a Walker Brother, duetting with Lulu or even making lush, orchestral Bedsit laments for the rest of his life and why should he? If you want to stick to his more easy listening stuff that’s your loss…but Scott or any other artist doesn’t owe it to their fan base to keep churning out the same type of material and play the hits. Some choose to do that, others still have something to say and take risks even if that means losing fans and dwindling sales.
      Fortunately there were enough fans (old and new), and a trusting record label in 4AD, that had the imagination, the open mind and ears to follow Scott Walker on his difficult, bloody minded, sometimes frustrating and sometimes exhilarating journey over the past few albums. What makes those records even more powerful is that deep down amid the atonal chaos, you can still just about recognise the artist that sang ‘Make it Easy On Yourself’.

    • David McCallum says:

      A course eulogy, JackC. I like my artists to have well-used middle fingers and, to get pedantic, they may have lost all but their core fan base. Scott had a record label at the end… Joni said she stopped making music because it was too personal.

  5. Adam says:

    Totally gutted by this, he’s probably one of the few artists that for as long as I’ve lived I’ve always heard his music playing (like Bowie or the Beatles), either my Mam playing the Walker Brothers lps and his first couple of solo LPs, or me having his late sixties/early seventies, Walker Brothers reunion through to Climate of Hunter on heavy repeat when i dived deeper in my early teens (then getting a shock when Tilt came out not long after). Then you get his late period stuff from the Drift onwards, and I honestly thought he was gonna live forever turning out staggering works of batshit gonzo every five years.

    Wonder what will happen to the album that he was working on these past few years? There’s also the seventies covers albums he refused to reissue (i have a promo cd from 1999 of Any Day Now that got cancelled before a proper reissue came out), and supposedly a raft of outtakes from the first four solo LPs, that haven’t seen the light of day bar those three that leaked out around 15 years ago from the Scott 1-2 period. Also aborted stuff from the late eighties included the session -depending on how far it went -with Eno.

    Still, we have his body of work to cherish.

    • Mark's Ism says:

      Also gutted, and as mentioned below, first Mark Hollis, then Scott Walker, where will it end?
      But at least we had them and can continue to marvel at their music, and the music of those they have influenced.

      Just replying to you Adam to say (if you didn’t know) that a number of those covers albums tracks were included on the compilation Classics & Collectibles.

      Some other stuff it would be nice to have eventually is mentioned in the 4ad post, e.g. any recordings made for Duet For One Voice. But that’s for another time, if at all.

      RIP Scott – thanks for everything.

      • Adam says:

        Yes I have the Classics and Collectables comp (one of the better ones for having rarer tracks), it just unfortunately lacks a few from both Any Day Now and The Moviegoer.

        Stretch and We Had It All (both easily the nadir of his solo work) had a two-for-one reissue in the nineties on BGO, as did Til Band Comes In, but seemingly a HDCD reissue of the latter and Any Day Now got knocked on the head when they were due out roughly the same time as Scott 1-4 in 2000. Hence my promo copy being more or less one of the few digital copies of the entire LP going.

        Pretty sure The Moviegoer has never seen a complete digital reissue. Til The Band Comes In -it’s reputation rightly reappraised -has thankfully seen quite a few releases since then, as the BGO cd used to go for a pretty penny!

        • The Moviegoer & Sings Songs From His T.V. Series were paired up on a 2-for-1 for CD reissue by Fontana in 2000. Promo copies were distributed (I have one) but the CD was not issued.

          In the same batch were Any Day Now and Til The Band Comes In. Promos were issued (again, I have them) but never issued. These albums have since received full release on CD & vinyl.

          • Adam says:

            Hi Mike, good to know about the Scott on screen promo -will have to keep an eye out for that -however I’m pretty certain that Any Day Now has never received a full reissue on either cd or vinyl (other than the aforementioned promo), although it would be great if you could point out a release I’ve missed?

          • Mike Hamilton says:

            Duh. Of course, Any Day Now has not been reissued yet. My bad.

    • I touch on the 1987 Eno sessions here. Thankfully they remained distant friends http://stevepafford.com/scottwalker/

    • Noel Fitzsimons says:

      I got a copy of that promo

      Amazing.

      Any day now – the year of the Diamond Dogs

  6. SteveP says:

    Last Thursday I decided that I was going to play “Scott” in the car on the way to work. Friday I played “Scott 2”. Over the weekend I played “Scott 3”. On Monday 25th I listened to “Scott 4” on the way to work. I was stunned by the news that he had passed away. RIP, Scott. One day I hope to go public with my version of “The Amorous Humphrey Plugg…..”

  7. Malone says:

    I didn’t get his sixties “baroque pop” at all, and I can’t stand his Jacques Brel mimicry, but latter period Scott is something else. He was a Bacon painting in word and sound. “Nose holes caked in black cocaine. Pow! Pow!” The opening line of Jesse from The Drift – his impressionistic take on the 9/11 attack on New York, told from the perspective of Elvis Presley’s still-born twin brother with his ear to the prairie. What kind of a mind configures THAT?!! No-one in rock could write such vicious, beautiful poetry as SW; no-one could articulate disgust like he did, that imperious voice looming over us like Original Sin. And now he’s abandoned us at a time when we need him most. Isn’t that typical of a god? “World about to end. World about to end. World about to end.” Cue the sound of a demented Donald Duck squawking “What’s up, Doc?” into eternity.

  8. Ian McJannet says:

    What a loss .. VERY sad ……
    But stand well back while the record company ramps up production for the re-issues !!!

  9. Mike Ragogna says:

    It’s SOOOO strange that his first 5 major classic albums–Scott, Scott 2, Scott 3, Scott 4, and Til The Band Comes In–aren’t even mentioned in this teensy obituary. Anyone reading this should absolutely check out those amazing albums of mainly original material with some of the wildest storylines and orchestrations ever recorded!!

  10. Mark Sawyer says:

    RIP Scott and respect to his family. Like many, I’ve been dreading this day. I guess I thought Scott could do a Cohen and keep going into his 80s. At least we have the music. (I agree with anyone who says Scott’s catalogue needs an overhaul, but that’s a discussion for another day.)

  11. Robert says:

    RIP Scott..
    For anyone not already familiar with Scott’s brilliant run of late ’60s albums from ‘Scott’ through ‘Scott 4’, here’s the contents of a CD compilation (80 min) I put together some years back. It hangs together nicely:

    1. It’s Raining Today
    2. Come Next Spring
    3. Two Ragged Soldiers
    4. Winter Night
    5. Rosemary
    6. Two Weeks Since You’ve Gone
    7. Sons
    8. You’re Gonna Hear From Me
    9. Copenhagen
    10. Butterfly
    11. Boy Child
    12. On Your Own
    13. The World’s Strongest Man
    14. The Old Man’s Back Again
    15. Get Behind Me
    16. Best of Both Worlds
    17. Plastic Palace People
    18. Big Louise
    19. Windows of The World
    20. The Bridge
    21. Montague Terrace (In Blue)
    22. Always Coming Back To You
    23. Through a Long and Sleepless Night
    24. The Seventh Seal

  12. Eamonn says:

    Got into him through his producing Pulp’s last album, We Love Life and loved the atmospherics he brought to songs like Trees and Wickerman.

    Always Coming Back To You and The Electrician are two of my favourite songs. The man was a myth made real.

  13. Ben Williams says:

    Sad news. I really got into Scott Walker’s music about 10 years ago. Love the lyrics to 30th Century Man. And nothing can beat the epic Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore.

  14. Gary Turner says:

    The greatest voice i have ever heard bar none! Rip mr engel

  15. poptones says:

    Big fan of his 60s albums and all his albums since Tilt in 1995 (including the Pola X soundtrack). He truly found his home with 4AD. I love the music and the artwork of his 4AD albums. Especially Drift.

    A true genius. RIP Scott Walker.

  16. PaulM says:

    Probably “not cool” to say I have never heard his later more challenging work, however Scott, Scott2, Scott3 and Scott4 are all incredible and essential and compulsory listening. I also love many of his Walker Brothers hits. What a voice, what a writer and interpreter (particularly of the great Jacques Brel). His influence on so many artists was immense.

    Farewell Scott. Onward to the fire escape in the sky.

  17. Paul Mortimer says:

    Wonderful voice, visionary muse.

    Few can evoke the emotive and cinemascopic power of song like Scott, on a par with such as Cohen and Bowie, for sure.

    The recent BBC Proms tribute concert, with such as Jarvis, John Grant, Marc Almond, Susan Sundfor backed by Jules Buckley’s magnificent Heritage Orchestra, was magnificent – and will remain a shining testament to his talent and influence.

  18. Tcf says:

    Mark Hollis. Scott Walker. My record collection is literally dying…..

    • Brad Breault says:

      I second your emotion, we’ve lost 2 great voices within a month of each other. Another artist that you want to scream their name from the rooftops to get the attention of the masses, yet want to keep close to you at the same time. And thankfully his integrity and legacy are fully intact. Rest in peace sir.

  19. Caroline says:

    Absolutely gutted. Adored his 60’s solo work and his later, more avant-garde work in equal measure. A tremendous lyricist who could convey so much in just a few lines, something undoubtedly helped by *that* voice.

    Irreplaceable.

    RIP Scott.

  20. GentleRabbit says:

    Stunned. A singular talent for the ages. Nite Flights, Big Louise, The Electrician, et al are amongst the most powerful things I’ve ever heard.

    Rest well, Scott. We shall miss you.

  21. Jim Edwards says:

    Truly devastated. Thank you for everything Scott.

  22. SIMON SMITH says:

    Just been listening to an old Radio 2 Sounds of the 70;s from 1999 with Steve Harley.
    Included was the Walker Bros No Regrets
    .Absolutely brilliant.
    Get home, check out Superdeluxe.com and read the sad news.
    Lines was another fabulous single from 1976 but not as successful as No Regrets.

  23. David Carter says:

    RIP Scott, the amount of tributes from musicians old and new just shows how deep his inspiration spread.

  24. andrew R says:

    I am saddened at his passing, an artist rather than a musician
    who like Bowie refused to be boxed in or stereotyped . A true genius
    at a time when that word is generally applied to pygmies.
    RIP Scott Engel

  25. Robert Laversuch says:

    Good man – huge loss. Very much enjoyed his early solo efforts. And Walker Bros., naturally. Have to still get his more recent efforts, will get on that. R.I.P.

  26. Fannys Doughnuts says:

    Latter work was difficult but was worth persevering. Huge influence on Bowie.

  27. kook says:

    A sad day. I’ve always loved ‘Tilt’ – the only album I’ve ever known to get a simultaneous 10/10 and 0/10 rating in the same review (Vox magazine, I think). Which sums up Scott Walker’s singular genius quite well.

  28. Thilo says:

    Sad news, I love his music, which to me always is exciting, but not easy to listen to…
    Scott is a great influencer!
    I hope you found peace, Scott Engel

  29. DogFacedBoy says:

    30th Century Man is one of my favourite music films.

    I love the classic period and the Tilt/Drift years equally . Like his pupil and equal David Bowie he was very rarely boring even when you didn’t like what he was up to.

    Oh and the bass on The Old Man’s Back Again. It’s never been made clear who played it bit I like to think it was Engel.

  30. Gert says:

    Climate of hunter is the highlight for me. Later on I explored his past projects, including the Walker brothers legacy, and was thrilled by the beautiful, very original but also strange more recent records. RIP

  31. What? Me Worry? says:

    I’m sure Scott had No Regrets. RIP

  32. Urs says:

    An immense artist who will be remembered for generations to come.

    Fingers crossed that a well curated, comprehensive box set of his whole career will see the light of day at some point. (Or several smaller sets that complement each other.)

    Rest in peace, Scott!

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