I was acting in bad faith for many years during that time I was trying to hang on. I should have stopped. I should have said, 'OK, forget it' and walked away. But I thought if I keep hanging on and making these bloody awful records It went from bad to worse The Walker Brothers reunited in to produce three albums.
However, the parent album peaked at only number 49 in the UK Albums Chart. The two singles from the next album Lines its title track , which Scott regarded as the best single the group ever released, and " We're All Alone " both failed to chart, and the album fared no better.
With the imminent demise of their record label, the Walkers collaborated on an album of original material that was in stark contrast to the country-flavoured tunes of the previous s albums. The resulting album, Nite Flights , was released in with each of the Brothers writing and singing their own compositions. The opening four songs were Scott's, the final four John's, while the middle pair were by Gary. The extremely dark and discomforting sound of Scott's songs, particularly " The Electrician ", was to prove a forerunner to the direction of his future solo work.
In spite of a warm critical reception with his contributions particularly lauded , sales figures for Nite Flights were ultimately as poor as those of Lines. The supporting tour saw the band concentrating on the old hits and ballads and ignoring the songs from their new record. Apparently now fated for a stagnant career on the revival circuit, the Walker Brothers lost heart and interest, compounded by Scott's increasing reluctance to sing live.
By the end of , now without a record deal, the group drifted apart again and Scott Walker entered a three-year period of obscurity and no releases. In , Scott Walker released his first solo album in ten years, Climate of Hunter. The album furthered the complex and unnerving approach Walker had established on Nite Flights. While based loosely within the field of s rock music and featuring guest appearances by contemporary stars Billy Ocean and Mark Knopfler , it had a fragmented and trance-like approach.
Like Nite Flights before it, Climate of Hunter was met with critical praise but low sales. Plans to tour were made but never came to fruition. A second album for Virgin was rumoured to be in the works with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois producing but was abandoned after early sessions.
Soon afterwards, Walker was dropped by the label. Walker spent the late s away from music, with only a brief cameo appearance in a Britvic TV advert alongside other s pop icons to maintain his profile.
Walker's own return to current active work was gradual and cautious. Having signed to Fontana Records , he began work on a new album. Tilt was released in , developing and expanding the working methods explored on Climate of Hunter. Variously described as "an anti-matter collision of rock and modern classical music",  as " Samuel Beckett at La Scala " and as "indescribably barren and unutterably bleak Lyrically, subject matter included the life and murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini and his relationship with Ninetto Davoli , cockfighting , the First Gulf War , a conflation of the trials of Adolf Eichmann and Caroline of Brunswick , and a man talking to the corpse of Che Guevara.
One of these, Lullaby , is only available as a bonus track on the Japanese version of the CD. In , Walker curated the London South Bank Centre 's annual summer live music festival, Meltdown , which has a tradition of celebrity curators. In October , Walker was given an award for his contribution to music by Q magazine , presented by Jarvis Cocker of Pulp.
Walker received a standing ovation at the presentation. This award had been presented only twice before, the first time to Phil Spector , and the second to 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 including film soundtrack work , and the two pieces composed for Ute Lemper, followed soon after.
Critical acclaim for the album garnered a Metacritic score of In both composition and atmosphere, The Drift was a continuation of the surreal, menacing, partially abstract approach displayed on Climate of Hunter and Tilt. It featured jarring contrasts between loud and quiet sections; instrumentation was similar to Tilt in the use of rock instruments and a large orchestra, but the album also interpolated unnerving sound effects such as the distressed braying of a donkey, a demoniac Donald Duck impression, and during a recording sequence captured on film an orchestral percussionist punching a large cut of raw meat.
Although he mentioned the possibility of touring again with a compact, five-piece band in an interview with The Wire this never transpired. Maus originally took lead vocals when they began making records in London in , but the label soon realised it was Walker's voice which should take the lead with Love Her being an instant hit.
The thick richness of Walker's voice, comparable to Andy William's and Frank Sinatra, was a gift which would stand him in great stead throughout his career.
Walker was the driving force for the band's distinctive sound, but the pressure of orchestrating the hits grew on him and in the band broke up. He said in 'I don't write songs for pleasure. I can only write when I have to — like I'm under contract, or to finish an album. Walker later shunned the limelight and released solo albums including Scott, Scott 2, Scott 3 and Scott 4.
He explored darker themes and pushed his sound into more experimental territory, taking greater risks. Walker combined songwriting with a passion for producing and worked with John Maus on his own solo project, as well as other musicians.
In at the height of his fame, Walker had his own show on the BBC called Scott, performing ballads, big band classics and his own songs. Scott Walker poses for the camera when he was working as a solo artist, his albums Scott through to Scott 4 were hailed by critics for their genius. Walker singing in April , they Walker Brothers were at one point rivalling the Beatles for fame in the United Kingdom where they were recording hits in London. Walker left with his band-mates Gary Leeds centre and John Maus right , as he moved into solo work he began pushing his compositions further and wrote music on darker themes.
Their next album failed to chart, despite Walker's belief that its title track, Lines, was the best single they ever made. After another album the men went their separate ways again, uninspired by touring and reviving their old songs. In the early s, Walker's music took a dramatic shift and he was inspired by the new rock sound of the era to make albums with a trance-like quality.
They were daring and highly acclaimed but failed to find commercial recognition. By the next decade Walker had moved towards becoming an avant-garde composer and used the backing of a full orchestra to take on subject matter including the First Gulf War, Adolf Eichmann and Che Guevara. He curated music for London South Bank Centre's annual live summer festival in and in , was awarded for his contribution to music by Q magazine.
The award had only been bestowed twice before - to Phil Spector and Brian Eno. I test him on one of the song titles. He stops to think. But it's more of a question than an answer.
Was there one moment when he can remember turning away from conventional melody? No, he says, but he remembers discovering classical music and how important that was to him. He used to play it really loud, and make comparisons with different interpretations, so I listened to a lot of rock, jazz and classical music. In the past Walker has suggested that the baritone can offer a fake emotion; a consolation too easily won.
It depends on how you use it. People do feel a warmth with baritone voices that they don't feel with others. It's like the sound you get from a cello, and people love that sound straight away. Over the years he has stripped his voice of that warmth, pared it down to what he considers its essence. I have always wondered whether he thought his voice was too beautiful; whether he began to distrust it because it could cause such feeling in others while he felt so little himself?
I think of it as another thing, another person. When it's working well I couldn't wish for anything better. But it's temperamental. Sometimes you get up and he's just not ready to go. The great thing about it is that I don't use him for ages then I can open the box and take him out, and there he is.
What he does believe is that harmony is heightened when you have to work for it. Beauty is best appreciated buried in the grotesque. And yes, he says, there is a pessimism to his work, but the chinks of life offer hope. Obvious beauty. For existence itself. True existence. It's just a feeling that it might be there. We just need to find enough silence and stillness to experience it. I tell him he reminds me of Samuel Beckett.
Despite his existential nausea, there was something strangely life-affirming about the great absurdist playwright. The cap nods, approvingly. When you take everything away, then you're reliant on yourself and you gain strength that way," he says.
Because I went through a patch when I was a leper, when nobody wanted to get near me. Doesn't he ever feel like knocking out a conventional chart-busting ballad? He looks at me as if I'm a couple of tracks short of the full playlist. The tone is mocking and he imagines the thawed man waking to meet Charles De Gaulle.
No one thinks of Chekhov as a comic writer, but he certainly thought he was. Who knows? This was much more a solo album than any before, with 10 self-written songs and three from the pen of Jacques Brel. Overall, Walker said he was dissatisfied with the album. Scott Walker is one of the greatest singers of all time. The descriptions of a shabby apartment house are laid out in detail, as well as the oddball characters.
Walker had an aversion to celebrity and fan hysteria and spent a week in a monastery in The Walker Brothers spotted its potential and released a version with a faster tempo that shot to the top of the charts in the UK.
The Walker Brothers were so big that year that they even eclipsed the success of The Beatles for a time. Its place in popular culture was cemented by the fact that it was playing on the jukebox when Ronnie Kray murdered George Cornell in The Blind Beggar pub in London.
The essential contrast in his lates albums is between easy-listening music and forbiddingly difficult subject matter. It's a dichotomy that has always made Walker seem more like an outsider artist than a mainstream one. It's also fodder for a case that Walker was "subversive," an accolade for alternative-music fans who, especially now, can recast him as some kind of mole inside the machine, exposing the innocent people of Britain to material that would make their middle-class spines shiver.
This isn't untrue. But it also smoothes over the fact that the Scott albums are different pieces of music that leave different impressions. Any attempt to lump them together is more a matter of laziness or historical convenience than anything else.
If you look at the credits from Scott onward, what you see, essentially, is Walker taking over the show: on Scott , he wrote three songs among its 12, the rest covers; by Scott 4 , he wrote them all.
Walker's choice of covers essentially falls into two camps: Easygoing heartbreak music and songs by the Belgian writer Jacques Brel. The latter's impact on Walker can't be understated: Walker covered him nine times on his first three albums, and some of the most elegant expressions of Walker's romantic but poisoned worldview are his.Feb 08, · This package commences with their two best-known songs which is fine with me since they are my favorite Walker Brothers hits. There are several other great songs on this collection as well but I would have preferred having those tunes (about 14 songs) on a single disc. John Maus was a very good singer but Scott was exceptional. His "no /5(20).