“The music has to be as interesting. It has to keep taking you into places that you’re at least not used to.”—Scott Walker
Scott Walker, the pioneering singer-songwriter, composer and record producer, has influenced popular and alternative music for decades.
Walker, with an uncompromising style and burning desire to create the unusual, was particularly well known for his distinctive singing style and ability to transform his career from 1960s pop icon with The Walker Brothers into seemingly a 21st-century experimental avant-garde musician.
Having passed away last year at the age of 76, Walker was described as an icon to many. “For half a century, the genius of the man born Noel Scott Engel has enriched the lives of thousands, first as of The Walker Brothers, and later as a solo artist, producer and composer of uncompromising originality,” his label 4AD said when announcing the news last year. “Scott Walker has been a unique and challenging titan at the forefront of British music: audacious and questioning, he has produced works that dare to explore human vulnerability and the godless darkness encircling it.”
Walker’s influence knows no bounds and, on what would be his 77th birthday, we revisit some words of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke who said: “Scott Walker was a huge influence on Radiohead and myself, showing me how I could use my voice and words. Met him once at Meltdown, such a kind gentle outsider.”
If you’re new to his music, we’ll leave you with the words of Walker himself: “I feel I’m writing for everyone, but they haven’t discovered it yet. They will—I’ll just be six feet under.”
Stream a playlist of some of our favourite Scott Walker tunes, below.