Pop icon and music legend Scott Walker has died at the age of 76. The music world has expressed the extent of the innovative artist’s influence, transcending musical boundaries and genres. We rounded up the musicians who were most influenced by Walker’s work.
Nothing is more touching than seeing a legend completely floored by an interaction with a legend of their own. David Bowie responded to a 50th birthday special BBC Radio One in 1997 in which he received a personalised message from Walker. Bowie responded: “That’s amazing. I see God in the window. He really got to me there, I’m afraid. I think he’s probably been my idol since I was a kid. That’s really moved me. I want a copy of that! Thank you very much.”
English singer and songwriter Marc Almond added to today’s emotional tributes with his own memories of Walker. He said: “Absolutely saddened shocked by the death of Scott Walker . He gave me so much inspiration so much I owe to him and modelled on him even down to my early S C hair cut and dark glasses. He cemented my love for Brel. He was enigmatic , mysterious and with some of his latter recordings , to me, infuriating. An absolute Musical genius, existential and intellectual and a Star right from the days of the Walker Brothers. So many of his songs will go round in my head forever. And that Voice. We lost Bowie now we’ve lost him. There is surely a crack in the Universe. Thank you Scott.”
3Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys
When Alex Turner worked on the film version of the novel ‘Submarine’, director Richard Ayoade revealed just how big a part Scott Walker was in the creative process. At the premiere of the film he revealed that the pair were inspired by Scott Walker‘s collection of songs written by Belgian musician Jacques Brel. Ayoade said: “Initially it was going to be some covers and we had ideas of songs,” he said. “And he said, ‘I’ll maybe write one,’ and he just wrote more and more, I was just delighted that he did.”
He added: “Initially the idea was to do something a bit like ‘Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel’ because that felt less impolite to ask. I didn’t want to ask him to write songs. I probably hoped he would!”
Electronic music pioneer Brian Eno, cited Walker as an influence, and said: “He took music to a place that it hasn’t actually ever been since.”
Alison Goldfrapp of the electronic music duo said of the music legend: “When I was young, I was playing with this terrible band, getting stoned a lot and trying to make music in a really feeble way. Then I heard [Walker’s song] Boy Child and it totally changed my perception of life. I decided right then that I must never see or work with the people in that band ever again. The string arrangements, the atmosphere, and the emotion of Boy Child made me think: what am I doing with these plebs? Scott Walker’s songs are huge but intimate, unashamedly big, lush, decadent and personal. I’ve certainly never heard an American make music like that before.”
6Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy
The Northern Irish musician said that his creative persona is
a character indebted to Walker. He said: “On Regeneration [the band’s seventh album] I had said, ‘No Scott Walker, don’t sing that way, no crooning.’ On this one, I went, ‘Croon! Croon for your life!’ I figure I don’t sound like me until I’m trying to sound like Scott”.
Multiple sources cite that Scott Walker was an influence on the late legendary singer and songwriter Leonard Cohen, whose work explored religion, politics and romance, and you need only look at Cohen’s early work to see similar songwriting habits.
8Panda Bear from Animal Collective
Speaking about the album ‘Tomboy’ from Panda Bear, Noah Lennox said: “On the vocal side of things, I would say there’s a more clear kind of inspiration. And to generalize about it, it’s more like crooners really like Frank Sinatra or Scott Walker, guys like that. Guys that emote with their voices and it’s like this clear defined part of the sound.”
“I can’t really sing like a guy like Scott Walker but I guess Tomboy was my version of that.”
In 2017 the frontman of the band Pulp performed a concert of reinterpretations of Scott Walker’s late 1960s albums. Walker gave Cocker some advice before the performance, saying: “Make it as new as you can.”
10Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth
In interviews, Mikael Akerfeldt has stated that Opeth’s ninth album ‘Watershed’ is highly influenced by Scott Walker’s album ‘The Drift’ which he called “quite extreme and frightening”.