Hugely influential singer Scott Walker has died at the age of 76.
His death was confirmed by record label 4AD who hailed him as “a solo artist, producer and composer of uncompromising originality.”
“From teen idol to cultural icon, Scott leaves to future generations a legacy of extraordinary music; a brilliant lyricist with a haunting singing voice, he has been one of the most revered innovators at the sharp end of creative music, whose influence on many artists has been freely acknowledged,” the label said in a statement.
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Scott Walker. Scott was 76 years old and is survived by his daughter, Lee, his granddaughter, Emmi-Lee, and his partner Beverly: https://t.co/awaFXWOkja pic.twitter.com/nd6MYVmWaO
— 4AD (@4AD_Official) March 25, 2019
“The scope and dynamism of his vision have added dimension to both film and dance, and he has stunned audiences with music whose composition transcends genre, and whose sheer originality defies pigeonholing.”
Born in Hamilton, Ohio in 1943 as Noel Scott Engel, he became Scott Walker after forming the Walker Brothers in 1964 alongside John Maus, who had been known as John Walker since his teens. The pair were joined by drummer Gary Leeds, who too became known as Gary Walker.
After songs such as ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’ catapulted the group to Beatlemania levels of fame, Scott began to shun the spotlight as he recorded his own increasingly experimental solo material – which led to the release of debut album ‘Scott’ in 1967, only a year before their initial split.
It was followed by a period that saw Walker recording a string of critically acclaimed follow-up albums, aptly titled: ‘Scott 2’, ‘Scott 3’ and ‘Scott 4’.
It marked the sound of a true original, and led Walker down a path that would see him hailed as an avant-garde icon – and a huge influence on the likes of Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Duran Duran, Jarvis Cocker, The Divine Comedy and many more.
Paying tribute on Twitter, Thom Yorke wrote: “So very sad to hear that Scott Walker has passed away, he 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. He will be very missed.”
So very sad to hear that Scott Walker has passed away, he 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. He will be very missed. https://t.co/v33Ey91hbn
— Thom Yorke (@thomyorke) March 25, 2019
Wow. Goodbye Scott Walker, the biggest influence on David Bowie. A maverick and uncompromising artist. Loved by @MarcAlmond and myself. One of the peculiar greats!
— Boy George (@BoyGeorge) March 25, 2019
View this post on Instagram
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.
“A sad goodbye to Scott Walker – Thanks for the inspiration & fearless creation. There was no other voice quite like his, he was a truly unique artist.
— Duran Duran (@duranduran) March 25, 2019
rest in peace scott walker. https://t.co/d3T9UrGA1w much love & thank you
— anton newcombe (@antonnewcombe) March 25, 2019
The greatest artist of the 21st century, R.I.P Mr Scott Walker, the voice I’ll carry around for eternity in a little room in my heart. pic.twitter.com/Agz6ghTTwn
— The Moonlandingz (@themoonlandingz) March 25, 2019
The man with the mahogany voice… Scott Walker. RIP https://t.co/PWwRU6x2lR
— midge ure (@midgeure1) March 25, 2019
Real sad to read that Scott Walker has passed away. One of the purest voices I’ve ever experienced, his music has been with me all my life.
Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/8J6zWfjiMu
— erol alkan (@erolalkan) March 25, 2019
— maryanne hobbs (@maryannehobbs) March 25, 2019
A sad loss, Scott Walker. Every one of his songs sounds like a deathbed lament, so soused in sorrow and mourning. #RIPScottWalker
— Shaun Keaveny (@shaunwkeaveny) March 25, 2019
Scott 3 is one of my favourite albums. RIP, Scott Walker ❤️
— Martin Carr (@martin_carr) March 25, 2019
RIP Scott Walker pic.twitter.com/FK699ELnVi
— Brian Eno (@dark_shark) March 25, 2019
So very sad to hear about Scott Walker…. truly one of the greats.. so unique and a real artist. On my way to work on the first day of recording OK Computer I passed him riding his bike on Chiswick High Street.. and when I got to the studio Thom was holding a copy of Scott 4..
— nigel godrich (@nigelgod) March 25, 2019
When I worked at RAK studios I was lucky enough to spend a few days in the studio with him during the recording of the Tilt album.. I so grateful for that.. what a legend.
— nigel godrich (@nigelgod) March 25, 2019
Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich said: “So very sad to hear about Scott Walker…. truly one of the greats.. so unique and a real artist. On my way to work on the first day of recording OK Computer I passed him riding his bike on Chiswick High Street.. and when I got to the studio Thom was holding a copy of Scott 4.. I took that as a good omen.”
Of all the recent losses music has endured, I feel Scott Walker’s passing the deepest. The moment I heard his voice, nothing was ever the same again. Working with him on the BBC Proms and seeing his delight at the outcome, will live with me forever. A true hero to me.
— mrsimonraymonde (@mrsimonraymonde) March 25, 2019
Forget that cliche about the phone book. Scott could sing the word ‘telly’ and make it sound like a revelation. https://t.co/9deakk4iRT
— Stuart Maconie (@StuartMaconie) March 25, 2019
Duran Duran also paid tribute to the late star. “A sad goodbye to Scott Walker – Thanks for the inspiration & fearless creation. There was no other voice quite like his, he was a truly unique artist. In celebration of his life, here is a link to his version of Jacques Brel’s song “My Death,”‘the band wrote on Twitter.
During his solo career Walker released 18 records – a combination of his own albums and collaborations for an eclectic array of soundtracks. His final effort came on the score of Natalie Portman’s ‘Vox Lux’, which released in 2018.
Walker was also honoured by the BBC in 2017 with a Proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall.