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.
“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.”
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.”
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.