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#1152362 - 04/02/19 02:24 AM Recording Artist Scott Walker dies at 76  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,108
Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,108
California
Scott walker died a week ago Monday, I only found out yesterday. I imagine there's just a few folks here who knew Scott Walker's music. Certainly the older Brits like Vic and Travis do for sure. Born Noel Scott Engel.

Scott Walker was probably my biggest musical hero and influence on me. He was a man from Hamilton, Ohio who was a minor pop idol in the states in the early sixties, then moved to England and became massive with a hit called "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" with his band "The Walker Brothers" even though they weren't really his brothers. He had a singing voice comparable to Jack Jones..and if that were the end of his story, I wouldn't care about him, hardly at all..

But the man had a second, third and forth act, in his career..

He became a songwriter of distinction in the late sixties when he made 4 great solo records, "Scott 4" being considered by many to be his masterpiece, me included.. He was able to take his love of Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave cinema and come up with a musical equivalent of that in the many cinematic songs he wrote. A young boy flying a kite, lost to the world in one..an old haggard prostitute in another. I think of the later lyric's first verse, and I weep:

She stands all alone
You can hear her hum softly
From her fire escape in the sky
She fills the bags 'neath her eyes
With the moonbeams
And cries 'cause the world's passed her by

Didn't time sound sweet yesterday?
In a world filled with friends
You lose your way


Scott had a love of humanity and heart full of curiosity. You can hear it in these songs from his solo albums..

And while Mort Shuman may have brought Jacques Brel to America with his translations (in the musical "Jacques Brel Is Alive And Living In Paris"), Scott Walker made the man a household word and deserved folk hero, to his fellow Brits, recording at least a dozen of Brel's songs. There is no better interpreter of Brel's music..

--and THEN Scott Walker drifts through the Seventies and Eighties..a comeback album here, a British Variety show there..some bad cover tunes including a stint in Nashville..

AND THEN...he reinvents himself as a Modern Classical Composer in the Nineties and until his death, with music most people associate with dark, psychological dramas, and his lyrics as well, become much more opaque though full of allusion and possible meaning, reading like modern poetry. He did all this while retaining associations with pop labels who would continue to promote him as such, which led to such incongruous pairings as him singing on Jools Holland's music show, this, from his 1995 album"Tilt" :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5E1VXaCBW8

The thing about these later Modern Classical albums is that they grow on you. They form their own little worlds apart from everything else in existence, so at first there's no context from which to judge them, unless you come to them directly from Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gyorgi Ligeti. and Krzysztof Penderecki.

Even though I preferred the post-minimal variety of modern classical, I found myself coming back to these later records over and over..because they were having the opposite effect on me that pop music had. With pop music, usually the first listening and the few shortly thereafter are the most meaningful and it's downhill from there..after that, to some extent, one is listening to recapture those earlier moments of joy..

With Scott's albums starting with "Tilt" and on through "Bish Bosch" --I found that with each subsequent listening, I was getting more and more out of the records. I was making connections with the lyrics, and the music was starting to feel organically joined to these lyrics..

AND keep in mind, this is dark, post modern classical music with a Jack Jones-ish singing voice! It doesn't work on paper, LOL...

But in reality, the records create their own worlds, and judged accordingly..are brilliant. most of the trades and music magazines thought so as well.

One lyric, it's been said, was a meditation on both The Twin Towers, and the fact that Elvis would talk to his stillborn twin brother, called "Jessie" from "The Drift" If you keep in mind that Walker thought like an auteur or European filmmaker, then you can just take in the lyrical imagery cinematically and let the dots connect themselves..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-OleuUs5Eo

https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858609537/

I thought about Scott Walker a couple weeks ago..a week before he died..I was watching the penultimate episode of the latest season of
"The Blacklist" and out of nowhere I hear this hipster bass line that sounded really familiar and I think "that can't be Scott Walker" and sure enough..it was ("The Old Man's Back Again")..and I got weepy cuz I realized this meant a nice paycheck for Scott..

And now he is dead, at the age of 76..no reported cause yet..

A good place to start with Scott Walker, if you are thinking about it, is with a fairly recent BBC Proms, with many current pop artists who knew and loved his music, including Jarvis Cocker, who was a good friend of Scott..there are videos on youtube, but of each separate performance--no video of the whole show.

Also, a documentary called "30th Century Man" that came out in 2006 is worth seeking out.

Rest in peace, Scott. Your career is an inspiration to me. Your music has given me more peak experiences than I can count. You never listened to your own stuff, once you finished it. You truly gave it to us and kept none of it for yourself. That's a generous gift. Most of all, you followed your inner voice where it took you. That's the most inspiring thing of all. To be brave, like that.

I'll leave you with my favorite song of his, "Boy Child" --from Scott 4. A very beautiful song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14PSE0FJoUo

Thanks..

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 04/04/19 02:44 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1152418 - 04/03/19 11:02 AM Re: Recording Artist Scott Walker dies at 76 [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,831
Dave Rice (D) Offline
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Dave Rice (D)  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,831
Texas
Sad news, Mike:

May he rest in peace. Thanks for all the facts about his "life and musical ride." Interesting. Anyone with a "Jack Jones" type vocal eventually has to break the shackles of mediocrity.

All the best, ----Dave

#1152450 - 04/04/19 02:06 PM Re: Recording Artist Scott Walker dies at 76 [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 6,588
Mark Kaufman Offline
Mark Kaufman  Offline

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Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 6,588
Minneapolis
I'm still just getting to understand Scott Walker. What a champion of the creative spirit. I learned of him through Bowie, from his cover of Walker's song Nite Flights.

RIP

https://www.davidbowie.com/blog/2019/3/25/farewell-to-scott-walker-1943-2019

#1152451 - 04/04/19 02:49 PM Re: Recording Artist Scott Walker dies at 76 [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,108
Michael Zaneski Offline
Top 50 Poster
Michael Zaneski  Offline
Top 50 Poster

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,108
California
Hi Dave,

Scott's voice was no doubt a barrier for some, but for me and other's his lounge-y voice coupled with challenging lyrics/songs was simply something unique and cool.

Thanks for checking him out.

Mike


Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1152452 - 04/04/19 02:59 PM Re: Recording Artist Scott Walker dies at 76 [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,108
Michael Zaneski Offline
Top 50 Poster
Michael Zaneski  Offline
Top 50 Poster

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,108
California
Hi Mark,

Thanks for the link.

Nite Flights is a great song, both versions. That was Scott's lost Seventies. "The Electrician" from that same time frame is an early hint of his dark songwriting to come, and considered his best overall "piece" by many.

An album you might like, since it's got a real Bowie meets Roxy Music vibe, but streamlined and practically minimalism at times ), is "Climate of Hunter," a transitional album for him coming in the mid-Eighties, with a host of great musicians like Mark Isham, Mark Knopfler, and Evan Parker from the free-jazz scene. Scott had studied Gregorian chant in a monastery for awhile, and you can hear he is starting to employ more chant-like melodies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puo243vF8as&list=OLAK5uy_nSvCrir8pqpzcwPStaq-MQ7LtJqi3UYJo

Daniel Lanios and Brian Eno were working on the record after "Climate of Hunter" for Walker--but it never happened..it was supposedly abandoned after a few songs..

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 04/04/19 10:25 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)

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