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Pop's great adventurer: how Scott Walker reached the heart of darkness

Few pop stars went the artistic distance that Scott Walker did – and from the middle of the road to its further edges, his work was always extraordinary

In February 1965, a Californian trio called the Walker Brothers arrived in London, by all accounts without much of a clue exactly what they intended to do there. Their relocation didn’t make sense. After all, they were starting to make headway back in the US. A residency at a Sunset Strip club called Gazzari’s, where they played Beatles and Rolling Stones covers, had led to TV appearances and a record deal. They had just taped their second single, a Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill ballad called Love Her, that producer Jack Nitzsche had modelled on the Righteous Brothers’ version of another Mann/Weill hit, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling: swathing everything in cavernous reverb and piling on the strings. And now they appeared to have walked away, more or less on a whim. “I still remember that incredible feeling when I got off that plane,” recalled John Maus, who, like his two bandmates, had changed his surname to Walker. “That this was going to be the ultimate adventure.”

He couldn’t have known precisely what an adventure it would turn into for Scott Engle, who was already emerging as the trio’s frontman: impressed by his baritone voice, Nitzsche had coaxed him into singing lead on Love Her. For Engle, the Walker Brothers’ arrival in the UK marked the start of one of the most extraordinary careers in pop history.

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Source: The Guardian – Pop's great adventurer: how Scott Walker reached the heart of darkness

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