Scott Walker, groundbreaking singer, songwriter and producer, dies aged 76

Scott Walker © 4AD

Scott Walker, the boundary-breaking singer, songwriter and producer, has died. He was 76.

The news was announced by his record label 4AD in a statement published online. The statement reads: “For half a century, the genius of the man born Noel Scott Engel has enriched the lives of thousands, first as one third of The Walker Brothers, and later as a solo artist, producer and composer of uncompromising originality.”

“Scott Walker has been a unique and challenging titan at the forefront of British music: audacious and questioning, he has produced works that dare to explore human vulnerability and the godless darkness encircling it.”

Born in Ohio in 1943, Walker first rose to prominence as part of pop trio The Walker Brothers in the mid 1960s. Walker’s unmistakable baritone adorned hits that helped define the decade, including Make it Easy on Yourself and The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore) before the group disbanded in 1967.

Walker struck out on his own, releasing a string of acclaimed solo albums featuring his own material – Scott 1, Scott 2, Scott 3 and Scott 4 – that teased the symphonic pop formula into ever-more interesting directions. The 70s saw him lean back towards cover versions and reform The Walker Brothers, albeit with his own discernibly darker stamp on the band’s sound.

After a period of silence, he returned in the 90s with Tilt, a record that combined a baldly experimental approach with dark balladry. Albums like 2006’s The Drift and Soused, a 2014 collaboration with avant-metal band Sunn O))) cemented his baldly experimental, interrogative approach to music that has proved so influential.

Among the artists paying tribute are Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, who called him “a huge influence on Radiohead and myself, showing me how I could use my voice and words.”

Walker is survived by his daughter, Lee, his granddaughter, Emmi-Lee, and his partner Beverly.

Artists and collaborators have been paying tribute to Walker online. Read them below,