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Thirtieth Century Man

Scott Walker - Artist Extraordinaire

By Mike Singleton - MikeydredPublished 5 months ago 3 min read
Scott Walker


This is lifted from a Seven Days In Post written two years before Scott Walker died but has been getting a few views. The man was the epitome of a true artist so was not to everyone's taste, but I find his work absolutely amazing.

Thirtieth Century Man

This article is taken from the documentary "30th Century Man" about the reclusive and supposedly evasive Scott Walker. One the the big moments is when he comes into the studio wearing a pulled-down baseball cap, and you think what's he going to be like, is this going to be a car crash, but his latest album is a collaboration with drone noise band Sunn O))) so you know he can talk to people and he comes across as open, knowledgeable and easy to talk to.

The film features contributions from lots of musical icons (see the tags) and I noticed one very interesting parallel. Scott had been drinking at the opening of the Playboy Club in London, got very drunk got talking to a girl who could drink more than him. They went back to her flat and he noticed that she had a lot of Jacques Brel albums which she kept playing and translating for Scott.

He became hooked on Brel from this and a couple of days later he met Andrew Loog Oldham for afternoon Black Russians. Scott mentioned Brel and Oldham said that's a coincidence, there's a guy who sent some piano versions of Brel's English transcription that he'd done which were not that good. Scott said I'll have them. Andrew Loog Oldham was the guy who sued the Verve for using the orchestral tape loop of "The Last Time" on "Bittersweet Symphony" but that's an aside. So a girl in a flat got Scott Walker into Jacques Brel.

In the sixties the BBC gave Scott a TV series expecting a middle-of-the-road entertainer, The show lasted six episodes and the BBC destroyed all the tapes so all that is left are fragments and photographs. They got Scott Walker, not a Jack Jones or Tom Jones.

Cut to David Bowie (Executive producer of this documentary):

David was dating one of Scott Walker's ex-girlfriends and was a bit pissed off that she had lots of Scott's albums, which she kept playing which pissed him off even more. But the more she played the more he realised what a great voice this guy had, and so became a real Scott Walker fan. So a girl in a flat got David Bowie into Scott Walker.

They both covered Jaques Brel's "Amsterdam" so were obviously both fans.

Apparently, they contacted Julian Cope who is a big fan, but Julian is even more interview-shy than Scott so they just show the letter he sent in reply.

A song I will choose is a Brel translation from the sixties, but that voice is amazing, so for your education, I'll include his debut solo TV performance on the Dusty Springfield show "Mathilda" or "Mathilde" depending on how it's listed.

While you may be aware of his work with The Walker Brothers and maybe some of his solo work, he transformed into someone or something that was so far from the mainstream but still innovative and interesting.

When an album was finished he would listen to it once and that would be the end of that, he would move on to the next project , if there was one.

Concluding Addendum

An obituary in The Wire 2019 where I got the lead photograph.

The Wikipedia page

My review of "Soused" by Scott and Sunn O)))

tv reviewvintagepop culturemetalfeaturefact or fictioncelebritiesbandsalternativealbum reviews90s music80s music70s music60s music

About the Creator

Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

Weaver of Tales, Poems, Music & Love

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Comments (3)

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock4 months ago

    He really did have a remarkably rich voice.

  • I don't even know him but it's sad that he's no more. I enjoyed reading this!

  • Babs Iverson5 months ago

    Wonderful and interesting story!!! Loved it!!!💕❤️❤️

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