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Music / The Walker Brothers

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L-R: Gary Leeds, Scott Engel, John Maus
"The sun ain't gonna shine anymore
The moon ain't gonna rise in the sky
The tears are always clouding your eyes
When you're without love"

The Walker Brothers were an American Teen Idol Pop trio active in The '60s and The '70s. Of course, none of them were brothers or were named Walker; they were instead John Maus, Noel Scott Engel, and Gary Leeds, but John was already performing as John Walker prior to the group's formation, so Scott and Gary followed suit as Scott Walker and Gary Walker.

Originally formed as "The Walker Brothers Trio" with John, Scott, and drummer Al "Tiny" Schneider, the group started out in a Rock & Roll and Blues style and became a popular attraction at Gazzari's Club in Hollywood. Tiny was soon replaced with Gary, fresh from his time in the Standells and having toured the UK. Gary, and apparently Gazzari-regular Brian Jones, convinced the group that their sound would go down well in London. Cue them signing to Philips Records through Johnny Franz and making hits.

Their sound grew into densely orchestrated, Phil Spector-inspired Baroque Pop, alternating between covers of contemporary Pop standards and Blue-Eyed Soul, though Scott occasionally wrote originals. In a reversal of The British Invasion happening at the time, the group found great success in the UK with a string of hits including "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" and "Make It Easy on Yourself", easily rivaling The Beatles' popularity there at the time, though they had minor success in North America as well. Scott gradually took a leading role in the song choices and arrangements, foreshadowing his lauded solo career, but the band's popularity eventually waned. Due to internal tensions and Creative Differences, the band broke up in 1968.

While all three began solo careers, Scott's was by far the most successful, with his first three solo albums all reaching the UK Top 3 and being critically acclaimed to this day. However his increasing experimentation, and perhaps releasing it under his given name, caused his fourth, Scott 4, to flop. It has since been Vindicated by History as a masterpiece, but the initial failure left him in a creative slump for the next few years. In 1974, to help support each other, The Walker Brothers reformed and had another UK Top 10 hit with a cover of Tom Rush's "No Regrets". This would be their last hit, though they kept recording until 1978, when their label announced it was going under and gave them a blank check to do whatever they wanted.

Enter Nite Flights, the last Walker Brothers album that is best remembered as the first Scott Walker album for the rest of his career. With all three members given a chunk of the album, Scott went full-on Darker and Edgier art rock, foreshadowing the nightmarish Avant-Garde Music of his later solo albums. The band called it quits there.

John went on to build custom guitars, open a recording studio, and resume touring in 2004 until his death on May 7, 2011. He and Gary released a joint autobiography, The Walker Brothers: No Regrets—Our Story, in 2009. Scott, along with being largely reclusive, continued to record very sporadic but acclaimed solo albums and film soundtracks until his death on March 22, 2019. More info about Scott's solo career is on his own trope page.

Album Discography

Initial Run:

  • Take it Easy with the Walker Brothers (1965)
  • Portrait (1966) - Not released in America
  • The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore (1966) - Released in Portrait's place in the U.S.
  • Images (1967)


  • No Regrets (1975)
  • Lines (1976)
  • Nite Flights (1978)

My Trope is Coming In:

  • Break-Up Song: "Love Her" ("like I should'a done"), "Make it Easy On Yourself" ("'cause breaking up is so very hard to do"), "Another Tear Falls" ("and I know you're still in my heart"), "No Regrets" ("I don't want you back"), among others.
  • B-Side: One of Scott's first major originals, "Archangel", and John's first original song, "Saddest Night in the World", were B-Sides.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: Their version of The Ronettes' "Walking in the Rain" changes the perspective to a man singing about a woman.
  • Cover Version: The grand majority of their songs were covers of pop and blue-eyed soul standards, including their biggest hits "Make it Easy on Yourself" and "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore"
  • Darker and Edgier: Nite Flights is a famous example, dropping the MOR Pop and Country of their 70s work in favor of oppressive, dissonant Art Rock on Scott's four tracks.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the band's early days, John was the lead vocalist while Scott was the bassist. After the group's second single "Love Her”, the first song with Scott on lead vocals, became a hit, Scott was promoted to the lead vocalist.
  • Face on the Cover: Portraits of the trio featured prominently on their album covers to sell to their teen pop fanbase. The exception is Hipgnosis' cover art for Nite Flights, which has their faces jagged and distorted.
  • Horrible History Metal: "The Electrician" is about American torturers working for Pinochet during the 1970s.
  • Lead Bassist: Scott started as the group's bassist before becoming the lead singer and major creative force.
  • Literary Allusion Title: "Orpheus".
  • Love Will Lead You Back: "First Love Never Dies", about the narrator never quite losing their feelings for their first love and hoping they will come back.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "The Electrician" transitions from creepy dissonance to rich, uplifting orchestration, which is right when the lyrics clearly become about a torturer.
  • Men Don't Cry: Averted. "Another Tear Falls" and "Young Man Cried" are from the point-of-view of men who openly weep after heartbreak.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: "Deadlier Than the Male" plays into this, referencing the Rudyard Kipling poem that gives the trope its name.
  • Mr. Fanservice: John, the tall Long-Haired Pretty Boy of the group.
  • New Sound Album: Nite Flights with gleeful, murderous abandon. Before then, they were doing MOR Pop and Country music. Cue their record label going under and giving the band free reign to do what they wanted, thus Nite Flights' forays into Art Rock, Disco, No Wave, and dark Electronic Music.
  • One-Woman Song: "Mrs. Murphy", though unlike most examples it's not about Mrs. Murphy so much as a conversation involving her and another apartment tenant gossiping about their neighbors.
  • Silly Love Songs: Most of their songs were about love, especially on the melancholy side.
  • Single Tear: Implied in "Another Tear Falls", when one more tear comes out after the narrator thinks he's "all cried out".
  • Stage Names: The three took on "Walker" as their stage surnames, and they each kept it into their solo careers.
  • Teen Idol: Part of the group's success was their popularity with teenagers, especially Scott.
  • Title Theme Tune: They did one for Deadlier Than The Male, a Spy Fiction movie in which Bulldog Drummond battles two female assassins.
  • Unrelated Brothers: They weren't brothers and none of them were really named Walker.