Pop: Great Covers: 15. Scott Walker: 'Scott'

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The Independent Culture
Inspired by one of Jacques Brel's final performances, erstwhile Brother and moody teen idol Walker released this extraordinarily passionate, but unfashionable, collection of songs during the summer of love. The antithesis of Sgt Pepper, Scott alienated fans and critics alike with its perceived cynicism and monochrome cover. Yet this (uncredited) shot of Walker in scarf and shades, head bowed and frowning in contemplation, has become the definitive image of the singer, and the paradigm for all tortured artists since.

Walker appears unaware of the camera and so, through the photograph, we intrude uncomfortably on his private sorrow. His expression reveals the flipside of the late Sixties, represented in philosophical terms by Camus rather than Castenada, in which a panacea of love and peace won't ease a restless soul. Leapfrogging the optimism of the day, Scott looks to troubled times ahead, and it is no surprise that the photo was used again, over a decade later, for a compilation of Brel cover versions, which in turn heralded a revival of interest in Scott Walker.