Scott Walker: Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich lead tributes to 'unique artist'

'The scope and dynamism of his vision have added dimension to both film and dance, and he has stunned audiences with music whose composition transcends genre, and whose sheer originality defies pigeonholing'

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Monday 25 March 2019 10:23
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Scott Walker performs song 'Jackie'

Tributes are pouring in for the late singer-songwriter and producer Scott Walker, known as “one of the greatest singers of all time” and "pop's own Salinger".

Walker’s death aged 76 was announced by his record label of 15 years, 4AD, which led the tributes along with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich.

“From teen idol to cultural icon, Scott leaves to future generations a legacy of extraordinary music, a brilliant lyricist with a haunting singing voice, he has been one of the most revered innovators at the sharp end of creative music, whose influence on many artists has been freely acknowledged,” 4AD said.

“The scope and dynamism of his vision have added dimension to both film and dance, and he has stunned audiences with music whose composition transcends genre, and whose sheer originality defies pigeonholing.”

Yorke wrote: “So very sad to hear that Scott Walker has passed away, he was a huge influence on Radiohead and myself, showing me how I could use my voice and words. Met him once at Meltdown, such a kind gentle outsider. He will be very missed.”

Godrich wrote: “Truly one of the greats. So unique and a real artist. On my way to work on the first day of recording OK Computer I passed him riding his bike on Chiswick High Street... and when I got to the studio Thom was holding a copy of Scott 4.”

BBC 6 Music’s Jon Hillcock called him “a pioneer in the truest sense, one of the greatest, most important voices in the history of music”.

Several fans shared a BBC Archive recording of Walker’s 50th birthday message to David Bowie, who had cited the fellow musician as an enormous influence.

“Hi David, this is Scott Walker,” he began. “I’m coming to you via a very crappy old handheld tape machine, so I hope it’s alright. I’m going to be a devil today, and not ask you any questions. I’m certain that among the many messages there’ll be those about how you’ve always embraced the new and freed so many artists, and this is, of course, try.”

“Like everyone else, I’d like to thank you for all the years, and especially for your generosity of spirit when it comes to other artists,” Walker continued. ”I’ve been the beneficiary on more than one occasion, let me tell you. So have a wonderful birthday, and by the way, mine’s the day after yours, so I’ll have a drink to you on the other side of midnight. How’s that?”

The message brought Bowie to tears.

“Wow...,” a clearly emotional Bowie says, after it was shown to him by Maryanne Hobbs. “That’s amazing... I see God in the window. I think he’s probably been my idol since I was a kid. That’s very moving. I want a copy of that. That’s really thrown me. Thank you very much.”

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