Our top ten songs from The Walker Brothers looks at the work of an American Pop group who had success in the sixties and seventies. They were not actually brothers and none of their surnames was actually Walker. The members were Scott Walker who’s real name was Noel Scott Engel, Gary Walker who’s real name was Gary Leeds and John Walker who’s real name was John Joseph Maus. Despite being from California, they all moved to Britain in 1965 where they became a major success with several top ten singles and albums. They split up in 1968 before reforming in 1974 and then split up for a final time in 1978.
They were first formed in Los Angeles in 1964 by John on vocals and guitar, Scott on bass and Al Schneider on drums. Previously John had played in a duo with his sister called John and Judy and Scott had played in a band called The Routers. They were originally called The Walker Brothers Trio but dropped the last word from their name and got signed by Mercury Records and recorded the debut single “Pretty Girls Everywhere.” After Schneider had left they met drummer Gary Leeds who joined and persuaded them to emigrate to London. Shortly afterwards Scott took over from John as lead vocalist.
When they arrived in the UK they were quickly signed by producer Johnny Franz and signed a contract with Phillips Records. Although “Pretty Girls Everywhere” was unsuccessful in Britain, their first success came with their second single “Love Her” which was a top twenty hit. They continued to have success throughout the sixties until their sound went out of style and they disbanded for the first time in 1968.
After the beginning of the seventies when they had all released solo records of which Scott was the most successful, they reformed in 1974. The had moderate success but not as much as in their first stint together, with some of the material on their last couple of albums going in a more experimental direction which Scott Walker would pursue with his solo career. By 1978, they had ceased to exist for the final time.
After their disbandment Scott Walker went on to reinvent himself as an Avant Garde musician with his lengthy and prolific solo career. This lasted until he passed away in 2019. He was the subject of a documentary film released in 2006 titled 30 Century Man of which David Bowie was the executive producer. John and Gary also remained active in various ventures including writing a biography together entitled The Walker Brothers: No Regrets- Our Story which was released in 2009 and had no involvement from Scott. John died in 2011, which leaves Garry as the last surviving member.
# 10 – The Electrician
The first song on our Walker Brothers list is taken from the sixth and final album Nite Flights released in 1978. It was the last ever release while the group where still together. It did not chart and the lyrics are about the actions of a torturer working for the CIA. Ultra Vox frontman Midge Ure cited this song as an influence while composing their song “Vienna.” Laurie Anderson covered it for a Scott Walker tribute album released in 2009 titled Scott Walker: 30 Century Man.
# 9 – Lines
This song was written by songwriter Jerry Fuller and was recorded by The Walker Brothers in 1976 and was the title track of their fifth album. They released it as their twelfth single. It also did not chart and was their first not to do so since the release of their debut single “Pretty Girls Everywhere” in 1965. Fuller later recorded a version of it himself which achieved some very minor success in the US and Canada.
# 8 – Pretty Girls Everywhere
This is a song that was originally written and recorded by singer Eugene Church and was recorded by the Walker Brothers in 1965 as their debut single from their debut album Introducing The Walker Brothers. It was released just before Scott became the lead singer. John is the vocalist on this track. The song was not a successful debut as it did not achieve any chart success.
# 7 – Deadlier Than The Male
Up next is a track from 1966 which was written by Scott under his real name of Scott Engel along with producer Johnny Franz. It was their eighth single and was the theme song of the film of the same name released in 1967. It was a modest hit in the UK where it got to number thirty-two and spent six weeks in the national chart.
# 6 – Love Her
Next we have a song that was originally written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Well and recorded by the Everly Brothers in 1963 and recorded by the Walker Brothers in 1965 for Introducing The Walker Brothers. It is the first single by the group to feature Scott as the singer. It was their first big hit, peaking at number twenty on the UK singles chart.
# 5 – Another Tear Falls
This song was originally written by Burt Bacharach and performed by Gene McDaniels and was recorded by the Walker Brothers in 1966. It spent eight weeks in the UK charts where it peaked at number twelve. This was a disappointment for the group as is seen as marking the beginning of their decline in commercial success and popularity.
# 4 – My Ship Is Comin’ In
This next number was first performed by soul singer Jimmy Radcliffe in 1965 and the Walker Brothers recorded this version the same year. It is the opening track from Introducing The Walker Brothers. It was a massive hit in Britain where it was in the charts for twelve weeks and peaked at number three.
# 3- (Baby) You Don’t Have To Tell Me
At number three is another cover song that was originally written by Pete Antell and performed by Bobby Coleman. The Walker Brothers recorded their version in 1966 and it was included on their fourth album The Sun Aint Gonna Shine Anymore. It was a moderate hit for them , peaking at number thirteen and staying in the charts for eight weeks. This was disappointing compared to the success of the previous three singles.
# 2 – Make It Easy On Yourself
Just off the top of our list is this song that was originally by Burt Bacharach and has been recorded by a number of artists, of which this is the most successful version released in 1965 that was a number one hit in the UK. It is the opening song of Introducing The Walker Brothers. Many years later in 2001, the Irish rock band Ash sampled it in their song “Candy.”
# 1 – The Sun Aint Gonna Shine Anymore
At number one is the Walker Brothers biggest hit entitled “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore,” that was originally released by Frankie Valli. It was a number one single in the UK and is also their highest charting song in the US where it reached number thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100. It also received commercial success in several other countries. It is considered to be a classic of the era and is seen as the group’s signature song. It is the title track of their fourth album released in 1966.
Feature Photo: Philips Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons