Scott Walker

Hello again, and welcome to another edition of 羽曳野古市英会話の英国音楽!

Scott Walker, the Anglo-Saxon Jacques Brel

Early December last year, Michael’s English School’s musical blog featured Neil Hannon aka The Divine Comedy. The similarities between Hannon and Walker are very clear. Indeed the former lists the latter as one of his major influences. Both artists also share a common spiritual ancestor: the Belgian chansonnier genius Jacques Brel. Scott Walker once tagged himself a “Continental suit-wearing natural enemy of the Californian surfer.” Both Neil and Scott are fans of those “Continental suits” and European cinema.

“A spectacular career on a global scale”

So who is Scott Walker? The singer-songwriter, avant-garde composer and record producer was in fact born in Ohio, USA but has lived in the UK since 1965 and has been a British citizen since 1970. Whilst he has been more widely successful in the UK, he has continued to inspire generations of artistsーNeil Hannon of course, Marc Almond, David Sylvian, Julian Cope, Jarvis Cocker, Antony Hegarty, Thom Yorke and Radiohead, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, to name but a few.

He met success as the frontman of the 1960s band The Walker Brothers (subsequently keeping the name Walker as his stage name). After going solo and “continental,” he reunited with the Walker Brothers in the 1970s. In the mid-1980s, he started producing increasingly unorthodox compositions.

In 2006, he was awarded the MOJO Icon Award: “Voted for by Mojo readers and Mojo4music users, the recipient of this award has enjoyed a spectacular career on a global scale.” A documentary film, Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, premiered later that year at the London Film Festival.

Forever reinventing himself

Scott Walker has had such a remarkable career and is such a legendary figure that it is almost shocking that he should be breathing amongst the living still and continuing to produce musicーhis work includes film scores and experimental collaborations and solo projects. His style has evolved over the decades and displays great versatility, creativity, and willingness to push the musical boundaries. We share with you a video featuring the style which he became famous for: the chanson.

“Jackie”

Scott recorded this cover of the famous Jacques Brel song “La Chanson de Jacky” as his first solo single in 1967.

Lyrics

Listen and fill in the blanks

 

“And if one day I should become

A singer with a Spanish bum

Who sings for women of great virtue

I’d sing to them with a guitar

I borrowed from a coffee bar

Well, what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you

My name would be Antonio

And all my bridges I would burn

And when I gave them some they’d know

I’d expect something in return

I’d have to get drunk every night

And talk about virility

With some old grandmother

That might be decked out like a christmas tree

And though pink elephants I’d see

Though I’d be drunk as I could be

Still I would sing my song to me

About the time they called me “Jacky”

[Chorus]

__ _ _____ __ ___ ____ __ ____

__ _ _____ __ ___ __ ____ _____ ___

__ _ _____ __ ___ ____ ___ ______ ____

Cute in a stupid ass way

And if I joined the social whirl

Became procurer of young girls

Then I would have my own bordellos

My record would be number one

And I’d sell records by the ton

All sung by many other fellows

My name would then be handsome Jack

And I’d sell boats of opium

Whisky that came from Twickenham

Authentic queers

And phony virgins

If I had banks on every finger

A finger in every country

And every country ruled by me

I’d still know where I’d want to be

Locked up inside my opium den

Surrounded by some china men

I’d sing the song that I sang then

About the time they called me “Jacky”

About the time they called me “Jacky”

[Chorus]

__ _ _____ __ ___ ____ __ ____

__ _ _____ __ ___ __ ____ _____ ___

__ _ _____ __ ___ ____ ___ ______ ____

Cute in a stupid ass way

Now, tell me, wouldn’t it be nice

That if one day in paradise

I’d sing for all the ladies up there

And they would sing along with me

And we be so happy there to be

Cos’ down below is really nowhere

My name would then be Junipher

Then I would know where I was going

And then I would become all knowing

My beard so very long and flowing

If I became deaf, dumb and blind

(was: If I could play deaf, dumb and blind)

Because I pitied all mankind

And broke my heart to make things right

I know that every single night

When my angelic work was through

The angels and the Devil too

Would sing my childhood song to me

About the time they called me “Jacky”

About the time they called me “Jacky”

[Chorus]

__ _ _____ __ ___ ____ __ ____

__ _ _____ __ ___ __ ____ _____ ___

__ _ _____ __ ___ ____ ___ ______ ____

Cute in a stupid ass way”


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