The original Walker Brothers were Scott Engel born in Hamilton, Ohio and former television child star John Maus from New York City who were both born in 1943. Engel had played sessions in Los Angeles appearing on The Routers American hit, 'Lets Go', having previously recorded in 1950 on the RKO Unique label with the aptly titled When Is A Boy A Man he was fourteen years old at the time. Capitol Record's Nick Venet, who had already had the foresight to sign The Lettermen and The Beach Boys to the label, produced The Walker Brothers' first session in1964.
Maus and Engel recorded a song by Eugene Church, 'Pretty Girls Everywhere' on the Smash label, which was a moderate hit around Los Angeles. Its success led to them getting a minor roll in a surf movie, Beach Ball. Enter Gary Leeds born a year earlier than the other Walker Brothers in Glendale, California. Leeds, who had originally played in the Standells had recently toured Britain with P.J. Proby, an American singer whose trousers seemed to spilt almost every time he went on stage. Leeds suggested that the musical climate might be better for the band in Britain than in the States; his foresight proved to be spot on.
Their next recording, prior to crossing the Atlantic was an old Everly Brothers b-side, 'Love Her', which was written by the successful husband and wife songwriting duo of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill. Recorded with a 38-piece orchestra, it was arranged by Jack Nitzsche who worked with Phil Spector and later The Rolling Stones. It was a monster of a recording, bigger sounding than most any record of the era; it rivalled Spector's famous Wall of Sound.
Having recorded 'Love Her' the trio arrived in Britain in February 1965, and a deal was done with Johnny Franz at Philips to release 'Pretty Girls Everywhere' as their debut single. On the record John sang lead and despite performing it on TV's Thank Your Lucky Stars it failed to chart. 'Love Her' became their first hit single, reaching No.20 in the U.K, staying on the charts for 13 weeks. 'Love Her' is available on the album After the Lights Go Out: The Best Of 1965-1967 along with many other of their best recordings
They recorded their next single in London with arranger Ivor Raymonde directing the accompaniment. Scott took over the lead vocals while John added the harmonies on the classic Bacharach and David's 'Make It Easy On Yourself'; they stormed to No.1 spot, knocking The Rolling Stones' '(I Can't get No) Satisfaction' off the top spot. It also became their first American hit reaching No.16 on the Billboard chart in the autumn of '65.
On the road, the trio were augmented by former Ugly's organist Jim O'Neill and as the level of hysteria for the group rose the police were regularly needed at their gigs to control the screaming and hysterical fans, 'Make It Easy On Yourself' had originally been a hit for Jerry Butler but the Walker Brothers follow up was another cover of an American record, this one by Jimmy Radcliffe. 'My Ship Is Coming In', however, could only make No.3, which with hindsight seems inexplicable as it is one of their finest records. Shortly before Christmas 1965 the band released their first album, Take It Easy With The Walker Brothers; it made No.3 in the UK spending 9 months on the chart
In the spring of 1966 they were back at No.1 with 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore'; a song written by Four Seasons producer, Bob Crewe and member Bob Gaudio. It had almost been a US chart as a solo single by Four Season's lead singer Frankie Valli.
The Walker Brothers 'My Ship Is Coming In' made No.63 in America while 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore' became the biggest of their trio of US hits when it got to No.13. In the U.K their second single of 1966 '(Baby) You Don't Have To Tell Me' peaked at No.13, while 'Another Tear Falls' made it to No.12, arguably one of the greatest pop singles of the 1960s and a peak into the direction that Scott Walker's later solo career would take, and their fourth and final release of the year, 'Deadlier Than The Male', from the film of the same name came to rest at No. 34.
Their first release of 1967 was another classic, 'Stay With Me Baby' that surely deserved a higher placing than No.26. It was one of those songs that was destined never to be done justice in chart terms as the original version by Lorraine Ellison the previous year had only managed a lowly No.64 in America. In the early summer of 1967 The Walker Brothers had their final 1960s hit single when 'Walking in the Rain' reached No.26. There time in the pop spotlight seemed to be over. All these hits can be found on the album, No Regrets - The Best Of Scott Walker & The Walker Brothers 1965 – 1976 that has the added bonus of some of Scott's solo recordings as well. Their second album, Portrait came along in September 1966 and like its predecessor it too made No.3 on the UK album chart. Their final album of the 1960s was Images, which was released in March 1967 and it managed a creditable No.6 spot on the chart.
By 1967, Scott Walker's temperament and his desire for a new musical direction led to the demise of the trio. All three recorded solo, although Gary had already had two top 30 singles with the group Rain, 'You Don't Love Me' and 'Twinkie Lee' and a late 1966 EP 'Solo Scott: Solo John' was a prophetic sign of the inevitable split. Both John and Scott went on to have solo success in the sixties but only Scott managed to sustain his career into the 1970's; some of their solo material along with Walker Brothers hits are to be found on the album, The Walker Brothers Collection. The trio re‑united in 1975 to have a top ten hit with 'No Regrets' but the new found harmony was only temporary as they returned to solo careers after making two albums, Lines in 1976 and Night Flights in 1978.
In early 1992 No Regrets - The Best Of Scott Walker & The Walker Brothers 1965 – 1976 went Top 5 in the UK album chart. Scott remains reclusive emerging infrequently to record what were an eclectic set of albums. John toured occasionally but returned to live in California where he died in 2011. Gary had a pre‑cast sandcastle company but after it got into difficulties in the early 1990's he became a motor bike messenger. On one occasion he even delivered a package from Scott's record company to his manager's office; he did not divulge his identity.
Nite Flights is the sixth studio album by the American pop group The Walker Brothers. It was released in 1978. It includes the single "The Electrician". The album was to be the group's last together. Each member of the group wrote songs for the album, two were by Gary Walker while Scott Walker and John Walker each contributed four. The album was recorded in February 1978 in the UK at Scorpio Sound, London. Received positive reviews, specifically for Scott's work, the album was released as an LP in July 1978. It was long out of print until the mid-1990s when it was re-released as a budget CD. The artwork was designed by Hipgnosis.
The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore is the second American album by the American pop group The Walker Brothers. Released in 1966 the album was the group's fourth overall. Portrait was not released in the USA. In its place Smash Records compiled The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore as the group's second American album. This alternate album shifted around the running order even more so than Introducing the Walker Brothers altered the group's début and substituted the majority of the albums tracks leaving only "Just For a Thrill", "Old Folks", "People Get Ready" and "Take It Like a Man". The rest of the album was filled out with A-sides, B-sides and tracks from their first EP I Need You. The final track "Don't Fight It" was never released anywhere else.
The track listing for the Walker Brothers' first British album is similar to the one for their debut American LP (Introducing the Walker Brothers), except that it's missing their first single ("Pretty Girls Everywhere"/"Doin' the Jerk") and "My Ship Is Coming In," and adds three cuts not on the U.S. release. As it happens, these three tracks are worth having, particularly the David Gates-penned ballad "The Girl I Lost in the Rain" and "First Love Never Dies," another son-of-Righteous Brothers epic that would have made a reasonable single.
Words: Richie Unterberger
Images is the third album by the American pop group The Walker Brothers. Released in 1967 the album reached number six on the UK Albums Chart. It was the last of their trio of 60s albums. They would not record together again until 1975's No Regrets. The group's musical accompaniment was directed by Reg Guest and produced by John Franz. Receiving good to mixed reviews the album was first released in both Mono and Stereo LP formats in March 1967. The album was later released on CD having been remastered and expanded in 1998. The sleeve notes were written by Alan Freeman.
20 of their best songs, including all of their hit singles. On original compositions like "Mrs. Murphy," "Archangel," "Orpheus," and "Deadlier Than The Male," Scott Walker unveils the disturbed visions that would characterize his solo work, and John Walker's "Saddest Night In The World" and "I Can't Let It Happen To You" display a solid writing talent that he was sadly unable to develop into a solo career of his own.
Words: Richie Unterberger
Including both of The Walker Brothers' big hits ("The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Any More," "Make It Easy on Yourself"), and highlights from Scott Walker's first four solo albums, No Regrets: The Best of the Walker Brothers is a fine overview of Walker's more pop-oriented music, containing the majority of his best-known songs including "Joanna," "Lights of Cincinnati," "Boy Child," "Montague Terrace in Blue," "Jackie," and "If You Go Away," plus one of the best songs from the Walkers' '70s reunion ("No Regrets").
Words: Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Everything under the sun from the Walker Brothers' studio output is indeed here on this five-CD box set. It not only has everything from their mid-'60s prime on the first three CDs, but also the more neglected (though considerably less impressive) three albums or so they did in the mid- to late '70s after reuniting. There are also 13 previously unreleased tracks from 1965-1967, as well as a 48-page booklet with a historical essay and oodles of photos and memorabilia. Naturally, like many completist box sets, this isn't for everyone; there's much superb material, but also a good deal of also-ran cuts and covers. Too, the 1970s material is not only often rather dull pop (sometimes with slight country overtones), but not too similar or compatible with the lush 1960s productions. Plus, to be technical, it doesn't have everything the Walker Brothers issued, lacking the live album they recorded in Japan in 1968 (which, as of the release of this box set, still had not made it to CD). Focusing on the positive, however, this has a lot of quality music besides their familiar hits (which are also all included, of course). The R&B and soul covers the brothers sang to pad out their releases may not have been their forte, and sometimes the pop ballads were gushy, but Scott Walker's voice (and John Walker's second vocals) usually at least made them pleasant on some level. As for the booming, brooding ballads (with nods to Phil Spector and the Righteous Brothers) at which they excelled, there are plenty of those, including "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore," "After the Lights Go Out," "Another Tear Falls," "In My Room," "Everything Under the Sun," "Just Say Goodbye," "Deadlier Than the Male," and others. A few other songs have seeds of Scott Walker's more serious, arty side ("Archangel," "Mrs. Murphy," "Orpheus," "Experience"), and John Walker takes a nice lead vocal on one of their best obscure tracks, "I Can't Let It Happen to You."
Words: Richie Unterberger
The Who, Dusty Springfield, Chuck Berry, Dave Berry, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Animals, Petula Clark, Peggy Lee, Tom Jones, Manfred Mann, the Hollies and many more stars. Around 90% of the music is well known on this 2 disc set of 50 songs. As a baby boomer - born January 1947 - this was my era for music and this album has some great tracks, a lot not found on a lot of other sounds of the 60's. Sorry, but a lot of the record producers have given the impression that in the decade 0f the 60's there was only a few hundred records released, not the thousands that actually were. This one is different, so buy it sit back relax eyes closed and be transported back to the 60's. A must have for that era music fans.
Words: Don Hawkwind
The Walker Brothers intended recording the second of their comeback albums in Nashville. They returned from the sessions with just one demo and a burning hatred for everything they found there. "It's a place you go when you want to die," John Walker snapped, and the trio set to work in London instead. Lines, titled for the cocaine flavoring of the opening track, emerged a better balanced, but ultimately no more successful album than its predecessor, No Regrets. Still uncertain of their true role in the exciting world of mid-1970s pop, the Walkers remained torn between the big balladeering which had served them so well in the past, and the more experimental (or, at least, new) stylings which Scott, at least, was imbibing elsewhere. The end result erred on the side of caution, and painted the group firmly within the realms of middle-of-the-road radio fodder. The sacrifice, however, clearly rankled. Even on autopilot, Scott Walker can sing the pants off most other vocalists. But you can still tell that he is on autopilot, and so "Inside of You," Boz Scaggs' "We're All Alone," and "Lines" itself simply stumble around in search of some energy, then curl up and die before they reach the last chorus. Indeed, when the best song on a Walker Brothers album turns out to be one of John's efforts ("Taking It All in Stride"), you know you're in trouble. Maybe they should have stayed in Nashville after all.
Words: Dave Thompson
No Regrets is the fourth album by the American pop group The Walker Brothers. The album was released in 1975 and was the group's first together since 1967. It reached number forty-nine on the UK Albums Chart and includes the single "No Regrets". The single backed with the non-album B-side "Remember Me" became the group's final significant hit single, reaching #7 in the UK Singles Chart in early 1976. The album was significantly different from the group's 60s work. While the arrangements were still grandiose and often utilised an orchestra, the general musical styles were Country and Pop music. The album was also their first not to include original compositions by either Scott Walker or John Walker. John Walker's only new song "Remember Me" was included as the B-side to "No Regrets". The group's following album Lines did include a lone John Walker composition under a pseudonym, Scott however would not contribute new songs until 1978's Nite Flights.