The Walker Brothers were three men in their early 20's who formed a group on the West Coast in the mid-60's then went to the United Kingdom, where they enjoyed more success than they did in the United States.
The members of the group were Scott Engel on lead vocals and bass guitar, John Maus on guitar and vocals, and drummer Gary Leeds. They came together in Los Angeles in 1964 and formed the group. Gary Leeds had toured England with American singer P. J. Proby who enjoyed far more success in the U.K. than he had in the U.S.; Leeds suggested to the Walker Brothers that they try the same thing. The formula worked and they put nine songs in the top thirty in the U.K., two of which were successful on the U.S. charts.
British rock fans noticed their rugged good looks and the band members developed a production style that borrowed heavily from that of American record producer Phil Spector. In late 1965 they had a number one hit on the British charts with Make It Easy On Yourself, and followed with another that reached that spot early the following year with The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine [Anymore] and My Ship Is Coming In. It was the first two of these that reached the top twenty in the United States, but they were to be the group's only hits stateside. Many Americans mistakenly thought that the Walker Brothers was a British Invasion band. In Britain, their shows were attended by fans who went into a frenzie.
Scott Engel achieved the status of a teen idol in Great Britain, although his introverted ways and nervousness did not suit him well for such a role. The Walker Brothers recorded a number of ballads from 1965 to 1967 and had several albums climb the U.K. charts, including Portrait, Take It Easy with the Walker Brothers, and Images. Pressures mounted as their star rose, and eventually the group disbanded in 1967 and each of the three members struck out on his own. Only one met with success -- Scott Engel, who billed himself as Scott Walker. He covered some of the records of singer/songwriter Jacques Brel, including Jackie which was a hit in the U.K. for Scott in 1967.
John Maus was married for a time to Kathy Young, who had had a top ten hit of her own in the U.S. with A Thousand Stars when she was fifteen years old. They had known each other in Los Angeles.
The Walker Brothers reunited in 1976 and in 1978 put their final top ten record on the U.K. charts with No Regrets. There are several albums available that are compilations of their hits. John Walker has continued as a solo performer into the 21st century, releasing a CD as recently as 2005. He has a web site at www.johnwalkerinternational.com. Gary Walker has also set up a web site, which you will find at www.gary-walker.net.
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