Speaking of eyeballs …
The cover to Scott Walker’s classic Scott 3 LP, released in 1969 by Philips/Fontana.
The image of the brooding artiste as seen through the heavily mascaraed eye of a female admirer pretty much summed up Walker’s status as a pop idol and his increasing attempts to distance himself from that particular persona.
(It’s no accident that Walker’s face is dwarfed by the shot of the rather monstrous, unblinking eye…)
The music itself reinforces Walker’s disconnect, as the album is dominated by beautifully orchestrated, self-penned paeans to broken romance and social alienation like “It’s Raining Today,” “Winter Night” and “Two Ragged Soldiers.”
As if to hammer the point home, the album concludes with three songs by the 20th Century’s undisputed king of pain, Jacques Brel … including the viciously morbid “Funeral Tango.”
Walker released another fine album of orchestral pop, the logically titled Scott 4, before spending much of the ’70s in the musical wilderness. He eventually re-emerged in the 1980s with the more progressive Climate Of Hunter. Walker has subsequently released an album or so every decade that redefines the meaning of “avant garde.”
Fans interested in hearing where David Bowie, Nick Cave and other brooding crooners gained inspiration should definitely seek out Walker’s first four LPs. The mysterious recluse first glimpsed on the cover of “Scott 3,” however, is best heard on 1995’s Tilt and 2006’s The Drift.
Beware. They ain’t easy listening …