Part of getting old is dealing with people dying. Thankfully, this does not include people very close to me, but celebrities I am fond of have been dying at an alarming rate. They’ve been really good ones, especially musicians. I’m not the biggest Bowie fan, but I get that he’s a legend of course.
But the personal ones that hit me the most were Prince and Chris Cornell. Both prescription drugs, as I recall. But they both played music that touched me. Honestly, take a moment to listen to these:
Soundgarden – Fell on Black Days
Prince – Little Red Corvette
Audioslave – Like a Stone
Prince -Purple Rain
Of course, both also did sexy, high energy music as well. But that’s the kind of stuff that really touched me over the years.
Anyway, this isn’t really about them. They both died a couple of years ago now. More recently – after I was already pretty thrown by the untimely demise of Keith Flint – Scott Walker died.
Who was Scott Walker? Well, here you go:
In a nutshell, nobody else in the history of recorded music has someone been in a band that was as big as the Beatles, split them up at nearly the height of their powers and gone on a run of magical psychedelic masterpieces, before then reforming the band and putting out music that would influence Bowie’s best era, and spend the last few decades of is life releasing legitimately challenging, artful pieces of music.
In the mid 90s, he was up there with the best younger artists, like Tricky, Massive Attack or Swans. In 2006 (yeah, he averaged an album per decade for a while), he released The Drift, which was my real introduction to him. He was so in tune with experimentation and darkness that he was a key part in what I think was the best sunn(o))) album, Soused. And, for the whole time that he was releasing music, his singing was impeccable. Like, seriously brilliant. I suppose because he refused to perform live and made albums at glacial pace.
Who else has there ever been like Scott Walker? He was initially not even a singer, opting to be the bassist in his first band. Thank goodness someone decided that a ballad required his deep voice. That decision pretty much changed “pop” music forever. We’re all going to miss him.