When Scott Walker recorded this, his first solo album, he was 23 years old and sounded about two hundred. He was rich, handsome, absurdly famous - and he hated it. Though the Walker Brothers, the band his cavernous croon decorated, specialised in lavishly over-produced, heroically lachrymose ballads (Make it Easy on Yourself, The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore), any subtlety they attempted was being lost beneath the screams of their teenage audiences. Scott Walker took to spending his days in darkened hotel rooms and becoming steadily obsessed with the work of legendarily louche belgian songwriter Jacques Brel.
On the cover of Scott, a sunglass-wearing Walker stares tetchily at his shoes, as if the merest intrusion of a camera was, by this point, becoming intolerable. He needn't have looked so glum: the sleeve contained a masterpiece. of the 12 tracks on Scott, three were written by Walker, three by Brel and the rest by other famously consumptive writers such as Tim Hardin and Kurt Weil. Walker sang all of them like they were his valedictory message to humanity, finding greater depths than ever in his awesome voice, and drenching the whole thing in great surges of strings. This is a classic, which generations of self-consciously misunderstood young men have clasped close to their hearts ever since.