I lost track of the Walker Brothers after about 1976, following their reunion album No Regrets, which wasn’t even released in the States, a weird sort of irony given the fact that the Walkers, apart from not being brothers and not being named Walker, were based in Los Angeles but made a far bigger splash in the UK; for the most part, Mercury Records was content to let us fools think they were a British Invasion act. (Fontana, a Mercury subsidiary in those days, put out a 1967 compilation album called England’s Greatest Hits, which actually contained a Walker Brothers track.)
“No Regrets,” the song, was a late-Sixties Tom Rush number that Scott Walker imbued with enough pathos to support both Charles Aznavour and George Jones. Its failure to get traction in America is a tragedy.
The Walkers — Scott Engel, Gary Leeds and John Maus, although John had adopted the Walker surname on his own before joining up — were at least given decent material. The orchestral wash of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David ballad “Make It Easy On Yourself,” with Scott’s vocals riding across the top, was good enough to buy the track some chart action, maybe even good enough to make you forget that Jerry Butler had recorded it earlier.
The second Big Hit was a cover of a Frankie Valli solo track that went nowhere. Given the same sort of orchestral sweetening as before, plus my favorite non-Hal Blaine drum part ever, it simply had to be a hit:
Number thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100. They’d never see that chart again. All three of them recorded solo material, though only Scott had much success; John died in 2011, and Scott died last week.