The Guardian are doing this thing at the moment where they're getting their writers to talk about their favourite albums. Bob Stanley has just written about "Fire Escape in the Sky", the 1981 compilation album of Scott Walker songs that was put together by Julian Cope (of all people).
Debate is raging in the comments, but most people think that it was this album that helped put a much-overlooked genius back onto people's radar. I discovered Walker through a different compilation album -"Boy Child" - after my friend Mark introduced me to that incredible honeyed baritone by playing me "The Seventh Seal" and "Jackie" in my first year at University in the early 1990s. Until that point, once I had recovered from an early dalliance with heavy metal, I had been in the grips of the usual adolescent obsession with Morrissey and The Smiths. I can hardly claim that I was cured of that particular problem (is there a cure?), but Scott Walker remains my favourite ever singer and has been a staple earworm provider for many years.
Perhaps symbolic of his relative obscurity, it used to be almost impossible to find any Scott Walker songs on YouTube. That's changed recently, perhaps as a result of the reasonably successful 2006 documentary film about him, "30 Century Man". After reading the article on the Guardian, I was inspired to have a look on YouTube to watch a few videos of the great man performing back in the day. Instead, I was astonished to discover that Walker had apparently recorded an alternative theme tune to the 1999 James Bond film, "The World is Not Enough". The song, "Only Myself to Blame", was written by David Arnold and was sadly never used and featured Walker reverting to the crooning style that he seemed to have put behind him for good.
Here it is too, this time set against the opening credits to another Bond film, "Die Another Day". Better than the Madonna or Garbage songs they did use for those films, I think, although hardly as commercial. Maybe everyone already knew this, but it was news to me.
A Scott Walker Bond theme? Imagine that.
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