LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - John Walker, a member of the 1960s pop trio the Walker Brothers, has died in Los Angeles, a statement on his web site said.
He was 67, and had reportedly been suffering from liver cancer. He died at his home on Saturday evening.
The Walker Brothers — who were not brothers, nor named Walker in real life — enjoyed bigger success in Britain than in their native United States. Bandmate Scott Walker retains a large cult following across Europe.
The group topped the U.K. charts with covers of “Make It Easy On Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore.” The songs peaked at No. 16 and No. 13, respectively, in the U.S.
They formed in Hollywood in 1964, and promptly moved to London where they secured a recording contract. Their version of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Make it Easy On Yourself,” first popularized by soul singer Jerry Butler, was released in 1965. “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore,” first sung by Frankie Valli, came out the following year.
They broke up in 1968, but a mid-1970s reunion yielded a top-10 U.K. hit with a version of Tom Rush’s “No Regrets.” All told, the group sold more than 23 million records, according to Walker’s Web site.
John Walker was born John Maus in New York City in 1943, and raised in the Los Angeles area. After working as an actor and session musician, he formed the Walker Brothers with Noel Engel (Scott Walker) and Gary Leeds (Gary Walker). His role as lead vocalist was gradually taken over by Scott Walker.
“He was also a fantastic guitarist which a lot of people didn’t realize,” Gary Walker said in a statement. “He was a compassionate song-writer and a gentleman with lots of style.
“The three of us had the most incredible adventure together, all the time not realizing that we were part of pop history in the making. His music will live on, and therefore so will John,” he added.
Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Jill Serjeant