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PASSINGS: John Walker

John Walker dies at 67; founding member of the Walker Brothers

May 10, 2011
  • The Walker Brothers, left to right: John, Gary and Scott Engel, at Finsbury Park Astoria in London on the start of a tour in 1967.
The Walker Brothers, left to right: John, Gary and Scott Engel, at Finsbury… (Associated Press )

John Walker, 67, a guitarist and singer who was one of the founding members of the Walker Brothers, a 1960s rock band whose biggest hit was "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)," died of liver cancer Saturday in Los Angeles, according to his personal assistant, Polly Klemmer.

Walker and two other Americans, bassist Scott Engel and drummer Gary Leeds, moved to London in 1964 and called themselves the Walker Brothers, each adopting Walker as his surname, although they were not related. They had instant success as teen idols in the United Kingdom with their first British recording, 1964's "Love Her," and a string of hits quickly followed, including "Make It Easy on Yourself" and "My Ship Is Comin' In."

The Walker Brothers' singles "specialized in high melodrama, brilliantly augmented by string arrangements," according to the Encyclopedia of Popular Music. In the United States, the band made Billboard's top 20 pop charts with "Make It Easy on Yourself" in 1965 and "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)" in 1966.

The band broke up in 1967, with the members embarking on solo careers, but had a brief reunion in the mid-1970s. Walker returned to the United States in the 1980s.

Born John Maus in New York in 1943, he moved with his family to California as a youngster. He learned to play the guitar as a teenager and began using the name Walker professionally when he was 17. Walker and Engel regularly played at Gazzari's on the Sunset Strip before joining Leeds and moving to Britain.

-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports

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