A Selection of the Flat-Out Weirdest Careers in Music

As we noted yesterday, we’ve been going quietly gaga about the new Scott Walker record ever since we got a copy of it a few weeks back. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Bish Bosch is that, weird as it is — and, mark our words, it’s really fucking weird — it’s still not as strange as the career trajectory of the man who made it. Walker’s journey from the fresh-faced MOR pop idol of his Walker Brothers years to the experimental maverick who’s just made what’s arguably his best album yet at the age of 69 is one of music’s most unlikely stories, and got us thinking about other unusual career trajectories. We’ve put together a selection of our favorites, so click through and let us know what you make of it all.

Scott Walker

Walker swam against the tide from the very beginning — he went the other way across the Atlantic at the height of the British Invasion, and has been based in the UK ever since. He enjoyed an initial rush of success with his band The Walker Brothers, before comprehensively torpedoing his commercial appeal with misunderstood masterpiece Scott 4 in 1969. As a result of that album’s failure, he retreated into MOR meanderings for a while, and then disappeared all together, quitting live performance in 1978. And then, suddenly, he was back in 1984 with Climate of Hunter, an album that’d mark his slow transition into experimental weirdness beginning in earnest. From there, he’s only gotten stranger. It’d be 11 years until his next album, 1995’s remarkable Tilt, and another decade until the even stranger The Drift. This means that it’s been a relatively short wait for Bish Bosch — god only knows what he’ll do next, but we’re sure it’ll be worth hearing.