John Maus, better known as John Walker of The Walker Brothers, died on Saturday at his home in Los Angeles. According to his personal assistant, Polly Klemmer, he had been diagnosed with liver cancer in December 2010.
The Walker Brothers were an American pop group who found considerable success in the UK in the ’60s, with nine charting singles and three charting albums. By comparison, only three of The Walker Brothers’ singles charted in the US, none of them cracking the top ten. Their best known songs, “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” and “Make It Easy on Yourself,” were both #1 hits in the UK, but only reached #13 and #16 in the US, respectively.
Much like The Righteous Brothers or The Doobie Brothers, the Walkers were not actually brothers. Gary Leeds, Scott Engel and John Maus all changed their last name to Walker in order to form the group. All of them continued to use the Walker pseudonym throughout their careers, even after The Walker Brothers’ disbanding; Gary Walker formed Gary Walker and The Rain, and Scott Walker had a rich and storied solo career that continues to this day.
John Walker had a moderately successful solo career in the late ’60s and early ’70s; a highlight was the 1967 song “Annabella,” co-written with Graham Nash, which reached #24 on the UK singles chart. Though The Walker Brothers originally split up in 1968, a mid-’70s reunion was met with some acclaim, producing three more albums and one more top 10 UK single.
After The Walker Brothers’ reunion ended, Walker pursued a variety of interests, including writing and composing for other artists, building a recording studio, creating and selling customized guitars, forming a publishing company, and working as a technical consultant for manufacturing companies.
Over the past 20 years, he toured England extensively and also released four more records: 2000’s ‘You,’ 2004’s ‘The Silver Sixties Tour 2004,’ and 2007’s ‘Just For You’ and ‘Songs of Christmas and Inspiration.’ John Walker was married four times, including to his current wife, Cynthia, who sometimes sang with him on tour.
John is survived by Cynthia, his sister Judy, and several children and grandchildren.