PASSINGS: John Walker

John Walker, 67, a guitarist and singer who was one of the founding members of

a 1960s rock band whose biggest hit was

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


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

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


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