Jacques Brel
Overview
Jacques Brel was a Belgian
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 singer-songwriter
Singer-songwriter
Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose and sing their own musical material including lyrics and melodies. As opposed to contemporary popular music singers who write their own songs, the term singer-songwriter describes a distinct form of artistry, closely associated with the...

 who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following in France initially, and later throughout the world. He was widely considered a master of the modern chanson
Chanson
A chanson is in general any lyric-driven French song, usually polyphonic and secular. A singer specialising in chansons is known as a "chanteur" or "chanteuse" ; a collection of chansons, especially from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, is also known as a chansonnier.-Chanson de geste:The...

. Although he recorded most of his songs in French, he became a major influence on English-speaking songwriters and performers such as David Bowie
David Bowie
David Bowie is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s...

, Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen
Leonard Norman Cohen, is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality and interpersonal relationships...

, and Rod McKuen
Rod McKuen
Rod McKuen is an American poet, songwriter, composer, and singer. He was one of the best-selling poets in the United States during the late 1960s. Throughout his career, McKuen produced a wide range of recordings, which included popular music, spoken word poetry, film soundtracks, and classical music...

. English translations of his songs were recorded by many top performers in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, including Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson , known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records...

, Judy Collins
Judy Collins
Judith Marjorie "Judy" Collins is an American singer and songwriter, known for her eclectic tastes in the material she records ; and for her social activism. She is an alumna of the University of Colorado.-Musical career:Collins was born and raised in Seattle, Washington...

, John Denver
John Denver
Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. , known professionally as John Denver, was an American singer/songwriter, activist, and humanitarian. After growing up in numerous locations with his military family, Denver began his music career in folk music groups in the late 1960s. His greatest commercial success...

, the Kingston Trio, Nina Simone
Nina Simone
Eunice Kathleen Waymon , better known by her stage name Nina Simone , was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music...

, Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

, Scott Walker
Scott Walker (singer)
Scott Walker, born Noel Scott Engel on January 9, 1943 is an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, and the former lead singer of The Walker Brothers. Despite being American born, Walker's chart success has largely come in the United Kingdom, where his first four solo albums...

, and Andy Williams
Andy Williams
Howard Andrew "Andy" Williams is an American singer who has recorded 18 Gold- and three Platinum-certified albums. He hosted The Andy Williams Show, a TV variety show, from 1962 to 1971, as well as numerous television specials, and owns his own theater, the Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri,...

.
Encyclopedia
Jacques Brel was a Belgian
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 singer-songwriter
Singer-songwriter
Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose and sing their own musical material including lyrics and melodies. As opposed to contemporary popular music singers who write their own songs, the term singer-songwriter describes a distinct form of artistry, closely associated with the...

 who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following in France initially, and later throughout the world. He was widely considered a master of the modern chanson
Chanson
A chanson is in general any lyric-driven French song, usually polyphonic and secular. A singer specialising in chansons is known as a "chanteur" or "chanteuse" ; a collection of chansons, especially from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, is also known as a chansonnier.-Chanson de geste:The...

. Although he recorded most of his songs in French, he became a major influence on English-speaking songwriters and performers such as David Bowie
David Bowie
David Bowie is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s...

, Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen
Leonard Norman Cohen, is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality and interpersonal relationships...

, and Rod McKuen
Rod McKuen
Rod McKuen is an American poet, songwriter, composer, and singer. He was one of the best-selling poets in the United States during the late 1960s. Throughout his career, McKuen produced a wide range of recordings, which included popular music, spoken word poetry, film soundtracks, and classical music...

. English translations of his songs were recorded by many top performers in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, including Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson , known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records...

, Judy Collins
Judy Collins
Judith Marjorie "Judy" Collins is an American singer and songwriter, known for her eclectic tastes in the material she records ; and for her social activism. She is an alumna of the University of Colorado.-Musical career:Collins was born and raised in Seattle, Washington...

, John Denver
John Denver
Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. , known professionally as John Denver, was an American singer/songwriter, activist, and humanitarian. After growing up in numerous locations with his military family, Denver began his music career in folk music groups in the late 1960s. His greatest commercial success...

, the Kingston Trio, Nina Simone
Nina Simone
Eunice Kathleen Waymon , better known by her stage name Nina Simone , was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music...

, Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

, Scott Walker
Scott Walker (singer)
Scott Walker, born Noel Scott Engel on January 9, 1943 is an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, and the former lead singer of The Walker Brothers. Despite being American born, Walker's chart success has largely come in the United Kingdom, where his first four solo albums...

, and Andy Williams
Andy Williams
Howard Andrew "Andy" Williams is an American singer who has recorded 18 Gold- and three Platinum-certified albums. He hosted The Andy Williams Show, a TV variety show, from 1962 to 1971, as well as numerous television specials, and owns his own theater, the Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri,...

. In French-speaking countries, Brel was also a successful actor, appearing in ten films. He also directed two films, one of which, Le Far West, was nominated for the Palme d'Or
Palme d'Or
The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

 at the Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

 in 1973. Jacques Brel has sold over 25 million records worldwide, and is the third best-selling Belgian recording artist of all time.

Early life

Jacques Romain Georges Brel was born on 8 April 1929 in Schaarbeek
Schaarbeek
Schaerbeek or Schaarbeek is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. The first mention of the name was Scarenbecca, recorded in a document from the Bishop of Cambrai in 1120...

, Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 to Romain Brel and Elisabeth Lambertine Brel. Although his family spoke French, they were of Flemish
Flemish people
The Flemings or Flemish are the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Belgium, where they are mostly found in the northern region of Flanders. They are one of two principal cultural-linguistic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons...

 descent, with some of the family originating from Zandvoorde
Zandvoorde (Zonnebeke)
Zandvoorde is a village in the Belgian province of West Flanders and a part of the municipality of Zonnebeke. Zandvoorde is a rural village, in the rolling landscape of the southern part of the province.-History:...

, near Ypres
Ypres
Ypres is a Belgian municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the city of Ypres and the villages of Boezinge, Brielen, Dikkebus, Elverdinge, Hollebeke, Sint-Jan, Vlamertinge, Voormezele, Zillebeke, and Zuidschote...

. His father worked in an import-export firm, and later became co-director of a company that manufactured cardboard. Jacques and his older brother Pierre grew up in an austere environment, attending a Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 primary school run by the Saint-Viateur Brothers. They were also members of the local Cub Scouts troop. The family lived at 138 Avenue du Diamant in Schaerbeek, one of the 19 Brussels communes. Jacques was close to his mother, fascinated by her generosity and sense of humor, which he inherited.

In 1941, his parents enrolled Jacques at the Saint-Louis College, at rue du Marais, near the Botanical Garden of Brussels
Botanical Garden of Brussels
The Botanical Garden of Brussels stands on Rue Royale, near the Northern Quarter financial district in Brussels.Originally founded in 1826 and partly designed by architect Tilman-François Suys, the main orangery is composed of a central rotunda with a dome, and two side aisles with windows at the...

. Although he did poorly in many subjects, he showed a talent for writing. He helped set up the Saint-Louis College Drama Club, and took on his first stage roles with great enthusiasm. He wrote short stories, poems, and essays. In 1944, at the age of 15, Jacques began playing the guitar. The following year, he formed his own theatre group with friends and began writing plays.

Brel was never a good student, failing many of his exams. In August 1947, at the age of 18, Jacques went to work at his father's cardboard factory. To offset the boredom of his daily office routine, he joined a local Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 youth organization, La Franche Cordée, which was dedicated to philanthropic work. In 1948, Brel also enrolled for part-time military service. By 1949, Brel become president of La Franche Cordée, and produced a number of benefit plays for the organization, including Saint Exupéry
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry , officially Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint Exupéry , was a French writer, poet and pioneering aviator. He became a laureate of France's highest literary awards, and in 1939 was the winner of the U.S. National Book Award...

's Le Petit Prince.

While working at La Franche Cordée, Brel met his future wife, Thérèse Michielsen, known to her friends as Miche. On 1 June 1950, Jacques and Miche were married at Laeken, a Brussels commune. On 6 December 1951, Miche gave birth to their first daughter, Chantal.

In 1952, Brel began writing songs and performing them at family gatherings and in Brussels' cabaret circuit. His family and friends were not supportive of Brel's stark lyrics and violent, emotional performances. That year he performed on a local radio station for the first time.

1953–1959

In January 1953, Brel performed at the cabaret La Rose Noire in Brussels. In February he signed a contract with Philips Records
Philips Records
Philips Records is a record label that was founded by Dutch electronics company Philips. It was started by "Philips Phonographische Industrie" in 1950. Recordings were made with popular artists of various nationalities and also with classical artists from Germany, France and Holland. Philips also...

 and recorded his first 78 rpm record, "La foire" (The Fair), which was released in March. The talent scout and artistic director at the record company, Jacques Canetti
Jacques Canetti
Nissim Jacques Canetti was a French music executive and a famous talent agent, widely credited as being the saviour of French chanson . His brother was the Nobel Prize-winning author, Elias Canetti.- References :...

, invited Brel to move to Paris. Despite his family's objections and the added pressure of raising a second daughter, France, born on 12 July, Brel left Brussels for Paris in the fall of 1953.

In Paris, Brel worked hard to get his career off the ground. He stayed at the Hotel Stevens and gave guitar lessons to artist-dancer Francesco Frediani to pay his rent. He found work on the cabaret circuit at venues such as L'Ecluse, L'Echelle de Jacob, and in Jacques Canetti's cabaret Les Trois Baudets.

In 1954, Brel competed in the music contest Grand Prix de la Chanson in Knokke-le-Zoute, finishing a disappointing 27th out of 28 participants. One positive result of the experience was that the French star Juliette Gréco
Juliette Gréco
Juliette Gréco, — also Michelle – is a French actress and popular chanson singer.-Early life and family:Juliette Gréco was born in Montpellier to a Corsican father and a mother who became active in the Résistance, in the Hérault département of southern France. She was raised by her maternal...

 requested to sing one of Brel's songs, "Ça va le diable" (There goes the devil), at her upcoming concert at the prestigious Olympia music-hall. She went on to record the song that spring. In July 1954, Brel made his first appearance at the prestigious Olympia Theatre in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. Later that summer, Brel embarked on his first French tour, appearing on the bill with French singers Dario Moreno
Darío Moreno
Darío Moreno was a Turkish polyglot singer of Jewish origin, as well as an accomplished composer, lyricist and guitarist, who was born in Aydın, Turkey, in 1921, and who attained fame and made a remarkable career centered in France which also included films, during the fifties and the...

, Philippe Clay
Philippe Clay
Philippe Clay, born Philippe Mathevet, was a French mime artist, singer and actor.He was known for his tall and slim silhouette and for his interpretations of songs by Charles Aznavour, Claude Nougaro, Jean-Roger Caussimon, Boris Vian, Serge Gainsbourg, Jean Yanne, Léo Ferré, Jacques Datin,...

, and Catherine Sauvage
Catherine Sauvage
Catherine Sauvage , born 26 May 1929 in Nancy, France and died on 20 March 1998 in Bry-sur-Marne was a French singer and actress.- Early life :...

. By the end of the year, Philips
Philips Records
Philips Records is a record label that was founded by Dutch electronics company Philips. It was started by "Philips Phonographische Industrie" in 1950. Recordings were made with popular artists of various nationalities and also with classical artists from Germany, France and Holland. Philips also...

 released his debut album, a nine-song, 10-inch LP called Jacques Brel et ses Chansons (Jacques Brel and his songs).

In February 1955, Brel met Georges Pasquier (known as Jojo) who would become the singer's closest friend, manager, and personal chauffeur. He began singing with a number of Christian associations, which later led to his being called, "Abbé Brel". In March, Brel's wife and children joined him in France and the family settled in the Paris suburb of Montreuil-sous-Bois at the rue du Moulin à Vent. In June, Brel toured France again with Canetti's show Les Filles de Papa, which included Françoise Dorin, Perette Soumlex, and Suzanne Gabriello
Suzanne Gabriello
Suzanne Gabriello was a French singer/actress, daughter of actor Gabriello. She was one of Jacques Brel's partners, for whom he wrote "Ne Me Quitte Pas" . Her position as a presenter at the Paris Olympia concert hall helped Brel's rise to fame...

.

In March 1956, Brel performed in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, Lausanne
Lausanne
Lausanne is a city in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and is the capital of the canton of Vaud. The seat of the district of Lausanne, the city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva . It faces the French town of Évian-les-Bains, with the Jura mountains to its north-west...

, and throughout Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

. In July, while visiting Grenoble
Grenoble
Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère...

, Brel met François Rauber
François Rauber
François Rauber was a French pianist, composer, arranger and conductor known for his works with chansonnier Jacques Brel...

, a classical pianist who would become his accompanist on future recordings. Rauber played a major role in providing Brel with the formal musical training he was lacking, and was responsible for Brel's musical arrangements. In September, Brel recorded "Quand on n'a que l'amour" (When you only have love), which would prove to be his commercial breakthrough. The song was released in November on a Philips 7-inch EP Quand on n'a que l'amour
Quand On n'a Que l'Amour
Quand on n'a que l'amour is Jacques Brel's second studio album. Also known as Jacques Brel 2, the original album was released in April 1957 by Philips . The album was reissued on 23 September 2003 under the title Quand on n'a que l'amour as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons by Barclay...

. The song reached number three on the French music charts.

In February 1957, Brel performed at the Alhambra Theatre
Alhambra (Paris)
The Alhambra is a theatre which opened in April 2008 at 21, rue Yves-Toudic in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, 300 meters from the site of the old Alhambra Maurice Chevalier.-History:...

 with Maurice Chevalier
Maurice Chevalier
Maurice Auguste Chevalier was a French actor, singer, entertainer and a noted Sprechgesang performer. He is perhaps best known for his signature songs, including Louise, Mimi, Valentine, and Thank Heaven for Little Girls and for his films including The Love Parade and The Big Pond...

, Michel Legrand
Michel Legrand
Michel Jean Legrand is a French musical composer, arranger, conductor, and pianist...

, and ballet dancer Zizi Jeanmaire
Zizi Jeanmaire
Zizi Jeanmaire is a ballet dancer and widow of renowned dancer and choreographer Roland Petit. She became famous in the 1950s after playing the title role in the ballet version of Carmen, produced in London in 1949, and went on to appear in several Hollywood films.-Background:Born in Paris,...

. In April, Brel released his second studio album, Quand on n'a que l'amour
Quand On n'a Que l'Amour
Quand on n'a que l'amour is Jacques Brel's second studio album. Also known as Jacques Brel 2, the original album was released in April 1957 by Philips . The album was reissued on 23 September 2003 under the title Quand on n'a que l'amour as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons by Barclay...

, which contained the popular title song. The album was recorded at the Théâtre de l'Apollo in Paris, with André Popp and Michel Legrand conducting. In June, Brel won the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque
Grand Prix du Disque
The Grand Prix du Disque is the premier French award for musical recordings. The award was inaugurated by l'Académie Charles Cros in 1948 and offers prizes in various categories. The categories vary from year to year, and multiple awards are often made in any one category in the same year...

 from the Académie Charles Cros. In September, he appeared on the bill in the Discorama programmme Au Palace d'Avignon with Raymond Devos
Raymond Devos
Raymond Devos was a Belgian-French humorist, stand-up comedian and clown. He is best known for his sophisticated puns and surreal humour.- Early life :...

, Pierre-Jean Vaillard, and Les Trois Ménestrels. And in November, Brel met pianist Gérard Jouannest, another talented pianist, who would accompany the singer on his many concert tours. Brel and Jouannest would also collaborate on many of Brel's future classic songs, such as "Madeleine", "La chanson des vieux amants" (Song of the old lovers), and "Les vieux" (The old ones).

In February 1958, Brel's wife Miche and their two children returned to live in Belgium, while Brel rented a room near Place de Clichy
Place de Clichy
The Place de Clichy, also known as "Place Clichy", is situated in the northwestern quadrant of Paris. It is formed by the intersection of the Boulevard de Clichy, the Avenue Clichy, the Rue Clichy, the Boulevard des Batignolles, and the Rue d'Amsterdam....

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

—a place to stay on those rare occasions when he was not touring. In March and April, Brel recorded his third album, Au Printemps (In the spring), which would be released later that year. In May, while touring Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 for the first time, Brel met Félix Leclerc
Félix Leclerc
Félix Leclerc, was a French-Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, writer, actor and Québécois political activist. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada on December 20, 1968...

. On August 23, Brel's third daughter, Isabelle, was born back in Belgium. In November, Brel gave a recital at the Halles d'Arlon in Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 with Stéphane Steeman. And in December, Brel appeared at the Olympia in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 as the supporting act to Philippe Clay
Philippe Clay
Philippe Clay, born Philippe Mathevet, was a French mime artist, singer and actor.He was known for his tall and slim silhouette and for his interpretations of songs by Charles Aznavour, Claude Nougaro, Jean-Roger Caussimon, Boris Vian, Serge Gainsbourg, Jean Yanne, Léo Ferré, Jacques Datin,...

. The pianist Gérard Jouannest and François Rauber
François Rauber
François Rauber was a French pianist, composer, arranger and conductor known for his works with chansonnier Jacques Brel...

 joined Brel on stage for this performance. Brel's incredibly emotional performance brought the house down.

In January 1959, Brel signed a new recording contract with Philips Records
Philips Records
Philips Records is a record label that was founded by Dutch electronics company Philips. It was started by "Philips Phonographische Industrie" in 1950. Recordings were made with popular artists of various nationalities and also with classical artists from Germany, France and Holland. Philips also...

. He continued to tour extensively throughout the year. On 22 February, Brel performed at the Bolivie Gala in the Solvay Casino in Couillet. In March, he starred at the Trois Baudets with Serge Gainsbourg
Serge Gainsbourg
Serge Gainsbourg, born Lucien Ginsburg was a French singer-songwriter, actor and director. Gainsbourg's extremely varied musical style and individuality make him difficult to categorize...

. In September, Brel recorded his fourth album, La Valse à Mille Temps
La Valse à Mille Temps
La Valse à Mille Temps is Jacques Brel's fourth album. Also known as Jacques Brel 4 and American Début, the album was released in 1959 by Philips...

(The waltz a thousand times as fast), with François Rauber and his orchestra. On 14 October, he appears at the Eden in Mouscron
Mouscron
Mouscron is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut. The Mouscron municipality includes the old communes of Dottignies , Luingne, and Herseaux .-Middle Ages:...

 with Raymond Devos
Raymond Devos
Raymond Devos was a Belgian-French humorist, stand-up comedian and clown. He is best known for his sophisticated puns and surreal humour.- Early life :...

. On 20 November, he sang with Charles Aznavour
Charles Aznavour
Charles Aznavour, OC is an Armenian-French singer, songwriter, actor, public activist and diplomat. Besides being one of France's most popular and enduring singers, he is also one of the best-known singers in the world...

 at the Ancienne Belgique
Ancienne Belgique
The Ancienne Belgique is a concert hall for contemporary music in Brussels, Belgium. Located in the historic heart of Brussels, it is one the leading concert venues in Belgium, hosting a wide variety of international and local acts.-The venue:...

 in Brussels. At the close of the decade, Brel had gained an impressive and enthusiastic following across France. He was so popular that he was invited to headline the end-of-year concert at the renowned Bobino Cabaret
Bobino
Bobino at 20 rue de la Gaîté, in the Montparnasse area of Paris , France, is a music hall theatre that has seen most of the biggest names of 20th century French music perform there....

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. The concert was an enormous success. During these appearances, Brel stopped accompanying himself on the guitar in order to concentrate entirely on his increasingly theatrical vocal performances.

1960–1967

In January 1960, Brel's new impressario, Charles Marouani, organised a series of international concert tours for the singer that would take him from the French provinces to the former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. From 19-24 March, he appeared at the Ancienne Belgique
Ancienne Belgique
The Ancienne Belgique is a concert hall for contemporary music in Brussels, Belgium. Located in the historic heart of Brussels, it is one the leading concert venues in Belgium, hosting a wide variety of international and local acts.-The venue:...

 in Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

. On 19 October, he performed at the Shepheard's Hotel
Shepheard's Hotel
Shepheard's Hotel was the leading hotel in Cairo and one of the most celebrated hotels in the world between the middle of the 19th century and 1952....

 in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

. The year's concert tours brought him international recognition and popularity. His appearances initiated the first United States release of a Jacques Brel recording, American Début, released on Columbia Records
Columbia Records
Columbia Records is an American record label, owned by Japan's Sony Music Entertainment, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company...

. It was a compilation of previously-released Philips
Philips Records
Philips Records is a record label that was founded by Dutch electronics company Philips. It was started by "Philips Phonographische Industrie" in 1950. Recordings were made with popular artists of various nationalities and also with classical artists from Germany, France and Holland. Philips also...

 tracks.

In January 1961, Brel made a triumphant return to the Bobino Theatre
Bobino
Bobino at 20 rue de la Gaîté, in the Montparnasse area of Paris , France, is a music hall theatre that has seen most of the biggest names of 20th century French music perform there....

. By now, accordionist Jean Corti had joined Brel's touring group. Between 22 February and 12 April, he recorded his fifth album for Philips
Philips Records
Philips Records is a record label that was founded by Dutch electronics company Philips. It was started by "Philips Phonographische Industrie" in 1950. Recordings were made with popular artists of various nationalities and also with classical artists from Germany, France and Holland. Philips also...

 simply titled, No. 5, which introduced the future Brel classics "Marieke" and "Le moribond" (The dying man). In March, Brel toured Canada again. In Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, he met French actress and singer Clairette Oddera at her club on the rue Saint-Jacques. They would become good friends. While in Montreal, Brel appears with Raymond Devos
Raymond Devos
Raymond Devos was a Belgian-French humorist, stand-up comedian and clown. He is best known for his sophisticated puns and surreal humour.- Early life :...

 at La Comédie Canadienne. In May, Brel performed at the Kurhaus of Scheveningen in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. From 12-29 October, Brel returned to the Olympia Theatre in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 with star billing, after Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich was a German-American actress and singer.Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself, professionally and characteristically. In the Berlin of the 1920s, she acted on the stage and in silent films...

 cancelled at the last minute. Many critics point to these inspired performances as the turning point in Brel's career. The audiences responded with rapturous applause, and the critics proclaimed him as the new star of French chanson
Chanson
A chanson is in general any lyric-driven French song, usually polyphonic and secular. A singer specialising in chansons is known as a "chanteur" or "chanteuse" ; a collection of chansons, especially from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, is also known as a chansonnier.-Chanson de geste:The...

.

In March 1962, Brel left Philips Records
Philips Records
Philips Records is a record label that was founded by Dutch electronics company Philips. It was started by "Philips Phonographische Industrie" in 1950. Recordings were made with popular artists of various nationalities and also with classical artists from Germany, France and Holland. Philips also...

 and signed a five-year contract with Barclay Records
Barclay Records
Barclay Records is a French record label founded in the mid-1950s by Eddie Barclay under the alias, Edouard Ruault. Eddie Barclay also founded the Riviera label in the early-1950s....

. The contract would be renewed in 1967 for another six years. His first album release for his new label was a live album, Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1961
Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1961
Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1961 is Jacques Brel's first live album. Also known as A L'Olympia , the album was reissued on 23 September 2003 under the title Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1961 as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons by Barclay .- Track listing :# "Les prénoms de...

, recorded the previous year. On 6 March, he recorded his first song for Barclay, "Le plat pays" (The flat country). During the second week of March, he recorded the remaining tracks for his sixth studio album, Les Bourgeois
Les Bourgeois
Les Bourgeois is Jacques Brel's sixth studio album. Also known as Jacques Brel, the album was released in April 1962 by Barclay Records...

(The middle class). In addition to the title song and "Le plat pays", the new album contained the future Brel classics "Madeleine", "Les biches" (The does), and "La statue" (The statue). In October, Brel set up his own music publishing company, Arlequin, which was soon renamed Editions Musicales Pouchenel. Brel's wife Miche was appointed company director. In November, he recorded "Les Bigotes", "Quand maman reviendra" (When mother returns), "Filles et les chiens" (Girls and dogs), and "La Parlote" as singles.

In April 1963, Brel performed at the Bobino
Bobino
Bobino at 20 rue de la Gaîté, in the Montparnasse area of Paris , France, is a music hall theatre that has seen most of the biggest names of 20th century French music perform there....

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. In July, he headlined at the Casino in Knokke for the fifth Coupe d'Europe de Tour de Chant. During this engagement, he performed the classic "Mathilde" for the first time. Brel also returned for another triumphant engagement at the Olympia Theatre in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, performing with Isabelle Aubret
Isabelle Aubret
Isabelle Aubret is a French singer.Born as Thérèse Coquerelle in Lille, France, Aubret won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1962 representing France and singing "Un premier amour" with music composed by Claude-Henri Vic and lyrics by Roland Stephane Valade...

, who was the support act. Once again, Brel's performance was a critical and artistic success, with the audience leaping up from their seats in a standing ovation following Brel's emotional rendering of "Amsterdam".

The year 1964 brought a mix of personal tragedies and professional triumphs. On 8 January, Brel's father Romain died of bronchial pneumonia. Only two months later, on 7 March, his mother Elisabeth (nicknamed Mouky) also died. At the same time, he was given the Gold Medal of Brussels from the Tourist Information Bureau, and won a prize from the Société d’Auteurs Belge Belgische Auteurs Maatschappij (SABAM
SABAM
SABAM is the Belgian association of authors, composers and publishers. The acronym stands for "Société d’Auteurs Belge – Belgische Auteurs Maatschappij"....

). He was also awarded the French Academy's Grand Prix du Disque. Brel continued his ambitious touring schedule. By the end of the year, he released a new live album, Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1964
Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1964
Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1964 is Jacques Brel's second live album. Also known as Olympia 64, the album was reissued on 23 September 2003 under the title Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1964 as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons by Barclay...

. That year, Brel discovered a new passion, aviation. After taking flying lessons with Paul Lepanse, he purchased a small plane. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Brel's audience was growing. American poet and singer Rod McKuen
Rod McKuen
Rod McKuen is an American poet, songwriter, composer, and singer. He was one of the best-selling poets in the United States during the late 1960s. Throughout his career, McKuen produced a wide range of recordings, which included popular music, spoken word poetry, film soundtracks, and classical music...

 began translating Brel's songs into English, and the Kingston Trio recorded one of his English versions on their Time to Think album, "Seasons in the Sun", based on Brel's "Le moribond" (The dying one).
In 1965, Reprise Records
Reprise Records
Reprise Records is an American record label, founded in 1960 by Frank Sinatra. It is owned by Warner Music Group, and operated through Warner Bros. Records.-Beginnings:...

 licensed tracks from Barclay
Barclay
-People:* Barclay , people with the surname Barclay* Clan BarclayFictional* Andy Barclay, the protagonist in the first three films of the Child's Play series* Reginald Barclay, character in Star Trek: The Next Generation-Business:...

 for a United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 album titled Jacques Brel. On 25 March, Brel performed at the Kurhaus of Scheveningen in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. In October, he completed a successful five-week tour of the former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, which included a week's engagement at the Estrada Theatre in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. On 6 November, he was back in France, recording the songs "Fernand", "Les désespérés" (The despaired), and "Ces gens-là" (Those people) for Barclay
Barclay Records
Barclay Records is a French record label founded in the mid-1950s by Eddie Barclay under the alias, Edouard Ruault. Eddie Barclay also founded the Riviera label in the early-1950s....

. On 4 December, he appeared at the prestigious Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. His performance was received with high public and critical acclaim.

By 1966, Brel had grown increasingly weary of his gruelling concert schedules. In April, he toured Jibouti, Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

, Reunion Island
Réunion
Réunion is a French island with a population of about 800,000 located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France...

, and Mauritius
Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

. On 21 August, while on tour in Vittel
Vittel
Vittel is a commune in the Vosges department in Lorraine in northeastern France.Mineral water is bottled and sold here by Nestlé Waters France, under the Vittel brand.-History:...

, he revealed to his musicians his decision to retire from touring. In subsequent public statements, Brel stated that he had nothing more to give to the music world, and that he wanted to devote more time to other projects. In October 1966, Brel gave a series of farewell concerts at the Olympia in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. Thousands of devoted fans flocked to see these final performances, which took place over the course of three weeks. On 1 November, he gave his final concert at the Olympia. After a highly emotional and stunning performance, the audience's standing ovations prompted Brel to return to the stage seven times for his final bows. Brel spent the next six months fulfilling his concert commitments. On 15 November, he gave his farewell performance at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

. Later that month, he gave his final UK performance at the Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall situated on the northern edge of the South Kensington area, in the City of Westminster, London, England, best known for holding the annual summer Proms concerts since 1941....

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. During these last months of his world tour, many of Brel's close friends, including Charles Aznavour
Charles Aznavour
Charles Aznavour, OC is an Armenian-French singer, songwriter, actor, public activist and diplomat. Besides being one of France's most popular and enduring singers, he is also one of the best-known singers in the world...

, urged him to reconsider his decision to retire from singing, but Brel was adamant about his decision. On 4 December, Brel returned to Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and gave inspired performances before enthusiastic fans. By then, several English recordings of his songs were on the charts, including Damita Jo's "If You Go Away", based on "Ne me quitte pas", Judy Collins
Judy Collins
Judith Marjorie "Judy" Collins is an American singer and songwriter, known for her eclectic tastes in the material she records ; and for her social activism. She is an alumna of the University of Colorado.-Musical career:Collins was born and raised in Seattle, Washington...

' "The Dove", based on "La colombe", and Glenn Yarbrough
Glenn Yarbrough
Glenn Yarbrough is an American folk singer. He was the lead singer with The Limeliters between 1959 and 1963, and had a prolific solo career, recording on various labels.-Biography:...

's "The Women", based on "Les biches".

In January 1967, Brel finished recording songs for a new studio album, Jacques Brel 67
Jacques Brel 67
Jacques Brel 67 is Jacques Brel's ninth studio album. Originally released in 1967 by Barclay , the album was reissued on 23 September 2003 under the title Jacques Brel 67 as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons by Barclay ....

, which was released later in the year. The album included "Mon enfance" (My childhood), "Fils de..." (Sons of...), "Les bonbons 67" (The candies 67), and "La chanson des vieux amants" (Song of the old lovers). In late January, Brel returned to Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

 and gave one final performance. While in New York, he went to see Man of La Mancha
Man of La Mancha
Man of La Mancha is a musical with a book by Dale Wasserman, lyrics by Joe Darion and music by Mitch Leigh. It is adapted from Wasserman's non-musical 1959 teleplay I, Don Quixote, which was in turn inspired by Miguel de Cervantes's seventeenth century masterpiece Don Quixote...

, a musical based on Cervantes
Cervantes
-People:*Alfonso J. Cervantes , mayor of St. Louis, Missouri*Francisco Cervantes de Salazar, 16th-century man of letters*Ignacio Cervantes, Cuban composer*Jorge Cervantes, a world-renowned expert on indoor, outdoor, and greenhouse cannabis cultivation...

's novel Don Quixote, at the ANTA Washington Square Theatre
ANTA Washington Square Theatre
The ANTA Washington Square Theatre was a small theatre located on 40 West 4th St., in Greenwich Village, in New York City, and run by the American National Theater and Academy . The theater was located away from the mainstream Broadway district, and was originally designed as a prototype for the...

 in Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village, , , , .in New York often simply called "the Village", is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York City. A large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families...

. Moved by the experience, he began planning a French language production of the musical for Europe. Brel returned to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in the spring, and on 16 May 1967, he gave his final concert performance in the town of Roubaix
Roubaix
Roubaix is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It is located between the cities of Lille and Tourcoing.The Gare de Roubaix railway station offers connections to Lille, Tourcoing, Antwerp, Ostend and Paris.-Culture:...

 in northern France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. Toward the end of the year, with vague plans of sailing around the world, Brel purchased a yacht.

1968–1972

Following his retirement from the concert stage, the focus of Jacques Brel's professional life was on film. He would record only four more studio albums in the last decade of his life. In September 1968, Brel recorded the songs for the album, J'arrive
J'arrive
J'arrive is Jacques Brel's tenth studio album. Originally released in 1968 by Barclay , the album was reissued on 23 September 2003 under the title Grand Jacques as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons by Barclay ....

(I arrived), which would be released later in the year. In addition to the title song, the album included "Vesoul", "Je suis un soir d’été" (I am a summer's eve), and "Un enfant" (A child). In October 1968, Brel's L'Homme de La Mancha (Man of La Mancha) premièred in Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, with Brel playing Don Quixote and Dario Moreno
Darío Moreno
Darío Moreno was a Turkish polyglot singer of Jewish origin, as well as an accomplished composer, lyricist and guitarist, who was born in Aydın, Turkey, in 1921, and who attained fame and made a remarkable career centered in France which also included films, during the fifties and the...

 playing Sancho Panza. Moreno would die tragically only ten days before the musical's Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 première. From 23-27 November, Brel and his fellow cast-members recorded the studio album, L'Homme de la Mancha
L'Homme de la Mancha
L'Homme de la Mancha is Jacques Brel's eleventh studio album. Released in 1968, it is the cast recording of the French adaptation of The Man of la Mancha by Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion. Brel adapted the book, translated the lyrics, directed the production, and played the role of Don Quixote...

. Brel adapted the book, translated the lyrics, directed the production, and played the lead role. This was the only time he ever adapted songs by other writers or appeared in a stage musical. The album contains Brel's classic performance of "La quête" (The quest). Moreno was replaced by Robert Manuel, and the first performance at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées is a theatre at 15 avenue Montaigne. Despite its name, the theatre is not on the Champs-Élysées but nearby in another part of the 8th arrondissement of Paris....

 in Paris went ahead as planned on 11 December 1968. Brel's performance received unanimous praise. After 150 performances of L'Homme de La Mancha, Brel gave his final performance in the role of Don Quixote on 17 May 1969. He was never replaced.

In 1972, Brel signed a special 30-year contract with Barclay Records
Barclay Records
Barclay Records is a French record label founded in the mid-1950s by Eddie Barclay under the alias, Edouard Ruault. Eddie Barclay also founded the Riviera label in the early-1950s....

. Although there were no new songs to record, Barclay persuaded Brel to return to the studio to rerecord eleven of the better-known songs he cut for Philips Records
Philips Records
Philips Records is a record label that was founded by Dutch electronics company Philips. It was started by "Philips Phonographische Industrie" in 1950. Recordings were made with popular artists of various nationalities and also with classical artists from Germany, France and Holland. Philips also...

 during the early years of his music career. The result was the album Ne me quitte pas (Don't leave me), which contained the title track, "Marieke", "Les Flamandes" (The Flemish), "Quand on a que l’amour" (When you only have love), "Les biches" (The does), "Le moribond" (The dying one), "La valse à mille temps" (The waltz a thousand times as fast), and "Je ne sais pas" (I don't know). Brel's earlier youthful energy was now lovingly harnessed by his long-time colleagues, arranger Francois Raubert and pianist Gerard Jouannest.

Film career

In 1967, Brel began his film career appearing in André Cayatte
André Cayatte
André Cayatte was a French New Wave filmmaker and lawyer, who became known for his films centering on themes of crime, justice, and moral responsibility, themes which Cayatte persisted in affirming regardless of changing contemporary attitudes.Some of Cayatte's earlier films that covered these...

's Les risques du métier (Risky Business), co-starring Emmanuelle Riva
Emmanuelle Riva
Emmanuelle Riva is a French actress.Riva started her acting career on the Paris stage after having worked as a seamstress...

, Jacques Harden, and Nadine Alari. Brel also produced the soundtrack with François Rauber
François Rauber
François Rauber was a French pianist, composer, arranger and conductor known for his works with chansonnier Jacques Brel...

. The film tells the story of a teenage girl who accuses her primary schoolteacher, Jean Doucet (Brel), of trying to rape her. The police and the mayor investigate, but Doucet denies the charges. Two other students come forward to reveal more of Doucet's misconduct—one confessing to be his mistress. Doucet faces trial and hard labour if convicted. The film was released on 21 December 1967. Film critics praised Brel's performance.

In 1968, Brel appeared in his second film, La bande à Bonnot (Bonnot's Gang), directed by Philippe Fourastié, and co-starring Annie Girardot
Annie Girardot
Annie Girardot was a French actress.She began performing in 1955, making her film debut in Treize à table. Girardot won the Prix Suzanne Bianchetti in 1956, and in 1977 won the César Award for Best Actress portraying the title character in Docteur Françoise Gailland...

 and Bruno Cremer
Bruno Cremer
Bruno Jean Marie Crémer was a French actor born in Saint-Mandé, Val-de-Marne, who spent a part of his career on stage, but who also found success in the cinema and on television.- Biography :...

. Once again, Brel produced the soundtrack with François Rauber
François Rauber
François Rauber was a French pianist, composer, arranger and conductor known for his works with chansonnier Jacques Brel...

. The story is set in Paris 1911. Raymond-la-science (Brel), an anarchist, is released from prison after serving a sentence for spreading agitation among his co-workers. He meets up with his friends who live together with their families in the villa of their political leader. They get involved with the notorious Bonnot Gang—gangsters who revolt against society by robbing, stealing, and killing. The film was released on 30 October 1968.

In 1969, Brel appeared in his third film, Mon oncle Benjamin (My Uncle Benjamin), directed by Édouard Molinaro
Édouard Molinaro
Édouard Molinaro is a French film director, actor, and screenwriter. He was born in Gironde, Bordeaux.He is best known for his comedies with Louis de Funès , My Uncle Benjamin , Dracula and Son , and the Academy Award-nominated La Cage aux Folles Édouard Molinaro (born 13 May 1928) is a French...

, and co-starring Claude Jade
Claude Jade
Claude Marcelle Jorré, better known as Claude Jade , was a French actress, known for starring as Christine in François Truffaut's three films Stolen Kisses , Bed and Board and Love on the Run . Jade acted in theatre, film and television...

 and Bernard Blier
Bernard Blier
Bernard Blier was a French character actor. His rotund features and premature baldness allowed him to often play cuckolded husbands in his early career. He proved to be one of France's most versatile and sought-after character actors, performing interchangeably in comedies and dramas...

. He also produced the soundtrack. The film is period piece, set in 1750 during the time of Louis XV. Benjamin (Brel) is a country doctor in love with the beautiful innkeeper's daughter, Manette, but she refuses his advances until he is produces a marriage contract. After suffering a humiliating practical joke and condemned to prison, Benjamin escapes with Manette, who realizes she prefers happiness to a marriage contract after all. The film was released 28 November 1969.

In 1970, Brel appeared in his fourth feature film, Mont-Dragon, directed by Jean Valère and co-starring François Prévost, Paul le Person, and Catherine Rouvel
Catherine Rouvel
Catherine Rouvel is an acclaimed French actress. Her career spans from 1959 in television to 2004....

. The story involves a soldier, Georges Dormond (Brel), who seduces Germaine de Boismesnil and is subsequently driven out of the army by one of Germaine's friends who is a colonel. After Germaine's husband dies, Dormond returns to the widow's castle seeking revenge. After seducing Pierrette the maid, he reminds Germaine of their past love affair and arranges a meeting with the widow, at which he underdresses her, humiliates her, and then leaves. The orphan Marthe, who witnesses the scene, throws herself at Gaston, the colonel's orderly, to avenge her mother. Georges ridicules their feelings and forces Germaine to reveal her attachment to Pierrette, thereby causing a scandal. The film was released 16 December 1970.

In 1971, Brel appeared in his fifth feature film, Franz, the first film he directed. Brel also co-wrote the screenplay with Paul Andréota, and produced the soundtrack with François Rauber. The film co-starred Barbara, Danièle Evenou, Fernand Fabre, Serge Sauvions, Louis Navarre, Jacques Provins, and François Cadet. The film is about Léon (Brel) and Léonie (Barbara), who meet in a convalescent home for state emplyees in Blankenberge: Catherine (Danièle Evenou) is Léonie's friend. Léonie is shy and reserved while Catherine is loose and flirtatious. Most men are attracted to her vitality, but Léon is the exception. Léonie is intrigued by Léon's secretive personality. She gradually becomes attracted to his clumsy behaviour and they fall in love. The other residents, amused by this unlikely love affair, decide to obstruct their relationship which drives Léon to suicide. The film was released on 2 February 1972, and although praised by the critics, it was not a commercial success.

In 1971, Brel appeared in his sixth feature films, Les assassins de l'ordre (Law Breakers), directed by Marcel Carné
Marcel Carné
-Biography:Born in Paris, France, the son of a cabinet maker whose wife died when their son was five, Carné began his career as a film critic, becoming editor of the weekly publication, Hebdo-Films, and working for Cinémagazine and Cinémonde between 1929 and 1933. In the same period he worked in...

 and co-starring Paola Pitagora
Paola Pitagora
Paola Pitagora is an Italian film actress. She has appeared in 50 films since 1959.She was born in Parma, Italy.-Selected filmography:* Fists in the Pocket * In Search of Gregory * Revolver...

, Catherine Rouvel
Catherine Rouvel
Catherine Rouvel is an acclaimed French actress. Her career spans from 1959 in television to 2004....

, and Charles Denner
Charles Denner
Charles Denner was a French actor born to a Jewish family in Poland. During his 30-year career he worked with some of France's greatest directors of the time, including Louis Malle, Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, Costa-Gavras, Claude Lelouch and François Truffaut who gave him two of his most...

. Brel plays Bernard Level, a provincial judge, who presides over a delicate case. A man who was arrested for a minor crime died during police questioning. When Level decides to prosecute the policemen and initiates an investigation, he receives threats and intimidation from those wanting to stop the investigation. The film was released on 7 May 1971.

In 1972, Brel appeared in his seventh feature film, L'aventure, c'est l'aventure (The adventure, this adventure), directed by Claude Lelouch. The story follows five crooks who decide to switch from bank robbery to political kidnapping. Among their first hostages is singer Johnny Hallyday. The film was released 4 May 1972, and became a huge box office smash. While filming L'aventure c'est l'aventure on location in the Caribbean, Brel met and fell in love with a young actress and dancer by the name of Madly Bamy. Brel would spend the final years of his life with her.

In 1972, Brel appeared in his eighth feature film, Le bar de la fourche
The Bar at the Crossing
The Bar at the Crossing is a 1972 French adventure film directed by Alain Levent. It was entered into the 22nd Berlin International Film Festival.- Plot :Vincent Van Horst is a hard-drinking bon viveur who loves his freedom and his women...

(The Bar at the Crossing), directed by Alain Levent
Alain Levent
Alain Levent was a French cinematographer and film director. He worked on 80 films between 1960 and 2007...

, and co-starred Rosy Varte and Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Huppert
Isabelle Anne Madeleine Huppert is a French actress who has appeared in over 90 film and television productions since 1971. She has had 14 films in official competition at the Cannes Film Festival, and won the Best Actress Award twice, for Violette Nozière and La pianiste . She is also the most...

. Brel plays Vincent Van Horst, a hard-drinking bon viveur ho loves his freedom and his women. He leaves Europe in 1916, which is torn apart by the war, and moves to Canada, intending to meet up with Maria, the only woman he ever loved. On the way to Canada, he meets a young boy who dreams about fighting in the European war. When Vincent arrives at the Bar de la Fourche, managed by Maria, he finds her looking older. He finds consolation in another woman, Annie, who looks down on him and drives Vincent and Olivier to fight a duel against each other. The film was released on 23 August 1972.

In 1973, Brel appeared in his ninth feature film, Le Far West, his second directorial effort. The film co-starred Gabriel Jabbour, Danielle Evenou, and Arlette Lindon. The story is about Jacques, a 40-year old citizen of Brussels, who meets the fakir Abracadabra who, before dying, gives him a special power. Jacques meets, Gabriel, a generous man, who dresses up as Davy Crockett, and who follows Jacques without asking questions. The two companions and other new friends set out to conquer the Far West, their childhood—just as Voltaire sought Eldorado, and Saint-Exupéry the unknown planet. The Far West they seek cannot be found, because it is an imaginary place, a piece of happiness buried in our hearts. The film was released 15 May 1973.

In 1973, Brel appeared in his tenth and final feature film, L'emmerdeur (The troublemaker), directed by Edouard Molinaro and co-starred Lino Ventura, Caroline Cellier, and Jean-Pierre Darras. Jacques Brel et François Rauber produced the soundtrack. The story is about a contract killer, Ralph Milan, who works for the Mafia. He is paid to kill Louis Randoni, whose testimony in various trials could harm the organisation. Ralph waits for his prey in his hotel room, but is interrupted by his comical neighbour, François Pignon (Brel). The film was released 20 September 1973.

Final years

By early 1973, Brel knew that he was ill. He prepared his will, leaving everything to his wife Miche. In the spring he recorded a new single, "L'enfance" (My childhood), the proceeds of which he donated to La Fondation Perce Neige, an association set up to help handicapped children. After completing his last film, L'emmerdeur, he took his daughters on a cruise. In November, he embarked on a two-month cruise across the Atlantic with five of his closest friends on the training ship Le Korrig.

The final years of Jacques Brel's life were devoting to his passion for sailing. On 28 February 1974, Brel purchased the Askoy II, a 19-meter sailing yacht weighing 42 tons. He began planning a three-year voyage to circumnavigate the world. In July, Brel set off on his world trip with Madly and his daughter, France, aboard his new yacht. In August, while sailing around the Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

, he learned of the death of his old friend Jojo. He returned to France for his friend's funeral, and stayed on to attend the September wedding of his daughter, Chantal. In October, following medical tests in the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

, Brel learned that he had a small tumour on his left lung. In November, Brel was rushed to a hospital in Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, where he underwent an operation on his left lung. He was suffering from an advanced stage of lung cancer
Lung cancer
Lung cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung in a process called metastasis into nearby tissue and, eventually, into other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in lung, known as primary...

. Knowing his days were numbered, Brel issued a statement indicating that he wished to die alone in peace.

In January 1975, after 27 days at sea, the Askoy II anchored in the Fort-de-France Bay
Fort-de-France Bay
Fort-de-France Bay is a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Martinique. It is named after Martinique's capital, Fort-de-France, the chief town on the bay....

. From February to July, Brel cruised around the West Indies before going through the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

. In November, the Askoy II reached Atuona Bay
Atuona Bay
Atuona Bay is a small inlet on the north shore of Ta‘a ‘Oa , on the southern coast of Hiva ‘Oa...

 at Hiva-Oa
Hiva-Oa
Hiva-Oa is a commune of French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The commune is in the administrative subdivision of the Marquesas Islands....

 in the Marquesas Islands
Marquesas Islands
The Marquesas Islands enana and Te Fenua `Enata , both meaning "The Land of Men") are a group of volcanic islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. The Marquesas are located at 9° 00S, 139° 30W...

 archipelago after spending 59 days crossing the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

. Jacques and Madly decided to live in the Marquesas Islands
Marquesas Islands
The Marquesas Islands enana and Te Fenua `Enata , both meaning "The Land of Men") are a group of volcanic islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. The Marquesas are located at 9° 00S, 139° 30W...

, living on the Askoy II off the island of Hiva-Oa
Hiva-Oa
Hiva-Oa is a commune of French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The commune is in the administrative subdivision of the Marquesas Islands....

.

In 1976, Brel returned to Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 twice for medical examinations. Against the advice of his doctors, Brel returned to the Marquesas, where the tropical climate was particularly unsuitable for his lungs. In June, after selling the Askoy II, he rented a small house in Atuona
Atuona
Atuona, located on Atuona Bay on the southern side of Hiva Oa island, is the administrative centre of the commune of Hiva-Oa. Atuona was the capital of all the Marquesas Islands but it has been replaced by Taiohae ....

 on the island of Hiva-Oa
Hiva-Oa
Hiva-Oa is a commune of French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The commune is in the administrative subdivision of the Marquesas Islands....

. In July, Brel renewed his pilot's licence, and took advanced flying lessons with his friend Michel Gauthier. Brel purchased a twin-engine plane, which he named Jojo in memory of his lost friend. This enabled him to travel more easily from Hiva-Oa
Hiva-Oa
Hiva-Oa is a commune of French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The commune is in the administrative subdivision of the Marquesas Islands....

 to Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

. He also used the private plane to transport food and other supplies to the inhabitants of the neighbouring islands.

In 1977, Brel decided to record one final album. Despite his recent years away from the continent, Brel's legend continued to live on in Europe, and his records still sold millions of copies each year. In August, Brel returned to Paris and moved into a small hotel. Despite his poor health, he had quit smoking and was enthusiastic about working again with his faithful collaborators François Rauber and Gérard Jouannest. In September and October, Brel recorded 12 of the 17 new songs he had written in the Marquesas
Marquesas Islands
The Marquesas Islands enana and Te Fenua `Enata , both meaning "The Land of Men") are a group of volcanic islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. The Marquesas are located at 9° 00S, 139° 30W...

. The result was his final album, Les Marquises
Les Marquises
Les Marquises is Jacques Brel's final album. Also known as Brel, this was the first album of new songs by Brel in ten years. The album was released 17 November 1977. Brel's albums are sometimes known by different titles, and sometimes exist in different versions with the tracks arranged in...

, which included "Jaurès", "Vieillir" (Age), "Le Bon Dieu" (The Good Lord), "Orly", "Voir un Ami Pleurer" (Crying with a friend), "Jojo", and "Les Marquises". The new album was released on 17 November, and was received as an historic national event in France. At Brel's request, Barclay
Barclay Records
Barclay Records is a French record label founded in the mid-1950s by Eddie Barclay under the alias, Edouard Ruault. Eddie Barclay also founded the Riviera label in the early-1950s....

 did not to run a huge promotional campaign for the album, and still, by word of mouth alone, over a million fans placed advance orders. The day the album was released, Jacques and Madly returned to their home in the Marquesas Islands
Marquesas Islands
The Marquesas Islands enana and Te Fenua `Enata , both meaning "The Land of Men") are a group of volcanic islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. The Marquesas are located at 9° 00S, 139° 30W...

.

From January to June 1978, Brel and Madly lived quietly at their home on Atuona Bay
Atuona Bay
Atuona Bay is a small inlet on the north shore of Ta‘a ‘Oa , on the southern coast of Hiva ‘Oa...

 on Hiva-Oa
Hiva-Oa
Hiva-Oa is a commune of French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. The commune is in the administrative subdivision of the Marquesas Islands....

 island. In July, after his health began to fail, Brel was flown back to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and rushed to a hospital in Neuilly
Neuilly
Neuilly is a common place name in France, deriving from the male given name Nobilis or Novellius:...

 where doctors discovered a cancerous tumour. He remained in the hospital for six weeks, and then spent the rest of the summer in Southern France
Southern France
Southern France , colloquially known as le Midi is defined geographical area consisting of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean south of the Gironde, Spain, the Mediterranean, and Italy...

. On 7 October, he was rushed to a hospital in Bobigny
Bobigny
Bobigny is a commune, or town, in the northeastern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris. Bobigny is the préfecture of the Seine-Saint-Denis département, as well as the seat of the Arrondissement of Bobigny...

 near Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. He died of a pulmonary embolism at 4:10am on 9 October 1978. Jacques Brel was 49 years old. On 12 October, Brel's body was flown back to the Marquesas Islands
Marquesas Islands
The Marquesas Islands enana and Te Fenua `Enata , both meaning "The Land of Men") are a group of volcanic islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. The Marquesas are located at 9° 00S, 139° 30W...

, where he was laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery
Calvary Cemetery, Atuona
Calvary Cemetery is the main cemetery in Atuona, Hiva ‘Oa, French Polynesia. It is located on a hillside on the eastern edge of town, overlooking the anchorage on Atuona Bay....

 in Atuona
Atuona
Atuona, located on Atuona Bay on the southern side of Hiva Oa island, is the administrative centre of the commune of Hiva-Oa. Atuona was the capital of all the Marquesas Islands but it has been replaced by Taiohae ....

 on the southern side of Hiva Oa
Hiva Oa
Hiva Oa is the second largest island in the Marquesas Islands, in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It is the largest island of the Southern Marquesas group. According to local religion, the gods created the islands as their home. Therefore all islands have...

 island in the Marquesas, French Polynesia
French Polynesia
French Polynesia is an overseas country of the French Republic . It is made up of several groups of Polynesian islands, the most famous island being Tahiti in the Society Islands group, which is also the most populous island and the seat of the capital of the territory...

—a few yards away from the grave of painter Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin
Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin was a leading French Post-Impressionist artist. He was an important figure in the Symbolist movement as a painter, sculptor, print-maker, ceramist, and writer...

.

Legacy

In France, Jacques Brel's legacy as one of the major singers and songwriters of the twentieth century is secure. In the English-speaking world, his influence is limited by language and musical style. Yet with each new generation of English-speaking singers and songwriters, Brel is once again "discovered" for his songs. His lyrics delved into personal, dark, and adult subjects long before the emergence of Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

 and other serious songwriters. In a way, Brel was the "French older brother" of Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

, Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen
Leonard Norman Cohen, is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality and interpersonal relationships...

, and those songwriters who followed. Translations of Brel's songs have extended his influence as a songwriter across most popular genres. A partial list of the pop, rock, folk, jazz, and country artists who have performed or recorded Brel's songs underscores his true enduring legacy:
  • Karen Akers
    Karen Akers
    Karen Akers is an American actress and singer, who has appeared on Broadway, cabaret and film.-Background:She was born Karen Orth-Pallavicini in New York City on October 13, 1945. Her ancestry was a mixture of European stock: her immigrant father, Heinrick C...

  • Marc Almond
    Marc Almond
    Marc Almond is an English singer-songwriter and musician, who originally found fame as half of the seminal synthpop/New Wave duo Soft Cell...

  • Isabelle Aubret
    Isabelle Aubret
    Isabelle Aubret is a French singer.Born as Thérèse Coquerelle in Lille, France, Aubret won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1962 representing France and singing "Un premier amour" with music composed by Claude-Henri Vic and lyrics by Roland Stephane Valade...

  • Joan Baez
    Joan Baez
    Joan Chandos Baez is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician and a prominent activist in the fields of human rights, peace and environmental justice....

  • Shirley Bassey
    Shirley Bassey
    Dame Shirley Bassey, DBE , is a Welsh singer. She found fame in the late 1950s and was "one of the most popular female vocalists in Britain during the last half of the 20th century"...

  • Frida Boccara
    Frida Boccara
    Frida Boccara was a French singer.Frida Boccara was born in Casablanca, Morocco. She submitted the song "Autrefois" to the French Eurovision Song Contest selection panel in 1964 but she was unsuccessful...

  • David Bowie
    David Bowie
    David Bowie is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s...

  • Glen Campbell
    Glen Campbell
    Glen Travis Campbell is an American country music singer, guitarist, television host and occasional actor. He is best known for a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as for hosting a variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television.During his 50 years in show...

  • Ray Charles
    Ray Charles
    Ray Charles Robinson , known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records...

  • Leonard Cohen
    Leonard Cohen
    Leonard Norman Cohen, is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality and interpersonal relationships...

  • Judy Collins
    Judy Collins
    Judith Marjorie "Judy" Collins is an American singer and songwriter, known for her eclectic tastes in the material she records ; and for her social activism. She is an alumna of the University of Colorado.-Musical career:Collins was born and raised in Seattle, Washington...

  • Ray Conniff
    Ray Conniff
    Joseph Raymond Conniff was an American bandleader and arranger best known for his Ray Conniff Singers during the 1960s.-Biography:...


  • John Denver
    John Denver
    Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. , known professionally as John Denver, was an American singer/songwriter, activist, and humanitarian. After growing up in numerous locations with his military family, Denver began his music career in folk music groups in the late 1960s. His greatest commercial success...

  • Neil Diamond
    Neil Diamond
    Neil Leslie Diamond is an American singer-songwriter with a career spanning over five decades from the 1960s until the present....

  • Marlene Dietrich
    Marlene Dietrich
    Marlene Dietrich was a German-American actress and singer.Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself, professionally and characteristically. In the Berlin of the 1920s, she acted on the stage and in silent films...

  • Céline Dion
    Celine Dion
    Céline Marie Claudette Dion, , , is a Canadian singer. Born to a large family from Charlemagne, Quebec, Dion emerged as a teen star in the French-speaking world after her manager and future husband René Angélil mortgaged his home to finance her first record...

  • Sheena Easton
    Sheena Easton
    Sheena Easton is a Scottish recording artist. Easton became famous for being the focus of an episode in the British television programme The Big Time, which recorded her attempts to gain a record contract and her eventual signing with EMI Records.Easton rose to fame in the early 1980s with the pop...

  • Marianne Faithfull
    Marianne Faithfull
    Marianne Evelyn Faithfull is an award-winning English singer, songwriter and actress whose career has spanned five decades....

  • Bobby Goldsboro
    Bobby Goldsboro
    Bobby Goldsboro is an American country and pop singer-songwriter. He had a string of Pop and Country hits during the 1960s and 1970s, including his signature #1 classic "Honey," which sold well over one million copies in the United States.-Early life:Goldsboro was born in Marianna, Florida...

  • Juliette Gréco
    Juliette Gréco
    Juliette Gréco, — also Michelle – is a French actress and popular chanson singer.-Early life and family:Juliette Gréco was born in Montpellier to a Corsican father and a mother who became active in the Résistance, in the Hérault département of southern France. She was raised by her maternal...

  • Neil Hannon
    Neil Hannon
    Neil Hannon is a Northern Irish singer and songwriter, best known as the creator and frontman of the chamber pop group The Divine Comedy. The band's official website even goes so far as to say, "The Divine Comedy is Neil Hannon," and Hannon is quoted in an interview as saying, "The Divine Comedy...

  • Klaus Hoffmann
    Klaus Hoffmann
    Klaus Hoffmann is a German singer, songwriter and actor.- Career :Klaus Hoffmann started his career as a singer-songwriter during the late 1960s in the alternative Berlin club culture...

  • Shirley Horn
    Shirley Horn
    Shirley Valerie Horn was an American jazz singer and pianist.-Biography:Encouraged by her grandmother, who was an amateur organist, Horn began piano lessons at the age of four. At twelve, Horn studied piano and composition at Howard University and later majored from there in classical music...

  • Julio Iglesias
    Julio Iglesias
    Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva , better known simply as Julio Iglesias, is a Spanish singer who has sold over 300 million records worldwide in 14 languages and released 77 albums. According to Sony Music Entertainment, he is one of the top 15 best selling music artists in history,...


  • Tom Jones
    Tom Jones
    Tom Jones is the name of:* Tom Jones , Welsh singer* Tom Jones , Australian politician representing Collie-Wellington district...

  • Ibrica Jusić
    Ibrica Jusić
    -Biography:He started his career in Dubrovnik in 1965. On invitation of composer Pero Gotovac he went in Zagreb. He was a winner on Zagreb Festival in 1968, he won with song "Celuloidni pajac"...

  • The Kingston Trio
    The Kingston Trio
    The Kingston Trio is an American folk and pop music group that helped launch the folk revival of the late 1950s to late 1960s. The group started as a San Francisco Bay Area nightclub act with an original lineup of Dave Guard, Bob Shane, and Nick Reynolds...

  • Cyndi Lauper
    Cyndi Lauper
    Cynthia Ann Stephanie "Cyndi" Lauper is an American singer, songwriter, actress and LGBT rights activist. She achieved success in the mid-1980s with the release of the album She's So Unusual and became the first female singer to have four top-five singles released from one album...

  • Vicky Leandros
    Vicky Leandros
    Vicky Leandros is a Greek singer with a long international career. She is the daughter of singer, musician and composer Leandros Papathanasiou...

  • Brenda Lee
    Brenda Lee
    Brenda Mae Tarpley , known as Brenda Lee, is an American performer who sang rockabilly, pop and country music, and had 37 US chart hits during the 1960s, a number surpassed only by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Ray Charles and Connie Francis...

  • Barry Manilow
    Barry Manilow
    Barry Manilow is an American singer-songwriter, musician, arranger, producer, conductor, and performer, best known for such recordings as "Could It Be Magic", "Mandy", "Can't Smile Without You", and "Copacabana ."...

  • Rod McKuen
    Rod McKuen
    Rod McKuen is an American poet, songwriter, composer, and singer. He was one of the best-selling poets in the United States during the late 1960s. Throughout his career, McKuen produced a wide range of recordings, which included popular music, spoken word poetry, film soundtracks, and classical music...

  • Momus
    Momus
    Momus or Momos was in Greek mythology the god of satire, mockery, censure, writers, poets; a spirit of evil-spirited blame and unfair criticism. His name is related to , meaning 'blame' or 'censure'. He is depicted in classical art as lifting a mask from his face.-In classical literature:Hesiod...

  • Nana Mouskouri
    Nana Mouskouri
    Nana Mouskouri , born Ioánna Moúschouri on October 13, 1934, in Chania, Crete, Greece, is a Greek singer who has sold about 300 million records worldwide in a career spanning over five decades, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She was known as Nána to her friends and...

  • Olivia Newton-John
    Olivia Newton-John
    Olivia Newton-John AO, OBE is a singer and actress. She is a four-time Grammy award winner who has amassed five No. 1 and ten other Top Ten Billboard Hot 100 singles and two No. 1 Billboard 200 solo albums. Eleven of her singles and 14 of her albums have been certified gold by the RIAA...

  • Duilio Del Prete
    Duilio Del Prete
    Dulio Del Prete was an Italian actor, dubber and singer-songwriter.Del Prete was born at Cuneo, Piedmont. As a singer-songwriter, he wrote political songs and recorded an album of Jacques Brel's covers; he also wrote songs for several artists.As an actor, he participated to several films of the...


  • The Seekers
    The Seekers
    The Seekers are an Australian folk-influenced pop music group which were originally formed in 1962. They were the first Australian popular music group to achieve major chart and sales success in the United Kingdom and the United States...

  • The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
  • Nina Simone
    Nina Simone
    Eunice Kathleen Waymon , better known by her stage name Nina Simone , was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music...

  • Frank Sinatra
    Frank Sinatra
    Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

  • Dusty Springfield
    Dusty Springfield
    Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'BrienSources use both Isabel and Isobel as the spelling of her second name. OBE , known professionally as Dusty Springfield and dubbed The White Queen of Soul, was a British pop singer whose career extended from the late 1950s to the 1990s...

  • Sting
  • Scott Walker
    Scott Walker
    Scott Walker may refer to:*Scott Walker , Governor of Wisconsin, and former county executive of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin*Scott Walker , boxer...

  • Dionne Warwick
    Dionne Warwick
    Dionne Warwick is an American singer, actress and TV show host, who became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and a United States Ambassador of Health....

  • Andy Williams
    Andy Williams
    Howard Andrew "Andy" Williams is an American singer who has recorded 18 Gold- and three Platinum-certified albums. He hosted The Andy Williams Show, a TV variety show, from 1962 to 1971, as well as numerous television specials, and owns his own theater, the Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri,...

  • Nancy Wilson
    Nancy Wilson
    Nancy Wilson may refer to:* Nancy Wilson , American jazz singer and actress* Nancy Wilson , American singer and guitar player, member of the band Heart...

  • Glenn Yarbrough
    Glenn Yarbrough
    Glenn Yarbrough is an American folk singer. He was the lead singer with The Limeliters between 1959 and 1963, and had a prolific solo career, recording on various labels.-Biography:...



Translations

The songs of Jacques Brel have been translated into many languages. Brel himself occasionally included parts of his songs in Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

, as in "'Marieke
Marieke (song)
Marieke is a 1962 song by the Belgian singer Jacques Brel.-The song:In Marieke, Brel sings about a Flemish girl, Marieke, whom he once loved and lived "between the towers of Bruges and Gent"...

". He also recorded Dutch versions of songs, such as "Mijn vlakke land" ("Le plat pays"), "Laat Me Niet Alleen" ("Ne me quitte pas"), "Rosa", "De Burgerij" ("Les Bourgeois"), and "De Nuttelozen van de Nacht" ("Les paumés du petit matin"). Brel also recorded two obscure singles in Dutch, "De apen" ("Les singes") and "Men vergeet niets" ("On n'oublie rien"), which were included in the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons
Boîte à Bonbons
Boîte à Bonbons is a 16-CD box set compilation of the recorded songs of Jacques Brel. Also known as Coffret intégral 2003 "Boîte à bonbons", this limited edition box set was released to mark the 25th anniversary of Jacques Brel's death. The box set includes 15 albums remastered from the original...

by Barclay
Barclay Records
Barclay Records is a French record label founded in the mid-1950s by Eddie Barclay under the alias, Edouard Ruault. Eddie Barclay also founded the Riviera label in the early-1950s....

. Since his own command of Dutch was poor, most of Brel's later Dutch interpretations were translated by Ernst van Altena, with Brel's cooperation, and are generally considered to be relatively true to the original French, as well as poetic. "De Apen" was translated by Eric Franssen. "Men vergeet niets" was translated by well known Flemish artist Will Ferdy. "Marieke" was translated by Brel himself.

English versions of Jacques Brel songs have been recorded by a wide variety of artists. Rod McKuen
Rod McKuen
Rod McKuen is an American poet, songwriter, composer, and singer. He was one of the best-selling poets in the United States during the late 1960s. Throughout his career, McKuen produced a wide range of recordings, which included popular music, spoken word poetry, film soundtracks, and classical music...

 was one of the first American artists to discover and translate Brel's songs. Canadian Terry Jacks
Terry Jacks
Terrence Ross "Terry" Jacks is a Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer and environmentalist.-Early life:...

' version of "Seasons in the Sun
Seasons in the Sun
Apart from the versions noted above, there have been numerous cover versions of the song. Generally, these use the same translation as the Terry Jacks version, and thus inherit that version's less harsh interpretation of the song's storyline....

" became a global pop hit in 1974, topping the charts internationally. McKuen and Brel formed a close friendship. McKuen later wrote, "When news of Jacques' death came, I stayed locked in my bedroom and drank for a week."

During the 1960s, other English translations emerged on the folk music scene, including "The Dove" ("La colombe"), an anti-war lament recorded both by Joan Baez
Joan Baez
Joan Chandos Baez is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician and a prominent activist in the fields of human rights, peace and environmental justice....

 and Judy Collins
Judy Collins
Judith Marjorie "Judy" Collins is an American singer and songwriter, known for her eclectic tastes in the material she records ; and for her social activism. She is an alumna of the University of Colorado.-Musical career:Collins was born and raised in Seattle, Washington...

. This was the only translation of a Brel song written by Alasdair Clayre
Alasdair Clayre
Alasdair George S. Clayre was a British man of many talents: author, broadcaster, singer-songwriter, and academic. He was educated at Oxford University and was a Prize Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Clayre took his own life in 1984 by jumping in front of a train.Clayre was born in...

, an Oxford-educated Englishman who had a brief career as a singer-songwriter before becoming an author, academic, and sometime producer of BBC documentaries.

In 1968, an American musical revue Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris
Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris
Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris is an American musical revue of the songs of Jacques Brel.-Original Off-Broadway Production:...

made its debut. Consisting of 25 songs, the revue was performed by four vocalists, two male and two female. Jacques Brel contributed most of the music and French lyrics. English translations were provided by Eric Blau
Eric Blau
Milton Eric Blau was the creator of the Off Broadway show Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.-Biography:...

 and Mort Shuman
Mort Shuman
Mort Shuman was an American singer, pianist and songwriter, best known as co-writer of many 1960s rock and roll hits, including "Viva Las Vegas"...

, a Brill Building
Brill Building
The Brill Building is an office building located at 1619 Broadway on 49th Street in the New York City borough of Manhattan, just north of Times Square and further uptown from the historic musical Tin Pan Alley neighborhood...

 songwriter responsible for such hits as "This Magic Moment", "Viva Las Vegas", "Teenager In Love", and others. The production enjoyed considerable international success, and has since played throughout the world in various productions.

In the 1970s, David Bowie
David Bowie
David Bowie is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s...

 began singing Brel's "Amsterdam" at a BBC session with John Peel
John Peel
John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, OBE , known professionally as John Peel, was an English disc jockey, radio presenter, record producer and journalist. He was the longest-serving of the original BBC Radio 1 DJs, broadcasting regularly from 1967 until his death in 2004...

 and Evilan Tom (not released until 2000 on Bowie at the Beeb
Bowie at the Beeb
Bowie at the Beeb is a compilation album by David Bowie, first released in 2000. Originally, it came in a three CD set, the third, bonus CD being a recording on at the Portland BBC Radio Theatre...

). This version was also released as the B-side to "Sorrow" in 1973, and was released as a bonus track on the 1990 reissue of Pin-ups. Dave Van Ronk
Dave Van Ronk
Dave Van Ronk was an American folk singer, born in Brooklyn, New York, who settled in Greenwich Village, New York, and was eventually nicknamed the "Mayor of MacDougal Street" ....

 also recorded this song, earlier, on Van Ronk
Van Ronk
-History:Van Ronk features some of his most elaborate recordings with many backing musicians. It includes English language versions of songs by non-English speaking composers ....

. Bowie also sang "My Death" during his Ziggy Stardust era. This popular concert piece was never recorded in the studio. It appears on two of David Bowie's live albums: Live Santa Monica '72
Live Santa Monica '72
Live Santa Monica '72 is a live album by David Bowie. It was released on in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It is the official release of the bootleg album Santa Monica '72.-Track listing:...

 and Ziggy Stardust - The Motion Picture
Ziggy Stardust - The Motion Picture
Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture is a live album by David Bowie, corresponding to the film of the same name. The music was recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on , although the album was not issued by RCA Records until 1983...

. A similar version of this song was also recorded by Show Of Hands
Show of Hands
Show of Hands is an English acoustic roots and folk duo comprising singer-songwriter Steve Knightley and multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer. In recent years they have been accompanied on tour and in the studio by jazz double-bassist Miranda Sykes.-Origins:...

.

Scott Walker's
Scott Walker (singer)
Scott Walker, born Noel Scott Engel on January 9, 1943 is an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, and the former lead singer of The Walker Brothers. Despite being American born, Walker's chart success has largely come in the United Kingdom, where his first four solo albums...

 first three solo albums, titled Scott
Scott (album)
-Personnel:* Scott Walker - vocals* Wally Stott - arrangements, conductor* Reg Guest - arrangements, conductor* Peter Knight - arrangements, conductor* Peter Olliff - engineer-Release history:...

, Scott 2
Scott 2
-Chart positions:-Personnel:*Wally Stott - arrangements and conductor *Reg Guest - arrangements and conductor *Peter Knight - arrangements and conductor *Peter Olliff - engineer-Release history:...

, and Scott 3
Scott 3
The original U.S. Smash label vinyl issue omitted "30 Century Man", replacing it with "The Lights Of Cincinnati", a UK non-LP single from the same period...

, each contain three of the Blau/Shuman translations. Several of the original songs on this album, and on the later Scott 4
Scott 4
-Release history:...

, can be seen as heavily influenced by Brel.

In the early 1980s, a second Brel revue, Encore Brel, was produced in Canada, a performance of which was aired on CBC Radio. In addition to Alasdair Clayre's "The Dove", the revue used mostly Brel's later songs, including "Friend, Don't Let Me See You Cry" ("Voir un ami pleurer") and "To Grow Old" ("Vieillir").

In 1986, Momus
Momus (artist)
Nick Currie , more popularly known under the artist name Momus , is a songwriter, blogger and former journalist for Wired...

 and more recently Barb Jungr
Barb Jungr
Barb Jungr is an English singer-songwriter, composer and writer, of Czech and German parentage. She is perhaps best known as a chansonnière, or singer of chansons—in the sense of classic, lyric-driven French songs; in the broader sense of European songs in the cabaret style; and in the even...

 recorded new English translations of "Ne me quitte pas" which are much nearer to the original. Jungr used a translation called "Don't leave me now" by Des de Moor
Des de Moor
Des de Moor is a writer, singer, musician and songwriter. His first performance in front of a paying audience was in Hertford, Hertfordshire, England in June 1976. He worked with local bands and performed in folk clubs in the Hertford area during the late 1970s and 1980s before moving to London in...

. Momus translated and recorded "Don't Leave Me" because he was dissatisfied with the dominant English translations to date. "People always sing the versions by Rod McKuen, which are highly sentimentalised, or the versions by Mort Shuman which are better but still really Americanised. To me the strength of Brel is that he doesn't come from the American tradition of songwriting, it's a strongly European thing."

In 1989, Marc Almond
Marc Almond
Marc Almond is an English singer-songwriter and musician, who originally found fame as half of the seminal synthpop/New Wave duo Soft Cell...

, who had performed Brel songs on his early albums with Marc and the Mambas
Marc and the Mambas
Marc and the Mambas was a new wave group, formed by Marc Almond, in 1982 as an off-shoot project from Soft Cell. The band's line-up changed frequently, and included Matt Johnson from The The and Annie Hogan, with whom Almond worked later in his solo career....

, released his successful Jacques, an album comprised solely of Jacques Brel songs. In 1991, he released "Jacky", which became a successful hit single. During his concerts, Almond nearly always plays at least one Brel song.

In 1991, the American band Vambo Marble Eye recorded a version of "Next" for their album Two Trick Pony, 18 years after an English-language version of the song by SAHB in 1973, from their Next album.

In the 1990s, Brel's widow said that Arnold Johnston, a professor at Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University is a public university located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States. The university was established in 1903 by Dwight B. Waldo, and as of the Fall 2010 semester, its enrollment is 25,045....

, translated Brel's work more accurately than Blau and Shuman, and eventually gave Dr. Johnston exclusive rights to translate Brel's work into English. Dr. Johnston recorded I'm Here! a collection of twenty songs, using a grant from the university.

In 2009, on their album Troubadours, the American duo The Black Veils performed their own "poetic and faithful" English translations of Brel's "Ne me quitte pas" ("Don't Leave Me"), "Jaurès", "Il neige sur Liège" ("Snowfall on Liège"), and "Mai 40".

English translations of Brel's songs have been subject to criticism for being stripped of their original lyricism. In his song "Ne me quitte pas", for example, Brel evocatively states, "Moi, je t'offrirai / Des perles de pluie / Venues de pays / Où il ne pleut pas" (I, I'll offer you / Pearls of rain / That come from countries / Where it doesn't rain). In contract, Rod McKuen’s English translation replaces that vivid and poetic imagery with "But if you stay / I'll make you a day / Like no day has been / or will be again."

The English translation by Mort Shuman and Eric Blau from their musical revue Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris have also been criticized for their loose approach to translating the originals. In their song "Marathon" ("Les Flamandes"), they present a charming encapsulation of the United States in the twentieth century—mentioning, among others, Charles Lindbergh and Sacco and Vanzetti. The song bears no relationship to the original song, which is a tongue-in-cheek assessment of the Flemish. Their translation of "Jef" is another example of a version that bears little resemblance to the original. Terry Jacks intended to "lighten up" his version of McKuen's "Seasons in the Sun"—completely removing the cynical gist of Brel's "Le moribond". ironically, this sanitized version became a global pop hit in 1974. Translations of Jacques Brel songs into other languages have also come in for similar criticism.

Other language versions of Jacques Brel songs have been recorded by a wide variety of artists throughout the world. The most frequently recorded song in other languages is "Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
"Ne me quitte pas" is a song written and sung in French and in Dutch by the Belgian chansonnier Jacques Brel in 1959. It has been covered in the original French by many artists and has also been translated into and performed in many other languages...

" (Don't leave me), with at least 400 different recorded versions in 22 different languages. Most English versions use the freely translated "If You Go Away
If You Go Away
"If You Go Away" is a song in English based upon the French song "Ne me quitte pas" , written by Jacques Brel. The English lyrics were written by Rod McKuen as part of a larger project to translate Brel's work. "If You Go Away" is considered a pop standard and has been recorded by many artists,...

" by Rod McKuen. Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich was a German-American actress and singer.Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself, professionally and characteristically. In the Berlin of the 1920s, she acted on the stage and in silent films...

 recorded the German version "Bitte geh' nicht fort". Paris-based Colombian salsa singer Yuri Buenaventura performed the Spanish version "No Me Dejes Mas". Czech chanteuse Hana Hegerová
Hana Hegerová
Hana Hegerová , is a leading Czechoslovakian singer, actress and uncrowned queen of Czechoslovakian chanson. Foreign critics call her "The Great Lady of Chanson", "The Piaf from Prague", and "The Chanteuse with a Slavic Soul"...

 made the Czech version "Lásko prokletá" one of the pillars of her repertoire. Russian rock group Mumiy Troll
Mumiy Troll
Mumiy Troll is a Russian rock group, founded in 1983 in Vladivostok by vocalist and songwriter Ilya Lagutenko . The literal name of the band, 'The mummies' troll', is a pun on Moomin Troll, the series of Finnish children's books by Tove Jansson.Mumiy Troll broke up when Lagutenko, who graduated in...

 recorded the Russian version "Когда ты уйдёшь".

The work of several German translators are considered particularly faithful to the original French versions. Dieter Kaiser, a Belgian-German singer, who performs internationally in public concerts with a music quartet comprising the French-German professional guitarist, Stéphane Bazire, the guitar playing female singer Barbara and a keyboarder, as Stéphane - Didier & Cie, has translated 30 of Brel's songs and has gathered them in a booklet with over 100 other French chansons in German (also available at www.deutsche-chanson-texte.de). Kaiser also issued a CD in German and a CD in French with various chansons of Brel. Klaus Hoffmann
Klaus Hoffmann
Klaus Hoffmann is a German singer, songwriter and actor.- Career :Klaus Hoffmann started his career as a singer-songwriter during the late 1960s in the alternative Berlin club culture...

 is another important German interpreter of Brel's songs, as is the Austrian actor Michael Heltau
Michael Heltau
Michael Heltau is an German television actor and singer, living in Austria.-Television appearances:*Mino *Maximilian von Mexiko - External links :* *...

, who was asked by Brel himself to record his songs, using the translation of Werner Schneyder.

Discography

Assembling a comprehensive Jacques Brel discography is difficult, because his recordings have been released in so many different permutations, in different countries and in different formats. Furthermore, releases of Brel's recordings are sometimes known by different titles. This discography is restricted to Brel's original albums, as collected and reissued on 23 September 2003 in the sixteen CD box set of his work Boîte à Bonbons, plus the additional album Chansons ou Versions Inédites de Jeunesse, which was released for the first time as part of this box set. The titles listed here are the titles used in the box set. To mark the 25th anniversary of Brel's death, Barclay Records
Barclay Records
Barclay Records is a French record label founded in the mid-1950s by Eddie Barclay under the alias, Edouard Ruault. Eddie Barclay also founded the Riviera label in the early-1950s....

 issued Comme quand il était beau (2003), a 3 volume DVD collection of Brel interviews and live performances as well as the compilation album Infiniment (2004). Both releases include five previously unpublished songs that Brel wrote in 1977: "La Cathédrale", "L'amour est mort", "Mai 40", "Avec Élégance", and "Sans Exigences".

Studio albums

  • Grand Jacques
    Grand Jacques
    Grand Jacques is Jacques Brel's debut album. The original album, titled Jacques Brel et ses Chansons, was released in March 1954 as a nine-song 10-inch LP by Philips Records . The original nine tracks were recorded on 15 February 1954 at Théâtre de l'Apollo in Paris...

    (1954)
  • Quand On n'a Que l'Amour
    Quand On n'a Que l'Amour
    Quand on n'a que l'amour is Jacques Brel's second studio album. Also known as Jacques Brel 2, the original album was released in April 1957 by Philips . The album was reissued on 23 September 2003 under the title Quand on n'a que l'amour as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons by Barclay...

    (1957)
  • Au Printemps (1958)
  • La Valse à Mille Temps
    La Valse à Mille Temps
    La Valse à Mille Temps is Jacques Brel's fourth album. Also known as Jacques Brel 4 and American Début, the album was released in 1959 by Philips...

    (1959)
  • Marieke
    Marieke (album)
    Marieke is Jacques Brel's fifth studio album. Also known as 5, the album was released in 1961 by Philips . The album was reissued on 23 September 2003 under the title Marieke as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons by Barclay .- Track listing :- Credits :* Jacques Brel – composer, vocals*...

    (1961)
  • Les Bourgeois
    Les Bourgeois
    Les Bourgeois is Jacques Brel's sixth studio album. Also known as Jacques Brel, the album was released in April 1962 by Barclay Records...

    (1962)
  • Les Bonbons
    Les Bonbons
    Les Bonbons is Jacques Brel's seventh studio album. Also known as Les Vieux, Jacques Brel Accompagné par François Rauber et Son Orchestre, and Encore, the album was released in 1966 by Barclay. The original 1966 album was itself a composite of two earlier releases, one from 1963 and one from 1964...

    (1966)
  • Ces Gens-Là
    Ces Gens-Là
    Ces Gens-Là is Jacques Brel's eighth studio album. Also known as Jef, the album was released in 1966 by Barclay . The album was reissued on 23 September 2003 under the title Ces Gens-Là as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons by Barclay .- Track listing :* Tracks 1–10 constituted the original...

    (1966)
  • Jacques Brel 67
    Jacques Brel 67
    Jacques Brel 67 is Jacques Brel's ninth studio album. Originally released in 1967 by Barclay , the album was reissued on 23 September 2003 under the title Jacques Brel 67 as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons by Barclay ....

    (1967)
  • J'arrive
    J'arrive
    J'arrive is Jacques Brel's tenth studio album. Originally released in 1968 by Barclay , the album was reissued on 23 September 2003 under the title Grand Jacques as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons by Barclay ....

    (1968)
  • L'Homme de la Mancha
    L'Homme de la Mancha
    L'Homme de la Mancha is Jacques Brel's eleventh studio album. Released in 1968, it is the cast recording of the French adaptation of The Man of la Mancha by Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion. Brel adapted the book, translated the lyrics, directed the production, and played the role of Don Quixote...

    (1968)
  • Ne Me Quitte Pas (1972)
  • Les Marquises
    Les Marquises
    Les Marquises is Jacques Brel's final album. Also known as Brel, this was the first album of new songs by Brel in ten years. The album was released 17 November 1977. Brel's albums are sometimes known by different titles, and sometimes exist in different versions with the tracks arranged in...

    (1977)

Live albums

  • Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1961
    Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1961
    Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1961 is Jacques Brel's first live album. Also known as A L'Olympia , the album was reissued on 23 September 2003 under the title Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1961 as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons by Barclay .- Track listing :# "Les prénoms de...

    (1962)
  • Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1964
    Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1964
    Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1964 is Jacques Brel's second live album. Also known as Olympia 64, the album was reissued on 23 September 2003 under the title Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1964 as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons by Barclay...

    (1964)

Box sets, compilations, and rarities

  • Boîte à Bonbons
    Boîte à Bonbons
    Boîte à Bonbons is a 16-CD box set compilation of the recorded songs of Jacques Brel. Also known as Coffret intégral 2003 "Boîte à bonbons", this limited edition box set was released to mark the 25th anniversary of Jacques Brel's death. The box set includes 15 albums remastered from the original...

    (2003)
  • Infiniment
    Infiniment
    Infiniment is a 2-CD compilation of Jacques Brel's best known songs. This compilation of remastered songs also contains 5 unpublished titles from the recording session of the album Les Marquises: "La cathédrale", "L'amour est mort", "Mai 40", "Avec élégance", and "Sans exigences". A booklet is...

    (2003)
  • Chansons ou Versions Inédites de Jeunesse
    Chansons ou Versions Inédites de Jeunesse
    Chansons ou Versions Inédités de Jeunesse is an album of rare recordings first issued as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons on 23 September 2003...

    (2003)

As actor

  • La grande peur de Monsieur Clément (short) (dir Paul Deliens) (1956)
  • Les risques du métier
    Les risques du métier
    Les risques du métier is a 1967 French film directed by André Cayatte. This was Jacques Brel's first feature film and co-starred Emmanuelle Riva, Jacques Harden, and Nadine Alari. Brel also produced the soundtrack with François Rauber. The film was released on 21 December 1967...

    (dir André Cayatte
    André Cayatte
    André Cayatte was a French New Wave filmmaker and lawyer, who became known for his films centering on themes of crime, justice, and moral responsibility, themes which Cayatte persisted in affirming regardless of changing contemporary attitudes.Some of Cayatte's earlier films that covered these...

    ) (1967)
  • La Bande à Bonnot (dir Philippe Fourastié) (1968)
  • Mon oncle Benjamin (dir Édouard Molinaro
    Édouard Molinaro
    Édouard Molinaro is a French film director, actor, and screenwriter. He was born in Gironde, Bordeaux.He is best known for his comedies with Louis de Funès , My Uncle Benjamin , Dracula and Son , and the Academy Award-nominated La Cage aux Folles Édouard Molinaro (born 13 May 1928) is a French...

    ) (1969)
  • Mont-Dragon (dir Jean Valère) (1970)
  • Franz
    Franz (film)
    - Plot :The story takes place in a Belgium seaside town, at a boarding house for civil servants recovering from surgery and illness. The six male residents' lives change dramatically when two women arrive. Catherine is a lively, sexually liberated woman willing to kiss, dance, and sleep with the...

    (dir Jacques Brel) (1971)
  • Les assassins de l'ordre (dir Marcel Carné
    Marcel Carné
    -Biography:Born in Paris, France, the son of a cabinet maker whose wife died when their son was five, Carné began his career as a film critic, becoming editor of the weekly publication, Hebdo-Films, and working for Cinémagazine and Cinémonde between 1929 and 1933. In the same period he worked in...

    ) (1971)
  • L'aventure, c'est l'aventure
    L'aventure, c'est l'aventure
    L'aventure, c'est l'aventure is a 1972 French film directed by Claude Lelouch. The film was screened at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival, but wasn't entered into the main competition.- Plot :...

    (dir Claude Lelouch) (1972)
  • Le bar de la fourche
    The Bar at the Crossing
    The Bar at the Crossing is a 1972 French adventure film directed by Alain Levent. It was entered into the 22nd Berlin International Film Festival.- Plot :Vincent Van Horst is a hard-drinking bon viveur who loves his freedom and his women...

    (dir Alain Levent
    Alain Levent
    Alain Levent was a French cinematographer and film director. He worked on 80 films between 1960 and 2007...

    ) (1972)
  • Le Far West (dir Jacques Brel) (1973)
  • L'emmerdeur
    L'emmerdeur
    L'emmerdeur is a 1973 French-Italian black comedy film starring Jacques Brel, appearing in his tenth and final feature film...

    (dir Édouard Molinaro) (1973)

As writer

  • La grande peur de Monsieur Clément (short) (1956)
  • Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris
    Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris
    Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris is an American musical revue of the songs of Jacques Brel.-Original Off-Broadway Production:...

    (play) (1968)
  • Franz
    Franz (film)
    - Plot :The story takes place in a Belgium seaside town, at a boarding house for civil servants recovering from surgery and illness. The six male residents' lives change dramatically when two women arrive. Catherine is a lively, sexually liberated woman willing to kiss, dance, and sleep with the...

    (1971)
  • Le Far West (1973)

As self

  • Petit jour (short) (1960)
  • Zeg hé, spaar je mee? (TV series) (1961)
  • Tienerklanken (TV series) (1963)
  • La grande farandole (TV series) (1964)
  • Age tendre et tête de bois (TV series) (1964)
  • Entrez dans la ronde (TV movie) (1965)
  • Discorama (TV series) (1962-1966)
  • Tid til at leve (TV series documentary) (1974)
  • Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris
    Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (film)
    Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris is a 1975 French/Canadian musical film directed by Denis Héroux. The screenplay by Eric Blau is an adaptation of his book for the long-running off-Broadway revue of the same name...

    (dir Denis Heroux
    Denis Héroux
    Denis Héroux, OC is a Canadian film director and producer.-Biography:Héroux wanted to become a teacher when he collaborated with Denys Arcand and Stéphane Venne on the 1962 film about life as a student, Seul ou avec d’autres...

    ) (1974)
  • Stellet Licht/Silent Light (dir Carlos Reygadas) (2007)

External links

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