Friday, January 2, 2009

The great romantics : Jacques Brel




After posting about Roy Orbison a few weeks ago, I thought about all those great romantic singers in the history of popular music.
In my memory, the first is Jacques Brel. Not only in time, but in my life. My parents had all his albums (as well as Brassens').

At 17 or 18, I fell in love with his songs. They expressed so many things you can't put words on when you're a teen : sadness and humor, hope and scorn.
Brel was a storm. His interviews and live performances were astonishing. I think that if I could travel in time just once, I'd go see him at the Olympia in the '60s.






See Brel's biography on AMG

He was the archetypal free bird. At the height of his success, he stopped touring then stopped recording. He learned to drive a boat, and then to fly a plane and then he went for a big trip and ended up in French Polynesia where he settled down and married. When lung cancer struck him, he went back to Paris to record his "swan album", which I think is his definite masterpiece.



Here's my favorite song on this album. Happy new year 2009 while the snow falls on Paris and all is white.

Jacques Brel - La Ville s'endormait(buy)

Of course, Brel was a big influence in French chanson but also in international music : Bowie covered his "Amsterdam", Marc Almond made an album called "Jacques"; But his biggest fan is probably Scott Walker who in turn inspired Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy.

Scott Walker - Mathilde (buy)

4 comments:

mad said...

bravo ...
j'ai bp écouté , bien sur , j'ai traversé l'afrique à pied , ( à 20 ans! ) en chantant sur ma guitarre ,brel et aussi Barbara , léonard cohen , Graeme Allright et les autres ; continue , on écoute ...

buy generic viagra said...

Jacques Brel was a Belgian singer-songwriter. Brel composed and recorded his songs almost exclusively in French, although he recorded a number of songs in Dutch, I think that his music is one of the most nice, I read some of articles about it!!22DD

Lyric S. Rogers said...

I've been a huge fan of Jacques Brel since I was 12, even though my mom was a fan longer than I was, and I love this article so much!

Lyric S. Rogers said...

I've been a huge fan of Jacques Brel since I was 12, even though my mom was a fan longer than I was, and I love this article so much!