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Jacques Brel

Jacques Brel (April 8, 1929 - October 9, 1978) was a Belgian musician, poet, actor and director. He was born in Schaarbeek, Belgium, a small city north of Brussels.

In the early 1950s he went to Paris, writing music and singing in the city's cabarets and music-halls where on stage he expressed his songs with grand physical gestures. For Jacques Brel, the lyrics were always more important than the music, telling a message in a manner that influenced other performers such as Leonard Cohen. By 1956 he was touring Europe and he recorded the song "Quand on n'a que l'amour" that brought him his first major recognition and he would appear in a show with Maurice Chevalier and Michel Legrand.

During his career, he recorded songs mainly in French, but also in his native Flemish. He played in musicals, appeared in films, and for twenty years was a major star gaining recognition beyong French audiences. In 1973 he retreated to French Polynesia, remaining there until 1977 when he returned to Paris and recorded his final album.

Jacques Brel died of lung cancer and was buried in the Altuona Cemetery, Altuona, Hiva-Oa, Iles Marquises, French Polynesia only a few yards away from painter Paul Gauguin.

JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS was an American musical revue of the art of Jacques Brel. It has played around the world for years.

Songs include:

  • Ne me quitte pas
  • Quand on n'a que l'amour
  • Chanson des vieux amants
  • Amsterdam
  • Jacky
  • Marieke
  • Rosa
  • Knokke-le-Zoute Tango
  • Mathilde
  • Les bonbons

Movies include: (actor)

  • L'aventure c'est l'aventure



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