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Jacques Brel - Ne me quitte pas

(Barclay - 1972)
Ne me quitte pas
On n’oublie rien
Les Flamandes
Les prénoms de Paris
Quand on n’a que l’amour
Les biches
Le prochain amour
Le moribond
La valse à mille temps
Je ne sais pas

French-speaking music has its heroes: Jacques Brel is one of them. He’s born April 8Th, 1929, in a Bruxelles suburb called Schaerbeek. « Brel’s legend » starts with the life of a young actor, with a wife called Miche and a baby. His first record was published in 1953 in Belgium; but the strenght of his texts and his violent interpretation is disturbing. « Humans are unhappy because they don’t realise their own dreams » he said: he decided to leave for Paris and lived in Montmartre. The first years were difficult in spite of his new contract with the record company Philips. « Quand on a que l’amour » was released in 1957: this first success gives him the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Gros. His fourth record « La valse à 1000 temps » came out in 1959: he sang at Olympia in 1961 and left Philips for Barclay in 1962 and records « Le plat pays ». His triumph is universal: he performs in USSR, New York, etc. The audience enjoyed « Amsterdam » or the famous « Ne me quitte pas » (« If you go away »). In 1966, Brel stops singing and starts a new career in cinema. In 1967, Mort Schuman presents a musical comedy in USA: « Jacques Brel is alive and well and living in Paris ». In 1968, « Grand Jacques » creates with success the play « L’homme de la Mancha » with Dario Moreno. Suffering with a cancer, he moved to the Marquises islands and passed away October 9Th1998. David Bowie, Sting, Frank Sinatra and Nina Simone sang his songs. And his texts are studied in schools: « To love until it tears one apart. To love, even if it’s too much, even if it’s bad. To attempt, without strength, without armor, to reach the inaccessible star ».

16 November 2005

Olivier Marteau

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