Jacques Brel: It was 40 years ago today

Jacques Brel: It was 40 years ago today


norman lebrecht

October 10, 2018

Belgium’s greatest contribution to humanity left us on October 9, 1978.

The French chanson survived for a while, expiring a few days ago with Charles Aznavour.

Frère Jacques, dormez-vous bien?


  • JoBe says:

    In a match between César Franck and Jacques Brel, who would win that most coveted of all titles, “Belgium’s greatest contribution to humanity”? My mind is not made up.

    • Jack says:

      Um, when Cesar breathed his first, he started out as a resident of the Netherlands. Liège, his place of birth, was not yet part of Belgium. And of course he spent most of his life in France where he is buried in the Montparnasse Cemetery. Just visited him there last week.

  • Zelda Macnamara says:

    Jacques Brel would be my winner, every time!

  • Dominic Stafford says:

    Chanson died with Aznavour? Really? Both Cabrel and Dassin are still alive for a start.

  • CJ says:

    What about Jan Van Eyck (see National Gallery), Van Dyck (idem), Brueghel, Magritte, Mercator, Grétry, César Franck, Adolphe Sax (saxophone), Eugene Ysaye, José Van Dam, Philippe Herreweghe, René Jacobs and … Johnny Hallyday (joke ;-)) ?

  • Nicolas says:

    If you are in the feeling to maybe discover great but neglected one by Brel: tap on You Tube “Je suis un soir d’été”, “Orly”, and “Les marquises”. Each time, I can’t believe such great lyrics:

    La chaleur se vertèbre
    Il fleuve des ivresses
    L’été a ses grand-messes
    Et la nuit les célèbre
    La ville aux quatre vents
    Clignote le remords
    Inutile et passant
    De n’être pas un port

  • Fred says:

    Belgium’s greatest contribution to humanity was Father Damian period