1001 Albums #43

Jacques Brel. Enregistrement Public à l’Olympia 1964.Enough said.

Okay, maybe a bit more for those who do not know of him. He was from Belgium. He died in 1978 at the young age of 49, but he knew he was dying since 1973. If Edith Piaf was the queen of chanson, then Brel was the king.

His songs are in French and sometimes Dutch, but how songs are always passionate. His most famous song “Ne Me Quitte Pas” we all have heard in French or in the lesser quality version incorrectly titled “If You Go Away” in English. It has been translated in at least 24 languages. His songs have been translated in over 95 languages. More than 80 artists have claimed him as an influence on their life. King of Chanson in deed.

I love French music since I was a child. “Frère Jacques” was the first song I remember from my childhood. It was in and out of my life, but it returned full force in 2001 when I watched Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain. The music in it was incredible. My favourite French music has the sound of a carousel nearby in my imagination. Brel’s music brings the carousel closer than most artist.

It does not matter if you cannot speak or understand French language. I listen to music from many countries which I have no idea of what is being sung. I feel the passion. Music like Brel’s can be listened to with the intellect, but must be listened to with the heart. I forgot to mention that this is one of the exceptions to the rule about live albums. 9.5/10.

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