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    Jacques Brel

    4/8/1929

    Jacques Brel

    Biography

    Jacques Romain Georges Brel (8 April 1929 – 9 October 1978) was a Belgian singer, songwriter, actor and director who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following—initially in Belgium and France, later throughout the world. He is considered a master of the modern chanson. Although he recorded most of his songs in French and occasionally in Dutch, he became an influence on English-speaking songwriters and performers, such as Scott Walker, David Bowie, Alex Harvey, Marc Almond, Neil Hannon, and Rod McKuen. English translations of his songs were recorded by many performers, including Bowie, Walker, Ray Charles, Judy Collins, John Denver, The Kingston Trio, Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey, James Dean Bradfield, Frank Sinatra, and Andy Williams. Brel was a successful actor, appearing in 10 films. He directed two films, one of which, Le Far West, was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973. Having sold over 25 million records worldwide, Brel is the third best-selling Belgian recording artist of all time. Brel married Thérèse "Miche" Michielsen in 1950, and the couple had three children. He also had a romantic relationship with actress and dancer Maddly Bamy from 1972 until his death in 1978. Jacques Romain Georges Brel was born on 8 April 1929 in Schaerbeek, Brussels, to Élisabeth "Lisette" (née Lambertine) and Romain Brel. He came from a family of Flemish descent (who had adopted the French language); part of his family originated in Zandvoorde, near Ypres. His father worked for Cominex, an import–export firm, and later became co-director of a company that manufactured cardboard. Jacques and his older brother Pierre grew up in an austere household, and attended a Catholic primary school, École Saint-Viateur, run by the order of Saint Viator. Remembered as a courteous and manageable pupil, Brel did well in reading and writing, but struggled through arithmetic and Dutch. The boys were also members of the local Boy Scout troop, and enjoyed their time at summer camp and on family outings to the North Sea coast. In Brussels, the family lived at 138 Avenue du Diamant in Schaerbeek, then moved to 26 Boulevard Belgica in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, and finally settled at 7 Rue Jacques-Manne in Anderlecht. Brel was close to his mother, fascinated by her generosity and sense of humour, which he inherited. ... Source: Article "Jacques Brel" from Wikipedia in English, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

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    Jacques Brel

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