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Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...

Related threads:
Tribute to Jacques Brel Radio 4 Thurs am (9)
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Lyr Req/Add: Ballade en novembre (Jacques Brel) (23)
Lyr Req: Seasons in the Sun (R McKuen, J Brel) (13)
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GUEST,Wotcha 10 Oct 03 - 03:56 AM
Brian Hoskin 10 Oct 03 - 04:08 AM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 10 Oct 03 - 04:11 AM
GUEST 10 Oct 03 - 04:12 AM
Brian Hoskin 10 Oct 03 - 04:16 AM
GUEST,Wotcha 10 Oct 03 - 04:22 AM
alanabit 10 Oct 03 - 08:01 AM
Peter T. 10 Oct 03 - 08:53 AM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 10 Oct 03 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,Wolfgang 10 Oct 03 - 12:26 PM
Joe Offer 10 Oct 03 - 03:02 PM
Brían 10 Oct 03 - 06:38 PM
JJ 11 Oct 03 - 09:08 AM
catspaw49 11 Oct 03 - 09:17 AM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Oct 03 - 06:41 PM
Mark Cohen 11 Oct 03 - 07:02 PM
harvey andrews 11 Oct 03 - 07:16 PM
Lanfranc 12 Oct 03 - 06:34 PM
izzy 12 Oct 03 - 06:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Oct 03 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,pdq 12 Oct 03 - 06:49 PM
Mark Cohen 12 Oct 03 - 07:54 PM
izzy 12 Oct 03 - 08:04 PM
GUEST,lanfranc using linux 13 Oct 03 - 07:53 AM
izzy 13 Oct 03 - 08:11 AM
Dave Bryant 13 Oct 03 - 11:30 AM
Mrrzy 13 Oct 03 - 11:37 AM
Peter T. 13 Oct 03 - 11:46 AM
izzy 13 Oct 03 - 07:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Oct 03 - 07:36 PM
GUEST,Lanfranc on Linux 14 Oct 03 - 06:38 AM
Wolfgang 14 Oct 03 - 08:06 AM
Wolfgang 14 Oct 03 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,Peter T. 14 Oct 03 - 08:15 AM
izzy 14 Oct 03 - 08:24 AM
Dave the Gnome 15 Oct 03 - 04:33 AM
Wolfgang 15 Oct 03 - 06:26 AM
Watson 15 Oct 03 - 06:40 AM
mooman 15 Oct 03 - 07:03 AM
GUEST,Peter T. 15 Oct 03 - 08:22 AM
Amos 15 Oct 03 - 09:18 AM
mooman 15 Oct 03 - 09:32 AM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Oct 03 - 09:35 AM
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Subject: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: GUEST,Wotcha
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 03:56 AM

This was news on German and French TV last night ... Jacques Brel passed away yesterday. Another sparrow gone ...

Cheers,

Brian


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 04:08 AM

No, he died 25years ago yesterday - October 9th 1978


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 04:11 AM

Um, actually 25 years ago, but even if it were yesterday it would have been premature.

Here's the official Fondation Jacques Brel
website , it's multilingual.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 04:12 AM

Whoops ... you are right. He is buried next to Gaugain no less ... Well, let me figure out why the French and Germans are so interested ... 25 years on. Brel penned the original French words to a song that the Kingston Trio made popular with "Seaons in the sun."

Cheers,

Brian


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 04:16 AM

I think the current interest follows a decision to release some recordings that the man himself never wanted released (he felt them to be substandard). Here's an account in the Guardian Guardian Unlimited - Brel


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: GUEST,Wotcha
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 04:22 AM

The French are up in arms about the release of 5 previously unreleased songs.


Here's a link to a story on the subject:


Brel Story



Sorry about the confusion ... still working on my German (at least I understood "gestorben" ...).

Cheers,

Brian
Jacques Brel Songs Cause Stir 25 Years After Death
Tue Sep 23, 1:34 PM ET

By Kerstin Gehmlich

PARIS (Reuters) - Twenty-five years after his death, Belgian-born singer Jacques Brel is haunting France again.

The singer's family is releasing five previously unreleased songs, disappointing some fans of the man whose lament for lost love, "Ne Me Quitte Pas" ("Do not leave me") was chosen as France's song of the 20th century.

Brel recorded the five new songs for his album "Les Marquises," in 1977. But some associates said he did not want them included on the disc because he was too ill to perfect them.

The singer-poet died of lung cancer on Oct. 9, 1978. Universal Music released the songs Tuesday with a round metal box containing a collection of all his 15 albums and a book with his comments about them.

"I think he would have been furious about this kind of exhumation, which stinks of commercialism," Eddie Barclay, who recorded the songs with Brel in 1977, told the Le Figaro daily.

"I could have released the songs if Jacques had authorized it. But this seems difficult to me because he firmly told me to leave them in their state," he added.

Miche Brel, the singer's widow, brushes aside any disputes. "To me, this was the moment to offer the songs to the public," she told the weekly magazine L'Express last week.

"Jacques Brel said the songs should not be published unless he himself changed his mind about it," said Pascal Negre, head of Universal Music France. "It is of course the families today who represent him and who have agreed to the release."

The songs recall the faded love and melancholy that permeated Brel's later work.

In "May 40," he remembers his childhood in Belgium and how Belgians suffered during and after the Nazi invasion in 1940.

The plaintive "L'amour est mort" (Love is dead) takes up the theme of many of his most famous songs, reflecting on what has become of a couple's vanished love.

"They no longer have anything to curse each other with, they punch each other in silence. Hatred has become their science. Shouting has become their laughter," the lyrics read.

Examining the collection in its metal box in a Paris store, Brel fan Pierre Jacques, 55, shook his head:

"This is a box for sweets. It's not Brel at all. I think they should have respected his wish and not published the songs at all. I won't buy it."


Article copy-pasted from the link cited above.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: alanabit
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 08:01 AM

If the news around Wotcha's area always gets there so late, he's is going to have a real shock in two year's time when he gets to hear about John Lennon!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 08:53 AM

Jacques Brel is so far from dead it is ridiculous.

I do think it is funny that Brussels, that Brel hated, and that has some claim on being the most boring city in Europe, has embraced him with Brel events, etc.


yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 12:04 PM

Gotcha, Wotcha! But credit for your efforts to know what's going on in other-language cultures, not enough English-speakers do so.

The Brel family was involved in the decision to publish the songs on the occasion of the 25th anniversary.

Many artists are dissatisfied with some or all of their work and leave instructions that works are to be destroyed after their death. I don't think Brel went this far, I think it was rather that the songs weren't quite right yet at the time he died. After such a lapse of time, it's reasonable to publish them while making clear that he wasn't happy with them at the time of recording

If Kafka's wishes had been respected, he would probably never have become the household name which he now is.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: GUEST,Wolfgang
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 12:26 PM

Support for An Pluimeir Ceolmhar.
I think there should be a maximum time for respecting the wishes of the dead.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 03:02 PM

Another thead has a link to this page, which has a nice collection of Brel lyrics.
Poor Brel - it took 25 years for Wotcha to notice he was dead.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Brían
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 06:38 PM

Poor Brel. It seems reports of his death were..ummm somewhat underestimated.

Brían


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: JJ
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 09:08 AM

"Seasons in the Sun," a smash hit for Terry Jacks...

Poor Jacques, to have his greatest success in English in a translation by Rod McKuen...


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 09:17 AM

THinking of Brel here, any late word on Seymour Glick?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 06:41 PM

You can still get the record Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 07:02 PM

This thread contains an interesting discussion of Seasons in the Sun/Le Moribond. JJ is right on: the sardonic "Le Moribond" was written and recorded by Jacques Brel. Rod McKuen [mis]translated the song as a sappy "Seasons in the Sun", and a treacly version of that was a big hit for Terry Jacks in the 70's, possibly turning many people off to Brel. Quel dommage!

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: harvey andrews
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 07:16 PM

Brel....maestro.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Lanfranc
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 06:34 PM

I have revered Brel since ".. Alive and Well and Living in Paris", and Judy Collins' version of "La Colombe" on her "In My Life" album (which was translated by Alastair Clayre).

Rod McKuen completely missed the point in "Le Moribond", but (IMHO) almost got it right in "If You Go Away"/"Ne Me Quitte Pas".

Mort Schuman was rather more successful with his translations, and I was delighted to see that the original cast recording of "Alive and Well" is now available again (thanks for the link, Kevin). I have a recording of the more recent London production, but only have the film (on Betamax!) of the NY cast.

On my last trip to France, I bought a double CD of the man himself, "Quand on n'a que l'amour" (Barclay 531711-2) which is an excellent selection of 37 of his songs and is improving my French into the bargain!

His body may have been dead for a quarter of a century, but his soul lives on in his songs.

Alan


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: izzy
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 06:42 PM

I have the 2-CD set "Quand on n'a que l'amour" too. It's marvellous. Has anyone seen the film "Quinze ans d'amour" (Brel at the Olympia in 66) and is it worth buying? I'm thinking of requesting it for Xmas...


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 06:47 PM

"If you go away" wasn't in any way "a translation" of Brel's song. It was a completely new song using the tune. And a pretty dire song at that.

You might as well call "The Red Flag" a translation of "O Tannenbaum", or "My Country 'Tis of Thee" a translation of "God Save the Queen".


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: GUEST,pdq
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 06:49 PM

Yes Spaw, Seymour Glick is alive, but sick.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 07:54 PM

I agree, Kevin. Here are the lyrics to the first verse of McKuen's "If You Go Away":

If you go away on this summer day
Then you might as well take the sun away
All the birds that flew in a summer sky
And our love was new and our hearts were high.
When the day was young, and the night was long
And the moon stood still for the night bird's song
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away

But if you stay I'll make you a day
Like no day has been or will be again
We'll sail on the sun, we'll ride on the rain
We'll talk to the trees and worship the wind.
But if you go, I'll understand
Leave me just enough love to fill up my hand
If you go away, if you go away, if you go away


And here is the first verse of Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas":

Ne me quitte pas
Il faut oublier
Tout peut s'oublier
Qui s'enfuit déjà
Oublier le temps
Des malentendus
Et le temps perdu
A savoir comment
Oublier ces heures
Qui tuaient parfois
A coups de pourquoi
Le cœur du bonheur
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

Moi je t'offrirai
Des perles de pluie
Venues de pays
Où il ne pleut pas
Je creuserai la terre
Jusqu'après ma mort
Pour couvrir ton corps
D'or et de lumière
Je ferai un domaine
Où l'amour sera roi
Où l'amour sera loi
Où tu seras reine
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas
Ne me quitte pas

(There is a literal translation of the song here.)

Brel's song is heart-wrenching and tragic. McKuen's is vapid and dumb. But of course, that's just my opinion.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: izzy
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 08:04 PM

Mark and McGrath are right. I was dumbfounded when I first heard Ne Me Quitte Pas , and realised that I'd first heard the tune to If You Go Away. Grief...

The RUS translation of Quand On N'a Que L'amour also misses a LOT.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: GUEST,lanfranc using linux
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 07:53 AM

OK, it's not a good translation, but it works for me in much the same way as Johnny Mercer's "Autumn Leaves" does as a translation of Prevost's "Feuilles Morts". I must confess that I had never actually done a direct A/B comparison of the original vs the McKuen until now, and I guess I can see what you mean, Kevin, Mark and Isabel.

However, "If you go away" served me well insofar as a tape I made of it and sent to her persuaded my wife not to give up on this here penniless folksinger once upon a time when our relationship was under pressure from her parents, and thirty-five years later she's still with me!

My old school song contained the immortal line "sentiment is more than skill" - guess I took this dictum too literally in this case!!

Mea culpa

Alan


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: izzy
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 08:11 AM

That's a lovely story though, Alan. Whatever gets you through, eh?



Some reasonable translations have lost a lot, too. "Beyond the Sea", for example, is a bit feeble compared with "La Mer", but that's just my opinion.

Cheers,

Isabel


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 11:30 AM

When Edward Elgar was dying he wanted the notes for his uncompleted third symphony, which had been comissioned by the BBC, to be destroyed. However about 5 years ago, after Antony Payne had done a bit of preliminary work, he was given the go ahead to complete the work by Elgar's family. The result is a magnificent piece of music, which compares well with the other two symphonies and in many ways completes them. How much of it is Elgar and how much is Payne is open to discussion, but no-one would have any doubts about it sounding like the genuine thing.

In this case the work is all Brel's and perhaps it is a good thing that the world can at last hear these five songs and judge them on their merits at the same time bearing in mind the state of Brel's health at that period.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Mrrzy
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 11:37 AM

Another one I thought was already dead - no, wait, I was right! Whew!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Peter T.
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 11:46 AM

I wonder if any male English singer would have been willing to sing, "I would be the shadow of your dog"? We don't tend to go into that level of grovelling. Hmm, new thread.....

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: izzy
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 07:05 PM

I think part of the reason (carrying on from what Peter was saying) that Brel doesn't seem to be that well known in the anglophone world is that we just aren't used to hearing male singers invest songs with so much emotion. Piaf yes, Brel no. Listen to the ending of "Marieke" (my favourite Brel song at the moment) and you'll see what I mean. He also approached each song as if it was theatre, creating characters and stories within each. I suppose that's why I find him fascinating (it certainly ain't the buck teeth!)...:)

Cheers,

Isabel

PS Is that "Grovelling Songs" thread yours, Peter?


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 07:36 PM

"...we just aren't used to hearing male singers invest songs with so much emotion"I doubt if it's really that - Georges Brassens, who is much more understated about emotion, is similarly relatively unrecognised in Anglophone countries.

I think it's more that the English public tends to listen almost exclusively to English speakers. If Edith Piaf was an exception (if)she's very much an exception, even among womeen chanteuses. The current vogue for world music doesn't change that, people aren't finding out what the words mean and listening to them, it's the overall sound that matters.

In fact it seems to me that there's even a certain distaste towards songs that rely too much on words and which talk about complicated ideas, especially in a personal way. Even to a certain extent in present company. Some of the "aren't-singer-songwriters-unbearable" stuff is a reflection of that distaste.

An English Jacques Brel or Georges Brassens wouldn't be massive stars, they'd be respected and admired by a minority, and ignored by the rest. Well, consider the case of Harvey Andrews or the late Jake Thackray when it comes to that kind or thing.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: GUEST,Lanfranc on Linux
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 06:38 AM

Add Allan Taylor to that list, Kevin. You're right, the general audience will only listen to a song with a "difficult" lyric (whether in English, French or any other language) if it is accompanied by a catchy or haunting tune, and even then they will miss most if not all of the import.

"People listening without hearing .. People writing songs that voices never shared .."

I've been working on "Marieke", too, but am especially haunted by "La chanson des vieux amants" - must be an age thing!

Alan


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Wolfgang
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 08:06 AM

There are many excellent Brel translations into German ("Marieke, Marieke, ein Laben lang, lieb ich Dich zwischen Bruges und Gent") sung by (maybe also translated by) Klaus Hoffmann.

McGrath's observations about the differential reception and standing of Brel/Brassens in France and their counterparts in Britain are valid for Germany too, alas.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Wolfgang
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 08:08 AM

Typo which has to be corrected for what I have typed also makes (wrong) sense: ein Leben lang

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: GUEST,Peter T.
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 08:15 AM

Yes, the grovelling thread is mine (though it isn't getting much action). "Chanson des vieux amants" is such an amazing song -- I remember hearing it at 18 and suddenly knowing what it was like to be someone's partner for 50 years or more. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: izzy
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 08:24 AM

That's odd, Wolfgang, I had the impression that Brel was big in Western Europe generally (at least he seems to be in Holland and Belgium, but then again that's Brel country.)

It is odd that people don't want to listen to difficult lyrics. A great tune should be balanced by great words. Especially odd, from what Kevin says, that people willing to sit thru a 10-minute long ballad should object to singer-songwriters!

Cheers.

Isabel


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 04:33 AM

Can anyone tell me if Mark Almond ever did an album of Brel songs? Or did I imagine it? If it is real has anyone heard it?

I must say my knowledge of his stuff only goes as far as Bowies version of Amsterdam and the stuff Cockney Eric does in the Hare and Hounds in Manchester!

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Wolfgang
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 06:26 AM

Isabel,

the language barrier prevents Brel being as big in Germany as in neighbouring countries west of us. But a fair guess is that his name is better know than, say, Pete Seeger.

However, the standing of poets/songwriters is not like it is in France. In France a headline could be 'Le poète est mort' without a name and everybody knew who was meant. That would not happen in Germany.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Watson
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 06:40 AM

Dave - quite right about Mark Almond - he did record an LP (as we used to call them in those days), and he had a single in the charts with the Brel song Jacky.
I thought it was an enthusiastic attempt but others have done much better.
Did you hear Roam with their former line-up singing If You Go Away?


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: mooman
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 07:03 AM

Peter T wote:

I do think it is funny that Brussels, that Brel hated, and that has some claim on being the most boring city in Europe, has embraced him with Brel events, etc.

Well he did live in Brussels from 1929 to 1953!

..."the most boring city in Europe"

Care to elaborate or substantiate? I have lived in Brussels for 12 years (and An Pluimeir Ceolmhar even longer) and I find it very far from being boring!

Peace,

moo


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: GUEST,Peter T.
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 08:22 AM

Omigod, Brussels. I spent a terrible year there one weekend. And other times that stretch out into a phlegmlike eternity. There are only so many times you can go to the art gallery. And that was during the summer (all three weeks of it). Heaven only knows what the suicide rate must be in the winter. Cultural events: another beer tasting evening.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: Amos
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 09:18 AM

Brassens is well known in the anglophone segment which is exposed to French. An adorable nutter. an essence of the south of France somehow... And of course, so is Piaf. But it is amazing even among French-loving Americans, how few the names are that persist. I fell in love with Francoise Hardy when I was eighteen, but my countrymen by and large had never heard of her.

As for emotion, there are a few exceptions in this country, notably Townes van Zandt.

A


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: mooman
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 09:32 AM

Dear Peter T,

Well it must have improved a lot after I arrived then!

(;>)

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 09:35 AM

"another beer tasting evening" - but that's Belgian beer!   An evening well spent.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: GUEST,Peter T.
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 09:37 AM

I am sure it is completely owing to your presence, mooman. They should give you a medal or something -- Bringer of Life to The City!


yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: mooman
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 09:53 AM

Dear Peter T,

'Spaw has already made me a Knight of

The Order of the Golden Shower

for such services but I think you're right...I should be officially recognized by the Brussels Government (one of three Belgian Governments) for cheering the place up (even to the extent of 'Catting Brussels for the 2002 EuroGathering). All 'Catters should therefore nominate me to Mr Jos Chabert, Minister of Culture for the Brussels region (of course praising local Brussels gueuze beer in the communication in order to get on the right side of him!).

Peace,

moo


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Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 02:57 PM

Anyway, Jacques Brel is dead, at least technically, and so is Geore Brassens.   

So does anyone know how the chansonnier tradition is doing? Who is there making songs in French today which are fit to stand comparison? (That's not a rhetorical question there - it's a real question.)


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