Jacques Romain George Brel was born in Brussels on April 8,
1929. Between catholic college and scouting, Jacques knows a
middle-class and austere education. At 16 years, it creates
a theatre company with some buddies and writes itself of the
parts. In school failure, Jacques leaves the school in 1947
to work in the family company. This life is not appropriate
to him, also to escape from it, it decides to precede the call
to carry out its military service. June 1, 1950, Jacques marries
earlier Thérèse Michielsen met a few years in
a theatre company. At the end of 1951, is born their first daughter,
Chantal. Mow of the clerical work and attracted by the song,
Jacques composes some titles which it sings within the family
framework or at the time of dances cabarets of Brussels. Noticed
by Jacques Canetti, artistic person in charge at Philips and
discoverer of talents, it decides to follow it to try its chance
in Paris. It passes from many hearings, and takes down some
engagements in cabarets but the reception of the public remains
In 1955, his wife
and her children join it finally and they settle in Montreuil,
in the Parisian suburbs. At the same time, it meets George Pasquier,
known as Jojo, who not only becomes his driver, manager and
right-hand man, but also his friend nearest. This same year
is also that of the recording of its first disc at Philips.
In 1956, Jacques meets François Rauber, pianist traditional,
who becomes his guide, and especially gives him the musical
formation which it did not have.
Its second 33 turns leaves in 1957. He receives for this disc
the Great Price of the Academy Charles Cros. The recognition
of its talent finally starts to be perceived by the professionals.
It will have to await the exit of its fourth album ("the
waltz at 1000 times") to conquer in its turn the public.
Consequently, the rounds and the recitals are connected on the
largest scenes of the world (of the USA in the USSR while passing
by the Middle East, without forgetting the old continent). It
also multiplies the recordings and delivers to us some of these
more beautiful pieces ("Lowland", "Amsterdam",
Tired by rounds without end and thinking that it does not have
anything any more to say, Jacques Brel decides to give up the
song in 1966, to devote itself to other projects (the cinema
and voyages). In November it bids its farewell in Olympia.
In 1967, Jacques Brel, becomes the object of a musical in the
USA, "Jacques Brel is alive and well and living room in
Jacques on its side turns to the cinema. In 1967, it makes its
first film: "Risks of the trade", Andre Cayatte. Its
talent of actor, who appeared already on scene, is recognized
by all. From October 1968, it joue"l' Man of Mancha"
to the Theatre of the currency in Brussels then with the theatre
of the Elysées Fields in Paris before leaving again in
an interminable round to which he puts an end in May 1969.
After having turned under the direction of several directors,
it carries out its first film in 1971: "Frantz". This
film meets a very weak success, but that does not discourage
Jacques who will carry out another film ("FarWest")
in 1973. That will know a total failure and will mark the end
of the career of realizer for Jacques. Its performances as an
actor counterbalances his failures, it turns "My uncle
Benjamin" and "the bloody nuisance" of Edouard
Molinaro, "the Adventure it is the adventure" of Claude
Lelouch, of very great successes.
From 1974, knowing itself sick, Jacques almost exclusively devotes
to navigation on its sailing ship Askoy in company of a young
actress, Madly Bamy, with which it will share the last years
of its life. In November, the doctors diagnose a lung cancer
already very advanced.
In 1975, Jacques and Madly settle in the Marquesas Islands.
It does not leave its island (Hiva Oa) to only go to Brussels
to pass from the medical examinations.
In 1977, Jacques Brel decides, can be as a will, to record a
disc. He returns to Paris at the end of August and lives in
a small Parisian hotel. He stopped smoking and goes back to
work with his faithful accomplices, François Rauber and
Gerard Jouannest. Its health is bad, but Brel is very enthusiastic.
The recording of twelve title takes place between September
and October 1977. The exit of the album is an event and the
disc is sold to more than one million specimen.
In July 1978, suddenly to most badly, Jacques is transported
to France. It hospitalized in Neuilly following the discovery
of a cancerous tumour. It passes the remainder of the summer
in the south of France, but October 7, it is brought back urgently
to the hospital of Bobigny, where it dies on October 9 of a
Today still, its talent astonishes by its power, its poetry
and its topicality.