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Jacques Brel: Google Doodle celebrates Belgian singer, a master of the modern chanson

Google Doodle celebrates Belgian singer and songwriter Jacques Brel, a master of the modern chanson, on November 15, 2020.

Who was Jacques Brel?

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Jacques Brel

Born as Jacques Romain Georges Brel on 8 April 1929 on Schaerbeek, Brussels, Belgium. He came from a family of Flemish descent (who had embraced the French language); part of his family began in Zandvoorde, close to Ypres. He was a Belgian singer, screenwriter, actor and director who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that produced an enormous, committed after—at first in Belgium and France, later all through the world.

Part of a rich family, Jacques Brel expressed interest in writing stories and poems during his adolescent years before ultimately sinking into a job with the privately-run company. Unsatisfied with this work, Brel joined a youth charity association where he started to sing in little venues and recorded his first single prior to moving to Paris, where he before long rose to fame.

Jacques Brel’s second album, “Quand on n’a que l’amour” (“If We Only Have Love,” 1957), was a hit and its title track won the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros award. He kept on releasing a line of hit singles, affirming his celebrity status all through Europe, and left on exhaustive tours until his willful retirement from concert performances in 1967.

While in New York on his last visit, Jacques Brel was motivated to act and accordingly, he found another innovative outlet. One of his most notable movies, “Le Far West,” (“Far West,” 1973) was assigned for the Cannes Film Festival’s most esteemed award: the Palme d’Or. Not exclusively was Brel the star of the movie, he was additionally the co-writer and director.

Despite the fact that Jacques Brel recorded the greater part of his songs in French and sometimes in Dutch, he became an effect on English-speaking songwriters and performers, for example, Scott Walker, David Bowie, Alex Harvey, Marc Almond and Rod McKuen. English translations of his songs were recorded by numerous performers, including: Bowie; Walker, Ray Charles; Judy Collins; John Denver; The Kingston Trio; Nina Simone; Shirley Bassey; Frank Sinatra and Andy Williams.

A man of numerous interests, Jacques Brel figured out how to cruise and crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by 1975. He ultimately settled in the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific. In 2017, Belgium honored Brel with a commemorative statue.

Jacques Brel was a successful actor, showing up in 10 movies. He directed two movies, one of which, Le Far West, was assigned for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973. Having sold more than 25 million records around the world, Brel is the third best-selling Belgian recording artist ever. Brel wedded Thérèse “Miche” Michielsen in 1950, and the couple had three children. He additionally had a sentimental relationship with actress and dancer Maddly Bamy from 1972 until his demise in 1978.

Jacques Brel dedicated the final years of his life to his passion for sailing. On 28 February 1974, he bought the Askoy II, a 19-meter (62 ft) cruising yacht weighing 42 tons. He started arranging a three-year journey to circumnavigate the world.

Jacques Brel died of a pulmonary embolism on 9 October 1978 at 49 years old.

Thankful for the popular song Vesoul, the city of Vesoul honors Jacques Brel by giving his name to a college situated in the Montmarin district in 1968.

On 15 November 2020, Google Doodle, depicted by Toulouse-based guest artist Antoine Maillard, honored Jacques Brel. Broadly thought to be one of the most popular French-language singers in Europe, Brel developed a global after and made music that keeps on moving crowds right up ’til today.

On this day in 1966, Jacques Brel graced the platform one final opportunity to deliver an emotional farewell performance at at the “Palais des Beaux-Arts” in his old hometown of Brussels.

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