Brel, Jacques

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Brel, Jacques Gender: M
Jacques Romain Georges Brel
born on 8 April 1929 at 03:00 (= 03:00 AM )
Place Schaerbeek, Belgium, 50n51, 4e23
Timezone GMT h0e (is standard time)
Data source
Quoted BC/BR
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: De Marre
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_aricol.18.gif 17°48' s_mo.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 25°28 Asc.s_aqucol.18.gif 09°28'

Jacques Brel
photo: * Bobbejaan_schoepen_jacques_brel_1955.jpg: Bobbejaan Schoep, license cc-by-2.5


Belgian-born French composer, lyricist and singer. He performed in Paris bistros and cabarets from 1953-1967, becoming the leading troubadour in France. Brel wrote over 500 songs, as well as produced and starred in the French version of "Man of La Mancha" and the musical, "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris," 1968.

The son of a cardboard carton manufacturer, Brel taught himself to play the guitar at 15. Enrolled in Catholic schools, he was an incorrigible mischief-maker and was expelled. He worked in his dad's factory for four years, during which time he wrote songs. After his year of obligatory military service, he went to Paris and began singing his songs in small Left Bank cafes, accompanying himself on the guitar.

His first pro engagement was at a theater in the Pigalle in 1953. Within a year he was taking gigs as second billing, singing of emotions and desires that are thwarted by misunderstandings and pettiness. His popularity grew steadily. Lean, energetic and attractive, he could be taken for a matinee idol, but his touch of the human condition gave him a dimension that was electric. His recordings and performances swept Europe, then America.

He married Thérèse Michielsen (20 December 1926, Etterbeek) May 1950, when he was only 21. They had three daughters: Chantal Madeleine Jacqueline, France Denise Lucie and Isabelle Pauline Françoise Brel.

Outside of songwriting, he has said that his chief interests are "making love and flying my plane."

In 1971 he met the actress and writer Maddly Bamy (Hélène Bamy, 1943, Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe), who would stay with him during his last final years as a singer and poet.

Last years

In 1977, Brel decided to record one final album. Despite his recent years away from the continent, his legend lived on in Europe and his records still sold millions of copies each year. In August, Brel returned to Paris and moved into a small hotel. He had quit smoking and, despite his poor health, was enthusiastic about working again with his faithful collaborators François Rauber and Gérard Jouannest. In September and October, Brel recorded 12 of the 17 new songs he had written in the Marquesas. The result was his final album, Les Marquises, which included "Jaures", "Vieillir" (To grow old), "Le Bon Dieu" (The good Lord), "Orly", "Voir un Ami pleurer" (To see a friend cry), "Jojo", and "Les Marquises".

The new album was released on 17 November and was received as an historic national event in France. At Brel's request, Barclay did not run a huge promotional campaign for the album, and still, by word of mouth alone, over a million fans placed advance orders. The day the album was released, Jacques and Maddly returned to their home in the Marquesas Islands.

In "La ville s'endormait" (The city was falling asleep) the "enfant terrible" writer of "Ne me quite pas" wrote: La ville s'endormait (The city was falling asleep). Et j'en oublie le nom (And I even forget its name), Sur le fleuve en amont (Upstream on the river). Un coin de ciel brûlait (A batch of sky was blazing). La ville s'endormait (The city was falling asleep). Et j'en oublie le nom (And I even forget its name). See: Jacques Brel - La ville s'endormait.

From January to June 1978, Jacques and Maddly lived quietly at their home on Atuona Bay on Hiva-Oa island. In July, after his health began to fail, Brel was flown back to France and rushed to a hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, where doctors discovered a cancerous tumour. He remained in the hospital for six weeks and then spent the rest of the summer in Southern France. On 7 October, he was rushed to hospital Avicenne in Bobigny near Paris.

He died of a pulmonary embolism at 4.10 am on 9 October 1978 at the age of 49. On 12 October, his body was flown back to the Marquesas Islands, where he was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Atuona on the southern side of Hiva Oa island in the Marquesas, French Polynesia—a few yards away from the grave of artist Paul Gauguin.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with Azzola, Marcel (born 10 July 1927). Notes: Music collaborators
  • associate relationship with Béart, Guy (born 16 July 1930)
  • associate relationship with Delord, Françoise (born 30 January 1940). Notes: six years together in theater
  • associate relationship with Zaraï, Rika (born 19 February 1938)
  • business associate/partner relationship with Gabriello, Suzanne (born 24 January 1932). Notes: Duet partner
  • parent->child relationship with Brel, Chantal (born 6 December 1951)
  • spousal equivalent relationship with Bamy, Maddly (born 12 July 1943)
  • other kin relationship with Brel, Bruno (born 24 September 1951). Notes: uncle/nephew
  • compare to chart of Perk, Jacques (born 10 June 1859). Notes: Brel was inspired by Perk's Mathilde poetry.


  • Relationship : Marriage 20 May 1950 in Brussel (Thérèse Adèle Laure Irène Michielsen, born 20 December 1926, Etterbeek)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : New Career 1953 (Performing in bistros and cabarets)
  • Family : Adopted a child 12 July 1953 in Anderlecht (France Denise Lucie)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death of Father 8 January 1964 in Anderlecht (Romain Jérôme Brel, born 6 February 1883 at Zandvoorde (Oostende))
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Great Achievement 4 December 1965 in New York (Great debut in the USA at Carnegy Hall .)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death by Disease 9 October 1978 at 04:10 AM in Bobigny (Pulmonary embolism, age 49)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Luc de Marre quotes B.R.

Svi: Same time given by Koppejan (without mentioning his source, but he cooperated with Luc de Marre wrote his spouse).


  • Traits : Mind : Education limited (Expelled from school)
  • Traits : Personality : Loved by all (Massively popular)
  • Lifestyle : Work : Same Job more than 10 yrs (14 years performing in bistros-cabarets)
  • Personal : Religion/Spirituality : Psychic (He was widely considered a master of the modern chanson.)
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Actor/ Actress
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Night Club/ Vaudeville (Noted Revue)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Composer/ Arranger
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Song writer
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Vocalist/ Pop, Rock, etc.
  • Vocation : Travel : Pilot/ private (Loves flying)
  • Notable : Famous : First in Field (Wikipedia: widely considered a master of the modern chanson.)
  • Notable : Book Collection : Culture Collection